Love waking up each morning knowing you are making the world a healthier place by pursuing a career in fitness!

fitness degrees online accredited

If you’re someone who enjoys taking care of your body by eating healthy foods and exercising frequently, then a career in the fitness and personal training industry may be your calling. If you’re ready to translate your passion for health and wellness into a steady income, then you’ll want to check out our list of the top 30 accredited online colleges in fitness and personal training. 

In our modern world of fast food, increasingly sedentary jobs, and high stress, many people have lost touch with the importance of eating healthy food and exercising regularly. Fitness and personal training experts help teach others how to start living a more healthy life, starting with getting their body moving, pursuing weight loss, and eating the right foods. You’ll learn how to to just that at one of the best colleges for personal training.

See Also: 30 Accredited Online Schools in Nutritional Science

What Do You Learn at Colleges for Fitness Training?

If you decide to earn your living through fitness and personal training, you will have to learn a fair amount about the human body and how it functions. This is why almost any fitness or personal training degree or certificate program includes detailed studies of anatomy and physiology. These classes ensure you have the foundation necessary to understand more complex information, such as nutrition or formulating an exercise or fitness plan for another person. 

With these degree programs, you’re also likely to come across a class or two that deals with coaching or the psychology of motivating other people. Since you’re going to earn money teaching others to be more fit, you’re going to need to know how to motivate them to make changes that can be very difficult to make. Coaching and psychology classes can give you the tools to promote lasting change in others. 

Other common classes include:

  • Exercise physiology
  • First aid and CPR
  • Fitness assessment techniques
  • Adaptive fitness
  • Weight management

Additionally, many fitness and personal training programs include business studies. But why?

Many people that pursue a degree like this do so with the hope of opening their own business. So, having courses in business administration, entrepreneurship, and marketing will help you build a solid foundation upon which you can open your own business.

Many programs in the fitness and personal training space also include courses on current issues in personal training. These classes focus on new techniques and approaches you can use to help your clients achieve their personal fitness goals.

Depending on the type of program, you might also have to take general education courses. For example, a basic personal training certificate will likely not include general courses like math, science, and language arts. But if you pursue an associate’s degree or higher, you’ll need to complete basic courses like this in order to graduate.

For example, if you enroll in an associate’s degree program in personal training, you will need to complete around 60 semester credits to graduate. Of those, 40 or so might be general classes in:

  • The humanities
  • History
  • Physical Education
  • Math
  • Science

Many degree programs also include a communications requirement, an art requirement, and a world languages requirement.

See also: 30 Accredited Online Colleges in Sports Medicine

Learning Personal Training Online

There are many colleges with personal training majors. But you don’t have to attend a brick-and-mortar campus to get a degree in this field. Instead, you can study completely online and earn your degree from the comfort of your own home.

While fitness and personal training might seem like a subject that’s difficult to study in an online course, but colleges and universities have gone out of their way to ensure that subjects like this can be effectively studied online.

For example, you’ll find that the schools in the ranking below offer robust online learning platforms where you can easily engage with your professors and classmates. You can watch videos, participate in online discussions, and even work collaboratively with other students. You’ll get study materials, take quizzes, and otherwise learn the fundamentals of being a personal trainer.

In some cases, you’ll find that personal training degrees online include a real-world working experience, like an internship. This gives you the ability to put what you’ve learned online into practice with an actual person in an actual fitness or personal training situation. As part of the internship, you’re supervised by an experienced personal trainer, that way you can get expert feedback from someone that has the necessary training.

Don’t worry about traveling to an internship location, though. Online schools for fitness and nutrition do a great job of working with you to identify internship locations that are near where you live. This allows you to continue to study remotely while also fulfilling the in-person learning requirement without having to travel to campus.

See also: 10 Accredited Online Colleges for Diagnostic Medical Sonography

What are the Best Accredited Online Fitness and Personal Training Degrees?

Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to flesh out these rankings.

Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking.

Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our methodology page. 

Let’s have a closer look at the best fitness degrees online accredited programs!

