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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Fitness and Exercise

Majors Overview February 17, 2014

Receive information about an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in fitness and exercise, and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, and education and certification choices.

A.A. Programs in Fitness and Exercise

Students enrolled in fitness and exercise associate programs are taught about how health and fitness are connected with each other about the manner in exercise evokes responses from the body. They can expect to become adept at designing and coordinating sports activities and exercise regimens even as they simultaneously assess the fitness levels of clients. Schools offer programs under a variety of related subjects, including sports studies, exercise and sports and fitness management.

Education Requirement

Admission criteria for an associate program typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. However, some schools may waive these conditions in allowing some adults to enroll into these programs even though they don’t possess either of these documentations.


Coursework in a fitness and exercise program focuses on healthy living, client management and principles of exercise. Clients rely on these graduates’ advice about the proper modes of exercise aimed at meeting fitness goals. Coursework in some programs may also include rudimentary business skills, apart from topic areas such as:

•Health and fitness levels
•Fitness program design
•Personal training methods
•Exercise physiology
•Fitness assessment
•Weight training
•Fitness management

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete a health and fitness associate program may seek entry-level jobs in fitness centers, health clubs, medical facilities and private gyms. A job growth rate of 13% has been predicted for fitness workers during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).The best opportunities are expected to be enjoyed by candidates who hold relevant fitness degrees. They may aspire for job titles such as:

•Exercise instructor
•Personal trainer
•Sports specialist

Education and Certification Choices

Professional certification may be insisted on by some job givers. While certification norms may vary by certifying organization, candidates are typically expected to hold GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to passing an exam and obtaining certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Those who seek career advancement may seek continued education by earning a Bachelor’s or master’s degree one of several fitness-related and exercise fields, such as sports management, physical education, kinesiology and exercise science. Schools may allow transfer of some credits from an associate program to a bachelor’s program.

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