10 Best Colleges with Online Fitness & Personal Training Degrees

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 30, 2024, Reading time: 22 minutes

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You may be the type of fitness buff who serves as a fitness inspiration to your friends and family. If you feel that health and fitness are more than just your hobby, it’s probably something you are called for. The level of commitment you have in the area of fitness and personal training can be turned into a vocation for life.

Online Degrees in Fitness & Personal Training - fact

You can turn your passion for fitness and health into a career with a Bachelor’s in Fitness and Personal Training. With the increasing growth of unhealthy foods and lifestyles consumed and practiced by people worldwide, it’s not surprising how the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 14% job growth for fitness trainers and instructors. Personal training, indeed, is a booming industry. 

Similar to a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with an Exercise Science concentration. Fitness and Personal Training program leads to a fitness, health, or nutrition career.

The Lowdown

Physical activity, stress reduction, and mobility are all important factors that may affect a person’s health and well-being.

An online Bachelor’s in Kinesiology or Exercise Science program focuses on the mechanics of human movement and how they can impact health. It prepares students to work in exercise physiology, personal training, rehabilitation, athletic training, sports and health sciences, and recreation therapy.

Another pathway is to pursue advanced studies or higher education and earn certifications in physical therapy, healthcare, sports medicine, and personal training.


The number of unhealthy and overweight individuals in the United States is on the rise, as is the aging population. By pursuing a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology, you can help alleviate these social issues!

We help you find the best online bachelor’s program and school! Check out each program that made it to you’re list, which we evaluated with these criteria in mind:

Visit our Methodology to get the details on our ranking process.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Fitness & Personal Training

California Baptist University

California Baptist University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

An online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree program is available and offered at California Baptist University. This online degree prepares students for fitness, coaching, athletic training, health teaching, and allied health careers.

This kinesiology degree provides a strong educational foundation for students who want to graduate study further. If you want to pursue a graduate program in kinesiology, explore athletic training professionally, or jump to other areas of advanced study, this kinesiology is a good choice. 

Online Kinesiology bachelor’s programs provide students with a broad knowledge base that prepares them for professional success.

The program’s academically rigorous curriculum blends physical education and exercise science classes, positioning students to become teachers while preparing them for graduate studies. They have reputable professors bringing practical knowledge from their day jobs into the classroom.

What’s Unique About this Program:

During the program, you’ll learn to use technology proficiently and present fitness-related information orally and in writing. You will also communicate relevant information to diverse demographic groups effectively and responsibly.

You’ll be trained to describe, research, and apply human body functions related to exercise, physical activity, and physical development.

Did You Know?

Students who enroll in the online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program will embark on a journey that includes spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth. Christian moral principles are also one focus of the programs at California Baptist University. 

Maryville University

Maryville University

Online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Exercise professionals are becoming increasingly sought after as interest in health and fitness increases. It’s time to enter into the industry by being equipped with an online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree obtained from Maryville University. 

Technology, streaming videos, and improved access to fitness programs all contribute to a healthier living trend. The online bachelor’s in exercise science from Maryville might be your best route to a career as a qualified exercise science professional.

What’s Unique About this Program:

When you graduate from Maryville, you gain access to a cutting-edge program that was innovatively created with input from leading businesses and instructed by specialists in the field.

The principles of movement, nutrition, fitness program design, counseling and coaching, behavioral methods, and business can all be built upon here.

Did You Know?

Fitness has become more accessible as a result of technological advancements. It’s best to earn an online degree in kinesiology to keep up with the innovation. In this expanding industry, you may now make a lucrative profession out of your enthusiasm for health, fitness, and human performance. 

PennWest California

PennWest California

Online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

PennWest California offers an online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree, an accredited program. It offers various study options, from exercise science and wellness to business, marketing, and management. You will learn about fitness for youth, seniors, and special needs populations. 

This online bachelor’s degree takes three years without needing a residency requirement on campus. This all-encompassing program tackles wellness, anatomy, and physiology. It also covers subtopics in finance, sports management, and legal issues. You’ll learn about nutrition, health, and how to motivate people to become fit.

What’s Unique About this Program:

The well-rounded online exercise science degree program emphasizes career advancement, preventive healthcare, and high-quality fitness education. In addition, this major strongly emphasizes honed business acumen and leadership development.

The online bachelor’s degree curriculum fully satisfies employer demand in exercise science, fitness, and wellness, thanks to PennWest California’s tight professional ties with industry organizations.

Did You Know?

Graduates of PennWest California pursue higher education or advance their careers in exercise science, fitness, and wellness. With this online degree, you can take advantage of their fitness centers and spas, which offer high school coaching and collegiate athletics. 