See Also: 20 Accredited Online Colleges That Offer Laptops

1. American Military University


Topping our list of the best fitness degrees online is American Military University’s Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences.

This degree program makes it easy for you to take a certification exam to become a certified professional trainer. The program also prepares you to become a performance enhancement specialist, corrective exercise specialist, and group fitness instructor. This is possible because the school partners with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which offers these certifications. 

Courses in this degree program are held in eight or 16-week modules. All told, you’re required to complete 120 credit hours before receiving your diploma.

The university also has a generous transfer policy – it accepts up to 90 credits toward the required 120 credits to graduate.

The degree covers topics such as:

  • exercise testing and programming
  • kinesiology
  • nutrition

You might also learn about anatomy, physiology, and aerobics as well. With this broad curriculum, you’ll gain a comprehensive knowledge of the structure and function of the human body. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at American Military University here.

2. University of Kansas

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science program that requires 120 credits of coursework. Of those, 33 Horus are in exercise science classes. Another 18 Horus are in elective exercise science-related courses.

KU also has a Strength and Conditioning certificate program available to its online students, so the it’s an excellent choice for those wishing to pursue fitness or personal training.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science may be an ideal option if you want to pursue further education as a physical therapist. That’s because the online BAS program allows you to apply to KU’s physical therapy program.

The undergraduate certificate in Strength and Conditioning is a 15-credit-hour program perfectly suited to individuals that want to work as a fitness coach in health clubs and other locations. The Strength and Conditioning certificate is composed of a total of five classes. 

Whichever program you choose, you’ll benefit from robust online education with hands-on learning opportunities to help you further develop your skills.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Kansas here.

3. Liberty University

Liberty University

Have you ever wondered how to land one of those cool outdoor guide jobs in which an instructor leads groups in rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, and other activities? Well, a good first step is gaining some education in the field, which you can do with Liberty University’s Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Sports!

Plus, if you decide after completing the certificate that you’d like to further your education and pursue Liberty’s Master of Science in Sport Management with an emphasis in Outdoor Adventure Sports, your certificate’s credits will apply.

The Graduate Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Sports is made up of nine credit hours of coursework that can be completed in one semester of study. You’ll take three classes while working toward the completion of this certificate, which includes:

  • Leadership and Administration of Outdoor Adventure Sport
  • Foundations of Outdoor Adventure Sport
  • Outdoor Adventure Programming

Each course is eight weeks in length and are completely totally online.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Liberty University here.

4. Arizona State University


You can get a quality education through the University of Arizona Global Campus. Choose the school’s Online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science if you’re looking to gain the knowledge to promote healthy lifestyles and wellness.

This program is especially suited to students who want to focus on one class at a time. Each class lasts seven-and-a-half weeks, so you get an intensive education in each subject.

You can choose from several different concentrations, including:

  • Health Care Compliance and Regulations
  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Health Leadership and Management
  • Health Psychology
  • Healthy Nutrition
  • Integrative Health

Each of the listed concentrations is composed of four, three-credit-hour courses.

The health and wellness major requires you to complete 120 credit hours of coursework, including classes such as:

  • Physical Activity and Physiological Concepts
  • Resistance Training and Recovery Techniques
  • Health Coaching Concepts and Skills
  • Exercise Prescription for Health and Wellness

You will also take a course in Nutrition Entrepreneurship.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Arizona State University here.

5. University of Florida

University of Florida

Do you want a health and wellness program that focuses on methodologies used to teach people from different cultural backgrounds? If so, you’ll want to check out the University of Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Health Education program.

In this program, you’ll gain the skills necessary to effectively teach health and wellness concepts to individuals and to groups in your community. 

The program seeks applicants who have 60 or more credit hours of education under their belt and who have taken Human Anatomy I & II with Lab and Biological Sciences with Lab. You’ll need two additional classes as well. The additional classes can include college algebra or a higher-level math course, statistics, or psychology.

To be the most competitive applicant to this program, you’ll need to complete all six of these prerequisites. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Florida here.

