What Can I do with a Fitness Wellness Degree?
Where can I find statistics / information about the Fitness Wellness field?
The IDEA Health & Fitness Association Fitness Journal provides a yearly Fitness Industry Compensation Trends Report within their fitness journal. IDEA also has a tab on its website entitled, "Career Guide" with helpful information on types of careers and professional connections within the Fitness Wellness field. In addition, the National Institute on Health, American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and the American Council on Exercise all have information on their websites regarding direction and needs within the field, employment opportunities, advocacy, professional preparation, and development.
What certifications / degrees are needed for a career path in Fitness Wellness?
The bottom line: The fitness and health coaching field is rapidly expanding. Companies are attempting to lower the health costs of employees. Health coaching and fitness program development with clear, measurable outcomes are being reimbursed. To obtain a full-time job in this capacity, persons with four-year degrees accompanied with nationally accredited certifications are landing these jobs. While someone can take a weekend seminar and become a personal trainer, they would most likely have a hard time securing a job that is more than hourly pay. To pass a nationally accredited exam takes more education (some certifications require that you have a four-year degree to even sit for the exam). Although students in the Fitness Wellness program are required to take the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Physiologist - Certified exam, other nationally accredited certifications include the following:
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer or Health Coach Certification
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer or Health Fitness Specialist
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Personal Trainer or Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer
How does the program prepare me for these types of exams?
The NAU Fitness Wellness program is aligned with the standards and guidelines for the accreditation of educational programs for exercise science put forward by the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES). The CoAES is made up of members representing the following organizations:
- American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- American College of Sports Medicine
- American Council on Exercise
- American Kinesiotherapy Association
- Medical Fitness Association
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
- The Cooper Institute
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
The NAU Fitness Wellness program incorporates information from all of the organizations listed above in the delivery of course content, texts, lectures, and labs.
How do I create professional connections in this field?
To start with, get involved in the Fitness Wellness club here at NAU along with the Health Promotion Department in the Health Learning Center (HLC). In addition, become a member of a regional and/or national chapter of one of the following organizations. You may become a member of these organizations without being certified which will enable you to glean valuable information on the direction and hot topics within the field.
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- IDEA Health and Fitness Association (IDEA)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)