Online Sports and Fitness Degree Programs

Online Sports and Fitness Degree Programs

Fitness was once considered a hobby. Now, it's a lifestyle.

Today, the fitness industry is a billion-dollar business, in large part because many people need help and support to reach their fitness goals. That's where personal trainers, nutritionists, and group training instructors come in.

The Work

Personal trainers work in fitness centers, or travel to where their clients live, and often have the flexibility to work either part-time or full-time. Personal trainers motivate their clients, enhance their workouts, and assist them in improving their nutrition habits.

Group exercise instructors generally work in gyms and health clubs, teaching classes that include step aerobics, Pilates, yoga, and spinning. Instructors lead the workouts, engage their participants, and ensure that their participants are performing the exercises correctly and safely.

While personal trainers sometimes provide nutritional advice, many seek out the expertise of a nutritionist to guide their dietary decisions. Nutritionists asses a client's nutritional needs, then work with the client to plan a meal regimen that will help them reach their goals – whether those goals are to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply eat in a healthier fashion.

Education and Training

Certification is required for personal trainers who want to work in a licensed health facility. Trainers can take classes to get certified in subjects such as kinesiology, muscular strength, flexibility, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, and CPR.

Certification requirements aren't as stringent for group instructors, but recently more facilities are looking for instructors who are certified. A bachelor's degree in physical education, exercise science or kinesiology is required for athletic trainers, or to move into a management position in a health club or fitness center.

A dietitian's education in health science involves significant scientific based knowledge in anatomy, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physiology, nutrition, and medical science. In addition to this scientific instruction, dietitians must undergo an internship to learn counseling skills and aspects of psychology.


Job prospects for fitness workers is good, especially for part-time positions as there is expected to be continued interest in health and fitness and there is much turnover in the field. Average employment growth for nutritionists and dieticians is expected, but those with advanced degrees, highly specialized training, or certifications should see the best employment opportunities.

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