6. University of Wisconsin

university of wisconsin extended campus

The University of Wisconsin has a Health and Wellness Management program that may be right for you.

This master of science option may be particularly suited to you if you want to learn the business and management aspects of starting a fitness or personal training company.

UW’s Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management is an ideal program for career advancement. This MS degree program is 36 credit hours in duration, which you can complete in two or three years of study.

In the 12 courses you must take, you’ll explore topics related to:

  • Contemporary Health and Wellness Perspectives
  • Exercise and Nutrition for Health and Disease
  • Best Practices and Emerging Issues in Wellness
  • Wellness Law

Additionally, you will complete a capstone project. This is a research-based project that gives you the opportunity to use what you’ve learned in class to solve a critical problem. Usually, the capstone is completed in the final semester before graduation.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Wisconsin here.

7. Granite State College

With Granite State College’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness program, you will gain a better perspective of the healthcare system, disease prevention, and health literacy. Likewise, you’ll incorporate skills to motivate others to start lifestyle behaviors that impact their wellbeing.

You must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to earn this degree. However, only 30 credit hours have to be earned at GSC. In fact, over three-quarters of the students in the BS in Health and Wellness program are transfer students. 

While enrolled in this program, you can expect to take classes such as:

  • The Emerging U.S. Health Care System
  • Population Health
  • Health Behaviors: Theoretical Frameworks for Health Education
  • Needs Assessment and Strategies for Health Education and Promotion

You will also learn about exercise science and will need to complete either a capstone project or an internship to graduate. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Granite State College here.

8. Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University

At just over a year in duration, the Master of Science in Kinesiology, Coaching Education Concentration is a fast-track path for setting yourself apart from others in the wellness field.

The degree takes 14 months to complete, which can be done entirely online and without any visits to the school’s main campus. What’s more, Georgia Southern boasts being one of only three schools that is nationally accredited by the National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education.

This MS degree program is 36 credit hours long, divided among 12 courses. Each term, you will choose one of two available courses, examples of which include:

  • Analysis of Teaching Physical Education
  • Psychology of Sport & Exercise Performance
  • Scientific Foundations of Human Performance
  • Team Dynamics

The program admits students only one time per year, so you need to submit your application by April 29 for admission into the summer cohort. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Georgia Southern University here.

9. Lake Region State College


If becoming a personal trainer is your goal and you’re seeking a program that will give you the knowledge to excel in the field, then Lake Region State College’s Fitness Trainer Technician Associate of Applied Science is a program you should check out.

The associate’s degree program is 60 credit hours of study, but don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of experience implementing what you learned in the classroom in the real world. 

In the final semester of this program, you will work in your community and obtain experience learning how to create a business and marketing plan. Whether you decide to work for someone else or to set up shop on your own, you’ll be ready to start earning a living in the health and wellness industry.

Examples of classes you may take while enrolled in this program include:

  • Introduction to Exercise Science
  • Principles of Nutrition
  • Nutrition Promotion Strategies

You’ll also take classes in nutrition promotion, first aid, and you’ll complete a fitness trainer internship as well.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Lake Region State College here.

10. Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College

Certificate programs are an excellent way for you to gain the foundational skills and knowledge in a field without committing to a full degree program. Monroe Community College’s Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor Certification program is ideal if you want to get into a career as a personal trainer quickly.

After successfully completing this program, you will be able to take the certified personal trainer examinations through Cooper Institute, the American College of Sport Medicine, and the National Council on Strength and Fitness.

MCC’s certificate program is 28 credit hours of study. It will take you two semesters to complete. In the first semester, you take:

  • College Composition
  • Introduction to Sport Science
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports Management
  • A Natural Science Elective

The second semester consists of:

  • Statistics
  • Sport Performance Coaching
  • Selected Topics in Physical Studies
  • Cooperative Education – Sports Management

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Monroe Community College here.

11. Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University

Some online fitness degrees are advanced in nature. That’s the case with the program at Louisiana State University.

