Staying active and healthy have become primary goals for many people, and those who want wellness careers often investigate the degree needed to become a fitness instructor. The obesity rates among most Americans are high, and a sedentary lifestyle is a major contributor to the loss of fat burning, lean muscle. Fitness instructors motivate people to increase their physical activity by introducing them to new exercises and teaching them how to perform the exercises correctly to avoid injury. These instructors also help their clients to set achievable wellness goals and monitor their progress. Successful instructors have knowledge of human anatomy, aerobic and aenorobic training techniques, first aid and sports nutrition. While people who are interested in the fitness career field can gain entrance through certificate programs, they usually opt to develop and hone as many skills as they can through two and four year degree programs. Here are some popular degree programs that help aspiring fitness instructors to prepare for careers as personal trainers, corporate fitness directors and wellness coaches.
Associate of Applied Science in Health Fitness Specialist
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Health Fitness Specialist degree prepares students to become fitness instructors primarily in the capacity of personal training. The two year degree program typically includes course topics that cover physiology, biomechanics, fitness analysis and nutrition; the courses taught in this associate level program are similar to those covered in exercise science four year degree programs. The AAS in Health Fitness Specialist and related programs are usually offered at community colleges, and many schools allow students to complete these programs either online or on site. Some of the better programs include hands on, supervised internships that allow students to practically apply their skills before they sit for industry fitness certification examinations. Aspiring fitness instructors should check to see if a program includes valuable career service help before enrollment.
Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science
While an associate level degree in fitness offers a fast track to a career as a personal trainer, students who pursue a four year undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science usually have broader career options available to them, according to Live Strong. Some of these include athletic director, corporate wellness consultant and sports injury rehabilitation coordinator. The course topics that students study in this degree program include fitness and nutritional concepts, injury care and prevention, physiology and fitness teaching techniques. Although many schools do not require students to have taken prerequisite courses before participating in their undergraduate exercise science programs, a few schools require successful completion of fundamental math, biology and chemistry courses prior to enrollment.
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
Kinesiology is the study of human body movement, and an undergraduate degree in the subject helps to prepare students for careers as fitness instructors for a variety of clients. Courses include the standard subjects of human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics as well as topics relating to motion analysis and physiology for the aging. Many students use this degree to become fitness instructors while they work toward higher level careers in areas like physical therapy.
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There are not many gifts more precious than good health, and those who genuinely want a rewarding career of service to others consider becoming qualified fitness instructors. Besides the certificate or degree needed to become a fitness instructor, patience and communication skills are needed for success in this career field.