Exercise science is the study of human movement. Professionals in this field apply principles of biochemistry, physiology, and biomechanics to analyze the body’s response to exercise and nutrition. This includes knowledge of how muscles, bones, tissue, cells, and the nervous system function together during physical activities, like running, jumping, or weight lifting. Exercise science is a common course of study among fitness workers and personal trainers looking for the expertise they need to provide effective and safe fitness training, and can even help individuals rehabilitating from injuries.
What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Exercise Science?
For those interested in pursuing a career in the fitness industry, an online exercise science degree can be an important advantage. With this degree, you can pursue a career as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, or fitness director. This can include leading groups in activities such as aerobics, strength training, stretching, yoga, or martial arts. Exercise science professionals also work one on one with clients, assessing their fitness levels and helping them to achieve their fitness goals. In addition, graduates can work in an administrative or managerial capacity as a fitness director, who is in charge of purchasing equipment, coordinating fitness class schedules, and hiring and supervising staff.
In most cases, individuals pursuing careers in exercise science will need to become certified before they start working with clients or group classes on their own. This is especially important for personal trainers, even those with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, Pilates and yoga instructors are required to have specialized training in their area. There are many organizations which offer certification. To ensure an organization is legitimate, it is best to verify it is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. General requirements for certification typically include a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, and the successful completion of an exam. This exam will have a written component, and may also include a practical component. Recertification is required every two years.
In 2008, the majority of workers in the field were employed by fitness and recreational sports centers, but there were also opportunities with hospitals and civic and social organizations. Some fitness workers may also opt to be self-employed, offering their services to individual clients or operating their own gym or studio. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for fitness workers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations with a 29% increase in employment predicted from 2008 to 2018.
The median annual income for fitness workers was $29,210 in 2008, with the middle 50% earning between $19,610 and $44,420. Fitness workers employed for hospitals earned the most, at a median salary of $32,140, while those who worked for fitness and recreational sports centers earned a median salary of $30,610. California, New York, and Texas have the highest employment levels for fitness workers, and New York, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts area the top paying areas. However, remember that job opportunities and salary vary and can depend on various factors, including the job climate, your level of experience, and your employer.
What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Exercise Science?
An online degree program is delivered through an course management system, such as Blackboard or Angel. Students log on to these systems to access their course materials, including reading assignments and lectures. All work is turned in through this system as well. Communication with instructors and classmates is achieved through email, instant messaging, and message board posts. With more and more employers seeking fitness workers with a bachelor’s education, an online degree can be a valuable advantage. Students enrolled in an online exercise science degree program can expect to study human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and kinesiology. More specialized courses might include topics such as resistance training, fitness assessment, ethics in sports and fitness, and CPR training.
In addition to an undergraduate education, employers are also seeking applicants who are certified in their area of expertise, whether it be yoga, Pilates, personal training, or group exercise. There are a number of organizations which grant certification for individuals employed in exercise science careers, but you should make sure they are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies first.