This university offers a Master of Science in Kinesiology degree that allows you to concentrate your studies in Health Promotion and Sport Performance. The program is designed to train you to plan and implement health-related programs and interventions. You’ll also learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs you develop to improve their impact on diverse populations.

Some of the courses you’ll take include:

  • Changing Health Behavior
  • Motor Learning
  • Qualitative Research in Kinesiology
  • Governance and Policy in Sport

To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. You must also present GRE scores unless you qualify for the GRE waiver. Three letters of recommendation are necessary, too.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Louisiana State University here.

12. The University of Texas at Tyler

The online Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Tyler is geared both toward the practicing wellness clinician and individuals wanting to enter the wellness field.

The curriculum in this program is composed of 18 hours of core coursework, which includes:

  • Research Design
  • Biometric Methods (Statistics)
  • Motor Learning
  • Exercise Physiology I (Skeletal Muscle & Metabolism)
  • Exercise Physiology II (Cardiorespiratory)
  • Biomechanics

To finish the remaining 18 credit hours necessary to earn this 36-credit-hour degree, you will take 12 credit hours of elective courses and six credit hours of either an internship or thesis.

Applicants to this program need to have a bachelor’s degree while maintaining a 3.0 GPA, submit a statement of goals and three letters of recommendation, and complete an interview with one of the department’s faculty. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at The University of Texas at Tyler here.

13. Highland Community College

Highland Community College

Highland Community College trains future health and wellness professionals through its Associate of Applied Science in Personal Fitness Trainer program.

This associate’s degree consists of 63 credit hours of study, with 28 credit hours dedicated to the degree major. The program also dedicates four credit hours to field experiences in which students gain experience as personal trainers. Other classes in this major include:

  • Business of Personal Training
  • Personal & Community Health
  • First Aid and Safety
  • Advanced Concepts in Personal Training
  • Care and Prevention of Injuries
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Health Psychology

When enrolled in this program, you’ll also become certified in CPR. If that weren’t enough, HCC takes its education to the next level by requiring that you design and implement a personal training program before graduation. This ensures that you are well equipped to work as a personal trainer following your studies.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Highland Community College here.

14. University of North Carolina Wilmington

University of North Carolina Wilmington

The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with available concentrations in Allied Health or Exercise Physiology. The Allied Health concentration is geared toward students who eventually want to pursue careers as physician assistants or physical therapists. The Exercise Physiology concentration is more suited to those wanting employment as personal trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, or exercise physiologists. 

The core curriculum of the BS in Exercise Science consists of 31 credit hours. Anatomy and physiology courses are the backbone of this program. You will also take classes such as:

  • Research Methods in Exercise Science
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Exercise Prescription I
  • Facilitating Behavior Change

Both the concentration in Exercise Physiology and Allied Health require that you complete 22 credit hours of coursework. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of North Carolina Wilmington here.

15. Texas A&M University- Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce

At Texas A&M University-Commerce, concentrate your Master of Science in Health, Kinesiology & Sport Studies in Sports Coaching. This degree program was created specifically for individuals already teaching and coaching. The program is designed to take one year to complete and is composed of 30 credit hours of coursework. With that said, those who are looking for a slower pace can opt to complete their coursework over a longer period. 

This A&M-Commerce degree was created to educate students in applicable topics such as sports coaching, Adaptive Kinesiology, and Sports Conditioning. You can also take courses in:

  • Global Health Issues
  • Human Performance
  • Nutrition and Optimal Performance
  • Biomechanics 

There is no thesis requirement for this degree. This makes it a simpler degree to complete, and one you can complete faster, too.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Texas A&M University-Commerce here.

16. University of Louisiana at Monroe

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Another option among the best schools for personal training is the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

The Master of Science in Exercise Science from ULM can be used as a stepping stone for a Ph.D. program or as a terminal degree for those who want to become exercise physiologists or clinical exercise specialists.