American Military University

American Military University

Online Bachelor of Science in Sports & Health Sciences

The BS in Sports and Health Sciences at American Military University studies human behavior and movement. In collaboration with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, you can prepare to become a certified professional trainer, group fitness instructor, or corrective exercise specialist. 

Some of the courses covered in this online program are the following: 

What’s Unique About this Program:

In this online degree, you can learn to integrate exercise science concepts into various sports and fitness activities. You can train a diverse group of people about nutrition guidelines and how to consume a healthful diet to improve performance. Using basic first-aid techniques, you will also be taught how to respond to sports-related injuries.

Finally, you can employ motivational strategies and tactics to improve your physical activity practice and performance.

Did You Know?

When admitted as a student at American Military University, you can take advantage of the Prior Learning Assessment program, which awards academic credit for knowledge acquired outside the college.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University - Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Health Science: Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science

Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences: Healthy Lifestyles and Fitness Science is delivered online. In the US, this was initially a new offering in its field that combines health and wellness coaching with fitness science.

The program provides helpful basic knowledge in preventative health care and covers subtopics in health sciences, exercise, nutrition, and wellness.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared for a successful health, wellness, and health promotion career.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, you will learn how to work in preventative medicine online. You’ll improve the community’s health by coaching lifestyle habits, encouraging physical activity, and providing health care education.

Additionally, you’ll study stress management, cultural dimensions of health, fitness, nutrition, healthy eating, and research-based techniques in health and wellness coaching. 

What’s Unique About this Program:

After finishing the healthy lifestyles and fitness science program specialization, you will have the knowledge and abilities to pursue a wide range of professional options within the health and wellness areas. Additionally, you’ll be equipped to pursue further education in various health-related professions, including psychology, exercise science, nutrition, and public health.

Did You Know?

You will learn in-depth information on diet, exercise, and mindfulness techniques in the healthy lifestyles and fitness science emphasis.

The fundamental skills required to work as a health and wellness coach will also be covered. These include interpersonal communication abilities, active listening, persuasive questioning, positive psychology, and motivational interviewing techniques.

Tulane University

Tulane University - School of Professional Advancement

Online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

Tulane University promotes its online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree program. This online degree is a perfect fit for anyone interested in health promotion and working in the healthcare field.

Students who complete this program will have a solid understanding of physical activity’s physiological and psychological components and how it affects people’s health, quality of life, and society.

Moreover, their program is an excellent first step toward a future profession in health care, athletics, fitness training, and nutrition. It is also a suitable fit for people already employed in the healthcare industry.

What’s Unique About this Program:

Their instructors and lecturers have a wealth of expertise from various healthcare jobs. You won’t have to worry about the quality of academics you’ll earn from athletic trainers, registered nurses, physical therapists, and dieticians who are part of the Tulane University faculty.

Become familiar with fitness, physiology, sports medicine, and health advocacy professions and collaborate with peers with similar interests.

Did You Know?

Thanks to the online and on-campus course options, you can further your education without putting your life on hold. Join a network of accomplished alums after earning a degree from a university with a stellar reputation. 

East Central University

East Central University

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

At East Central University’s virtual campus, they offer an online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program. This is an exciting and rewarding program for a rewarding career in which you help others feel their best.

This online degree results in a high earning potential and leads to career advancement. It offers a thorough curriculum that is appropriate for all students with an interest in human movement.

With their flexible format, you can take classes when and where it’s convenient for you. They also offer generous credit transfer policies so you can finish your degree sooner. You can use previous credits to earn your degree while saving money through their partnerships with local community colleges. 

What’s Unique About this Program:

This unique degree comes with 80 hours of hands-on training. Kinesiology offers various sports, healthcare, recreation, and career opportunities. You’ll be equipped with the know-how and skills as soon as you graduate. 

Did You Know?

If you’ve taken college-level courses elsewhere, transferring your credits to ECU could help you achieve your degree faster and more affordably. You may also be eligible for scholarships. ECU also focuses on helping assure the success of eligible Native American students who can maximize financial aid options. 

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Dakota, you can become a physical education teacher, esports coach, or fitness or sports for all ages.

Exercise, physical exercise, and involvement in and competition in Esports all positively affect a person’s physiology, psychology, and social life. You will understand these implications comprehensively through this degree that applies to the industry.

Match your career aspirations with your bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. This is a good stepping stone to teaching grades K–12 if you want to pursue education. You’ll learn to train, coach, and manage athletes in sports and eSports. You’ll gain kinesiology knowledge and tools to pursue advanced degrees or work in the health and fitness industry.

What’s Unique About this Program:

One unique feature of this program is that it allows you to explore the path of allied health. This can make you proceed to an advanced degree in chiropractic practice, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. In this online degree, you need the opportunity to gain direct practical experience and complete a 10-credit internship.