Upon completion of this program, you will be eligible to take ACSM’s Clinical Exercise Specialist exam or the ACSM’s Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist exam. With the MS in Exercise Science, there are three concentrations to choose from: Applied Exercise Science, Clinical Exercise Physiology, and Sport Management. 

Ten classes comprise the Applied Exercise Science concentration. You can look forward to courses such as Advanced Physiology of Exercise I, Research Methods in Exercise Science, and Exercise Prescription and Leadership, among many others. Eleven classes are needed to complete the concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology, which includes a professional internship.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Louisiana at Monroe here.

17. Concordia University, St. Paul

Concordia St. Paul

Gaining the knowledge necessary to become a leader in the exercise science profession is what the Master of Science in Exercise Science from Concordia University, St. Paul is all about.

Concordia’s education is backed by results: the school reports that 95% of its graduates find jobs within one year of graduating from their programs.

This master’s degree focuses on topics such as:

  • Applied exercise prescription
  • Nutrition and metabolism
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise physiology and testing
  • Psychology of sport and exercise

The MS degree is 33 credit hours in duration. Classes are held in seven-week modules. You can expect to take classes such as:

  • Biomechanics in Exercise Science
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Clinical Exercise Assessment
  • Mechanisms of Skilled Neuromuscular Behavior

You must also complete a capstone project before graduation. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Concordia University, St. Paul here.

18. Arizona State University


If you want to improve the health and wellbeing of those around you, then you’ll want to check out Arizona State University’s Online Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Health Promotion.

While teaching you general health and wellness concepts, the degree prepares you to take the Certified Health Education Specialist exam after graduation.

This bachelor’s degree is 120 credit hours spread out over 39 classes. Classes are held every 7.5 weeks. Obviously there are many ASU fitness classes for credit that are part of this degree, too.

You may be asking yourself why you need to complete an undergraduate degree to start educating others about health and wellness. It’s because possessing a bachelor’s is one of the requirements to become a certified health education specialist.

Once you earn this designation and spend five years learning the ins-and-outs of the profession, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Master Certified Health Education Specialist examination.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Arizona State University here.

19. California Baptist University

California Baptist University

A well-rounded fitness and wellness education is what you can look forward to with California Baptist University’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree program. This online fitness degree blends physical education and exercise science courses to give you a breadth of skills that enables you to work in a variety of jobs.

The kinesiology major consists of 50 credit hours. There is an estimated tuition of $613 per credit, so you can expect to pay around $31,000 for the degree. 

You can expect to take classes such as:

  • Behavioral Aspects of Sport
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Care and Prevention of Athletic Injury
  • Foundations of Kinesiology

CBU was looking out for its students when it designed the BS in Kinesiology curriculum, as the program prepares you to sit for certification exams with both the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at California Baptist University here.

20. Pennsylvania Western University

Penn West

Pennsylvania Western University offers one of the most diverse Master’s in Exercise Science available, as the degree enables you to choose from 17 concentrations. You also have the ability to apply two concentrations to your degree.

If you decide to pursue one concentration, you have to complete 36 credit hours to graduate. If you choose dual concentrations, you’ll need to complete 48 credit hours. Alternatively, if you don’t want to work toward a degree, you can enroll in a certificate program. The certificate program is available for each of the concentrations and only requires that you complete 12 credit hours of coursework. 

Some popular concentrations available in the program include:

  • Group Fitness Leadership
  • Nutrition
  • Sports Psychology
  • Wellness and Fitness
  • Rehabilitation Science

Pennsylvania Western’s Master of Science in Exercise Science should take around 12-18 months to complete. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Pennsylvania Western University here.

21. Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University

With tuition set at only $278 per credit hour, Eastern Oregon University is one of the most affordable universities on this list for degrees in fitness.

The school offers students both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Health & Human Performance. Students enrolled in either of these degree programs can gain specialized knowledge in physical education and sport, community health, or exercise science. You can do so by selecting the corresponding concentrations.

Both bachelor’s degrees are composed of 180 credit hours. The entire program estimated to take four years to complete. 

Choosing the specialization in Exercise Science enables you to sit for certification exams in inclusive fitness training, personal training, and strength and conditioning. If you choose the Exercise Science concentration, you’ll take courses such as:

  • Physical Activity and Disease Prevention
  • Motor Learning and Control
  • Sport Psychology
  • Applied Exercise Programming

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Eastern Oregon University here.

22. University of Louisiana at Lafayette


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Health Promotion & Wellness is offered in an accelerated, eight-week format. If you prefer a slower pace, you can opt for the 16-week format instead.

Besides developing your expertise in health and wellness, this program enables you to become a certified health education specialist. The BS degree is designed to take eight semesters to finish. 

You must complete 120 credit hours of coursework to earn this degree. You begin the first semester with classes such as Introduction to Health Promotion and Wellness as well as Concepts of Fitness and Wellness.

At UL Lafayette, you’re expected to complete either a six-hour internship experience or a capstone project before receiving your degree. The internship experience can be done in your local community. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Louisiana at Lafayette here.

23. University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado

If becoming a coach of a sporting team has always been your dream, then you’ll want to look into the University of Northern Colorado’s Master of Arts in Sport Coaching.

This degree is composed of 30 credit hours of coursework. You take one class at a time, so you can fully focus on learning the information each class presents. With this kind of class schedule, you can expect to take five semesters to finish the program. 

During UNC’s program, you work through courses like:

  • Training and Conditioning Principles
  • International Coaching Perspectives
  • Sport Psychology
  • Sport Pedagogy
  • Injury Prevention

This program also separates itself from the pack in that it has received level-five accreditation from the National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education, which is a distinction shared by only four other universities in the U.S.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at University of Northern Colorado here.

24. Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University

Gaining a fitness education is one thing, but learning how to be an entrepreneur and run your own business is an entirely different skillset. With Missouri Baptist University’s Online Master of Science in Fitness Management, you’ll learn both sets of skills and be ready to start your own business upon graduation.

This master’s degree is 34 credit hours. It’s estimated that you can complete the coursework in around two years of full-time study. 

Of the total 34 credit hours taught in this program, six credit hours are dedicated to business and management in the fitness field. During your studies at MBU, you will also participate in six credit hours of sports management internship experience.

Additionally, as a fitness management student, you’ll have to complete a thesis project in which you research a relevant fitness-related topic. You must then defend your findings via a thesis examination. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Missouri Baptist University here.

25. Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University

Fitness professionals that want to gain additional expertise in the fitness and wellness field may find their home at Southern Utah University, which offers a Master of Science in Sports Conditioning & Performance.

While SUU’s degree can be completed almost entirely online, the school does require you to travel to its main campus for 1-2 weeks during the intensive summer set of courses. Three of the hands-on classes included in the summer intensive are:

  • Advanced Techniques for Sport Conditioning
  • Resistance Training Techniques
  • Evaluation in Sport Fitness

This MS degree is 33 credit hours in duration. The last three credit hours are spent performing a thesis project.

The core curriculum of this program is composed of six classes for a total of 18 credits. Classes you’ll take in the core curriculum include:

  • Foundations of Sport Conditioning
  • Designing Resistance Training Program
  • Introduction to Sport Science Research and Statistics

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Southern Utah University here.

26. United States Sports Academy

United States Sports Academy

For close to 50 years, the United States Sports Academy has been educating leaders in fitness. The school offers a unique Bachelor of Sports Science program with concentrations in:

  • Sports Management
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Studies
  • Strength & Conditioning

If you want to tailor your own program within sports science, you will want to choose the Sports Studies concentration. If you have a specific direction you want to pursue in employment, you’ll want to select one of the other concentration areas. 

The Sports Management Concentration is a good choice if you wish to someday operate and manage a sports facility. If you’re a future coach, on the other hand, you’ll find your ideal program in the Sports Coaching concentration. If you want to learn skills in each of the other concentrations, you should select the Strength & Conditioning concentration. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at United States Sports Academy here.

27. East Central University

East Central University

Teaching students the skills they will need daily to be successful in the fitness field is the focus of East Central University’s Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program.

The degree is especially suited to transfer students who want to complete their degree at ECU. The school allows you to transfer up to 94 credit hours toward the degree’s 124-credit-hour total.

Once enrolled, you’ll dedicate two months to thoroughly exploring the material in each class before moving on to a new set of classes. With this Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program, you’ll study topics such as:

  • Sports nutrition
  • First aid
  • Anatomy
  • Coaching theory
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Health promotion

Tuition is set at only $315.83 for Oklahoma residents and $627.83 for out-of-state residents. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at East Central University here.

28. Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University

The online Master of Arts in Exercise Science from Tennessee Tech University focuses on graduating you with practical knowledge as well as immersing you in foundational theories of exercise science.

As a student at Tech, you’re able to concentrate your studies in:

  • Adapted Physical Education
  • Elementary & Middle School Physical Education
  • K-12 Licensure
  • Lifetime Wellness
  • Sport Management

The core curriculum is composed of three classes:

Applied Motor Development and Motor Learning

Assessment in Sport, Physical Education, and Wellness

Seminar in Exercise Science

With the Lifetime Wellness concentration, you’ll take classes like Health Promotion, Physiology of Exercise, and Fitness and Wellness. There is also a field experience.

No matter which concentration you select, the school also requires you to complete six credit hours in research before graduation. Paid assistantships are also available.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Tennessee Tech University here.

29. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University

The year-long graduate certificate in Professional Coaching from Indiana Wesleyan University is ideal if you want the essential information of a degree without spending years in a classroom.

This Professional Coaching certificate program consists of six courses and is designed for practicing fitness professionals, counselors, or educators. 

The six classes that make up this certificate program include:

  • Foundations of Professional Coaching
  • Coaching and Self
  • Theory and Technique in the Helping Relationship
  • Career Counseling for Student Development
  • Coaching and Systems
  • Coaching Applications- Experiential Method

When taken together, these classes add up to 18 credit hours of coursework. To successfully complete this program, you must pass each class with a grade of C or higher. You also need to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Indiana Wesleyan University here.

30. Bryan University

Bryan University

Bryan University was founded in 1940. Today, it’s accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The University has been officially recognized by its accreditation body for the quality of its programs.

As a student at Bryan, you’ll benefit from job search assistance, resume writing, and career preparation workshops. You also get one-to-one employment counseling that helps you search for jobs as your prepare to graduate.

Offering an undergraduate certificate in personal training, the university employs an experienced faculty who have real-world experience in the fitness industry. You’ll also benefit from interactive classrooms, fitness screenings, and nutrition planning. Faculty members use unique motivational techniques in this online personal trainer program as well.

Available as both an on-campus and online program, the program is excellent value for money. The cost of your books, technology, and other course materials are integrated into the program tuition. What’s more, your tuition also covers the cost of taking a national NASM certification.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Fitness and Personal Training at Bryan University here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will You Need a Certification After Earning Your Degree in Fitness and Personal Training?

You took the plunge and enrolled in a degree or certificate program. Then you worked the long hours to learn the information, passed your classes, and graduated. Is that all you need to do to start working as a personal trainer or fitness expert?

The next step you should consider is getting certification in your area of expertise. While certification may seem like an extra hoop to jump through after you’ve already gone through a program and learned all that valuable information, certification serves multiple functions. 

Certification is a process by which an organization that has established itself as an authority on a particular subject ensures that others are competent to practice the discipline. The process is designed to protect both you and the public. You may also gain some protection through the demonstration of knowledge by an independent organization when it comes to getting insurance for yourself or your business. The public benefits from a certification process because it displays to people that a non-biased source has proven that someone is competent in their particular area of knowledge. 

There are few different kinds of certifications that you may decide to pursue after earning your fitness degree or diploma, such as:

You can also become a Certified Personal Trainer as part of a personal trainer certification program from various organizations.

Similar certifications are offered by different organizations. You’ll need to check which certification most accurately fits your knowledge and expertise. 

Some employers may also require that you take a certification exam before they hire you for your first job. Certification can help legally protect business owners and may be beneficial to employers when advertising services to customers.

If you have a future employer in mind, then you’ll want to check which certifications they look for in job applicants. If you’re required to take a test, you’ll find a wealth of resources online to help you study.

What Organizations Offer Certifications in This Field?

As noted earlier, certification can be gained through many different certifying agencies. However, some are more widely known than others.

For example, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a well-regarded organization that offers certifications in many areas, including:

  • Medical Exercise Specialist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Health Coach
  • Group Fitness Instructor

You can also take a certification course in CPR/AED through ACE.

Another organization that offers many different certifications in the personal training niche is the National Strength and Conditioning Association, or NSCA. The NSCA offers five distinct certification pathways:

  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS)
  • NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)
  • Certified Special Population Specialist (CSPS)
  • Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F)

In each case, certification is dependent upon passing the relevant certification exam. Likewise, you must meet certain prerequisites to sit for the exam. For example, to sit for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam, you must already have a bachelor’s degree or be in your senior year of college. You must also have a CPR/AED certification. The requirements for certifications vary, though (some might only require a high school diploma to get started), so be sure to determine what you need before you begin.

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) is yet another organization that offers a certification for personal trainers. This certification culminates in the Certified Personal Trainer credential, and allows you to work with a wide range of clients on issues related to fitness, nutrition, motivation, and more. ISSA and the other organizations above also offer continuing education opportunities for established personal trainers.

How Do Certification Processes Work? 

Most certification processes follow a similar formula for granting or denying certification to applicants. Organizations that offer certifications want to ensure that you have the necessary educational background under your belt. Sometimes a degree is the proof needed, while other times organizations look to see that you’ve completed specific courses. You will likely be asked to submit official transcripts from the colleges or educational programs you used to meet the certification requirements. 

Some certification organizations partner with universities to ensure that students are taught the necessary knowledge to pass the certification test upon graduation. Selecting a fitness program on this list that has partnered with a certification organization can clarify the particular certification you’re prepared to take. It can also increase the likelihood that you pass on the first attempt because your studies will be aligned to the outcomes on the certification test.

Once you’ve met the educational requirement of the certifying organization and your corresponding experiences have been approved, you’ll be assigned a test date. You may also be given an outline of the information you’re likely to encounter on the test, which you’ll want to pay attention to when studying for the exam. 

If you’re just beginning your degree or certificate program in fitness, you may want to get the testing outline from the organization they plan on using after graduating. Obtaining this outline and studying it throughout your educational process will significantly cut down on the amount of studying you’ll have to do after graduation. 

For your test day, you’ll be given an exam location, which will be closely monitored by testing professionals. The tests themselves are typically administered on a computer, with many certification tests requiring you to complete 100 questions or more. There are typically a few questions added to the exams that are entirely new and are used to gauge if they should be included on future tests. These questions usually don’t count toward the final grade and may be extremely difficult, so don’t let them discourage you.

Once you’ve finished answering the questions, some certification exams tell you immediately whether or not you passed. Others require you to wait a few weeks before being mailed your results. If you have to wait for the results, try to relax – the hard work has already been done!

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal trainers make a median yearly salary of $40,700. The pay range extends from a low of around $22,960 per year to a high of $75,940 per year. There are many reasons for the wide pay range:

  • The experience level – the more experience you have, the higher pay you can command.
  • The education level – the more training and education you have in your field, the more likely it is that you can charge higher rates.
  • The specialty – if you specialize in a certain type of fitness training, you might be able to charge more money for your services.
  • The geographic location – where you live and work can greatly influence how much money you earn.

To exert the most control over your income, it’s prudent to get the necessary education, get certified (or get multiple certifications), and work hard to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and effective personal trainer. If you are self-employed, the sky is the limit in terms of how much money you might earn.

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out 30 Accredited Online Colleges For Respiratory Therapy and the Top 20 Accredited Online Colleges for Physical Therapy