Online discussion boards, polls, and chat rooms are some of the ways you will interact with your instructor and classmates in this online kinesiology program. You learn through materials that can be accessed at your convenience within a set timeframe. 

Did You Know?

Oregon State University

Oregon State University Ecampus

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

Get an in-depth understanding of physical activity and movement and how they influence people’s health condition and quality of life when you study for Oregon State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree.

This program’s comprehensive focus on kinesiology—human movement science—examines physical activity across the lifespan, from young children to older persons. Graduates emerge with the capacity to launch a career in health and wellness or professional programs for advanced training in Kinesiology.

What’s Unique About this Program:

All classes in this Kinesiology program are developed by OSU cream of the crop faculty. And they are usually the best fitness and personal training experts. Among many ranking agencies, they have consistently ranked Oregon State Ecampus among the nation’s top online education providers.

Also, on-campus and online students at OSU receive the same diploma.

Did You Know?

Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago

Online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

Concordia University Chicago offers an entirely online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program. You can do this from anywhere in the world and finish your degree. You can acquire your degree while taking care of your job and personal life because you are never required to log in at a set time to finish coursework.

Further, small class sizes allow you to interact with your lecturers and fellow students.

Students pursuing a kinesiology undergraduate degree get a solid health promotion and disease prevention foundation. This will be pretty valuable as obesity and other chronic diseases have increased rampantly in the US. 

What’s Unique About this Program:

Kinesiology undergraduate students at Concordia University have become experts in addressing the needs of older people and the nation’s obesity problem. Upon graduation, they often pursue a career in physical therapy.

Did You Know?

While you are constantly enrolled, your tuition is fixed. To help you finish more quickly, they offer an accelerated curriculum with fewer breaks.

Importance of Fitness and Personal Training

Kinesiology or exercise science is a subject that has many uses in different facets of life. Kinesiology is essential in strengthening physical function and enhancing general health and well-being, from sports performance to rehabilitation.

Here are a few justifications why it’s important to study or go into the fitness and personal training field:

Improves daily performance.

Fitness and personal training are not just for enhancing healthy people’s athletic performance. It also emphasizes enhancing the performance of daily tasks in populations that have experienced a functional impairment.

Kinesiology can be utilized in occupational therapy to assist patients with daily living activities. With proper exercise and training, people can be able to improve their daily activities. 

Promote overall well-being.

Overall well-being is among the most important priorities of people today. Personal Training and Fitness help maintain a healthy lifestyle by emphasizing the importance of physical activity.

Individuals can prevent chronic diseases and improve their physical and mental health by performing proper exercises or training movements. 

Teach the importance of motor skills.

People in the fitness and personal training field will be equipped to teach the importance of motor skills. Fitness professionals, coaches, and physical educators are trained in kinesiology to teach such subjects. Understanding the body’s biomechanics can enhance physical performance and prevent injuries. 

Promotes rehabilitation and recovery.

Rehabilitation and recuperation from injuries or surgeries depend greatly on kinesiology. Kinesiology practitioners may create exercises that target particular muscles and joints to improve their range of motion and strength by thoroughly understanding the human body’s biomechanics.

With this method, patients can recover more quickly and restore their mobility and function.

Industries to Explore After Graduating with an Online Degree in Kinesiology

As well as addressing the obesity epidemic and the elderly population issues, students will be prepared for careers such as:

Health and Safety

Workers’ injuries and diseases in the workplace are prevented by health and safety specialists. As a health and safety specialist, you will use your understanding of human movement to create and implement safety procedures and ergonomic fixes.

Fitness and Personal Training 

Individuals who hire personal trainers receive assistance in achieving their fitness objectives. They create customized workout plans and advise on eating habits and lifestyle decisions.

As a personal trainer, you will utilize your understanding of kinesiology to analyze the movement patterns of your clients and create workout regimens tailored to their requirements.

You will be well-prepared to assist clients in enhancing their general health and fitness while lowering their risk of injury if you have a degree in kinesiology. Personal trainers can be independent contractors in some environments, including gyms and health clubs.

Fitness Education

As you pursue the field of academics, you can teach physical education subjects. You will educate kids about the advantages of physical activity and support healthy lifestyle choices as a physical education teacher.

To create educational initiatives that cater to the requirements of students with various abilities, you will draw on your understanding of human movement.

Athletics Training

Injuries are prevented and treated by athletic trainers. As well as designing injury prevention programs, they also provide rehabilitation services to injured athletes.

Disability Management

Accidents and mishaps usually happen to anyone. Your role as a disability case coordinator involves navigating the healthcare system and helping individuals regain their independence after suffering a disability.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Helping people recover from illnesses or injuries that impair their ability to move is the main emphasis of clinical and rehabilitation careers. Careers like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or chiropractic treatment can fall under this category.

Physical Therapy

For graduates in kinesiology, physical therapy is a common job path. However, higher education or some licenses may be required to pursue jobs as a licensed Physical Therapist. Working with individuals who have endured an illness or accident that has limited their capacity to move is what a physical therapist does.

You will use your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to assist your patients in regaining strength and mobility. You will work in hospitals, gyms, rehabilitation facilities, or private practices as a physical therapist.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is also closely related to another career path related to kinesiology. Working with individuals who have experienced an illness or injury that has hindered their capacity to do daily activities is what an occupational therapist does.

You’ll apply your understanding of human movement to create exercise and recovery plans that aid in your patients’ return to normal daily activities. Hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, educational institutions, and private clinics employ occupational therapists.

Tips to Be a Successful Fitness and Personal Trainer

You frequently need to combine various abilities to be a good personal trainer and assist your clients in achieving their objectives and seeing results. Here are some invaluable tips to be a successful fitness and personal trainer:

Decide on your niche.

Decide what fitness niche you’d like to specialize in as a personal trainer. It is common for trainers to specialize in a particular training type or offer services to specific demographics or age groups.

It’s important to decide whether to target young adults, athletes, senior citizens, gym enthusiasts, or people trying to lose weight.

Study about coaching.

As a personal trainer, getting to know your clients and helping them through the slow physical changes they’re going through is crucial. You must develop your coaching skills and ability to inspire and motivate your clients successfully. Learn more about the basics of coaching to train or coach others successfully.

Build rapport with clients.

Being a good personal trainer requires establishing a personal relationship with your clients. Talk to your clients informally but professionally to learn more about them. This can foster loyalty and provide your client with a good incentive to keep working with you.

This also opens more opportunities to be introduced to more clients.

Train on movement first.

As a first stage, concentrate on assisting your clients in learning new motions. This makes it easier for your customers to succeed as they learn new abilities and train their bodies to become accustomed to different motions.

Focus on using your clients’ skills to help them achieve their fitness goals after they are more at ease mastering movements.

Gain several certifications.

Earning new certifications will help you gain new skills. Moreover, you may find a new specialty or expand your expertise. Consider getting licenses and certifications in niche fitness specialties such as nutrition, pilates, yoga, TRX, boxing, or breathing exercises.

Improve your soft skills.

While fitness training skills are important, don’t forget to develop your soft skills as a personal trainer. These social skills help you work with and relate to others. Relationship building requires these skills.

As a personal trainer, you should continue developing empathy, proactive listening, communication, and problem-solving skills. 

Build experience and expertise.

You can better prepare yourself to be an effective trainer by gaining much experience. Learn how to operate the various pieces of equipment in the gym and how to perform the various exercises by spending lots of time there.

Learn more about other trainers’ methods by observing them in action, and think about hiring a trainer yourself to experience what it’s like to be a client rather than a trainer. Ask other trainers for their best tips, and share any worries.

Job Description of a Kinesiologist

Since the body reacts differently to various stimuli, kinesiologists must be analytical and have a solid grasp of biology, chemistry, physics, sociology, and psychology. Additionally, you should be very good at communicating with others.

Take note of the following jobs and responsibilities of a kinesiologist, whether you do private practice or work in hospitals and other workplace settings:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to apply for certification after graduating with an online Bachelor’s in Fitness and Personal Training?

After completing the Fitness and Personal Training online bachelor program, certification is another hoop to jump through. The certification process ensures that people practicing a particular discipline are competent by establishing an organization as an authority. 

You and the general public are protected by these certifications, which also increases your credibility and qualifications. When purchasing insurance for yourself or your business, the display of expertise by an independent body may also provide you with some security.

A certification procedure is advantageous to the public since it shows that a person is qualified in their specific field of knowledge, according to a reliable source. 

What can graduates do with an Exercise Science degree?

After graduation, you may work for a fitness company or be self-employed. Fitness instructors frequently work with people of different ages and skill levels. Their time is spent creating both individualized and group training plans.

You can also assist clients in participating in the exercises through instruction and demonstration.

A fitness instructor or certified personal trainer frequently takes on administrative responsibilities as well. These can include the gym’s other administrative tasks and client service. For better opportunities, you can pursue specializations like sports, strength training, yoga, and pilates to have a target niche. 

Are Kinesiology majors in high demand?

More and more people are becoming more health-conscious today. Fitness experts with a degree in kinesiology will be in even greater demand as athletes and others become more interested in living a healthy lifestyle.

In the next decade, the Labor Statistics Bureau predicts a 10% increase in employment for exercise physiologists. Due to their broad understanding of movement and exercise science, kinesiology graduates are highly sought after. 

Summary Points

Additional Information: