Best Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 1/3/2022

Exercise scientists study the effects of body movement on human physical and mental health. This academic discipline continues to grow rapidly as researchers praise the benefits of exercise, and there are now several fully online bachelor's programs in the U.S. Graduates of exercise science programs work in a variety of fields helping clients achieve their health and nutrition goals. Below, we've ranked the top 10 online bachelor's degrees in exercise science based on alumni earnings compared to program costs.

Read on for more information about common exercise science bachelor's courses, program accreditation, and potential career opportunities for alumni.

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Online Bachelor's in Exercise Science With the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Exercise Science Badge

These are the top online bachelor's degrees in exercise science based on return on investment. ROI is an estimate of accumulated earnings 10 years after graduation, once student loans are paid off. The cheapest degree isn’t necessarily the best investment over time and the costliest doesn't always guarantee the best outcomes, so ROI factors in both earnings and debt to help prospective students decide the worth of a particular degree.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 American Public University System $8,550 $44,305 $28,130 $421,100
# 2 #2 Maryville University $16,000 $38,829 $21,500 $373,000
# 3 #3 Cameron University $15,104 $33,993 $22,500 $321,900
# 4 #4 Concordia University-Chicago $13,280 $33,993 $25,000 $318,800
# 5 #5 California Baptist University $20,842 $33,993 $27,000 $316,300
# 6 #6 Concordia University - Saint Paul $12,600 $33,565 $24,250 $315,400
# 7 #7 University of Kansas $14,550 $32,925 $20,500 $313,400
# 8 #8 California University of Pennsylvania $13,776 $32,162 $26,500 $298,100
# 9 #9 Asbury University $12,369 $29,685 $25,000 $274,500
# 10 #10 Eastern Oregon University $11,925 $28,236 $23,611 $261,300

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Exercise Science Rankings Details

#1

American Public University System

Charles Town (WV)
  • 10-Year ROI: $421,100
  • Median Salary: $44,305
  • Annual Tuition: $8,550
  • Median Debt: $28,130

At American Public University, the Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences degree requires students to choose one of the following concentrations: coaching studies, exercise science, fitness and wellness professional studies, or a general concentration. Students will learn about exercise, fitness, nutrition, and health in the context of their concentration in this program.... The curriculum aims to prepare students for careers in personal training, coaching, and other fitness-related roles. Students must complete 37 credit hours in their major as well as a three-credit final project for this 120-credit program and can expect to complete their degree in as few as 15 months depending on transfer credits.

Students use the Brightspace learning management system to take asynchronous classes at their own pace, interact with professors, engage in forums, and share messages. The school accepts up to 90 transfer credits, and helps students set up payment plans, access financial aid opportunities, and apply for scholarships from a range of organizations.

APU accepts applications online at any time, and there are monthly course start dates. Support services for students and alumni include tech help as well as mock interviews, resume reviews, and internships.

Cost per Credit: $285
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 40%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335

#2

Maryville University

St. Louis (MO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $373,000
  • Median Salary: $38,829
  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Debt: $21,500

At Maryville University, the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science offers concentrations in wellness management or strength and conditioning. In this 128-credit program, students take courses on anatomy and physiology, nutrition, exercise physiology, stress management, and workout program design. They also complete a capstone project and a 400-hour practicum. The curriculum is... designed with the help of fitness professionals to ensure students learn in-demand skills. Online students have access to web-based tools such as the Human Performance Lab, which delivers interactive videos.

Using Canvas, students can view course syllabi, engage with learning materials, participate in online discussions, and take quizzes. They complete coursework at their convenience while meeting weekly milestones. Through the Early Access program, students interested in pursuing a graduate degree can take 12 credits of graduate-level coursework that applies to their bachelor's and master's degrees. Graduates can apply for positions as health educators or exercise physiologists and may work in schools, senior care facilities, sports facilities, and corporate wellness programs.

Students can apply online and may start their program in the fall, spring, or summer semester. Online students are provided with a host of resources, including a dedicated student support adviser and 24/7 technical support.

Cost per Credit: $500
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 71%
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1040 - 1250
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,326

#3

Cameron University

Lawton (OK)
  • 10-Year ROI: $321,900
  • Median Salary: $33,993
  • Annual Tuition: $15,104
  • Median Debt: $22,500

At Cameron University, the Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Science is a four-year degree program offered entirely online. In addition to completing general education requirements, students take courses on the physiology of exercise, the care and prevention of athletic injuries, facility management, biomechanics, and motor learning. This 124-credit degree requires 40 credits... of advanced-level courses.

The school uses the Blackboard learning management system for its online course delivery, and this application lets students participate in discussions, upload assignments, view announcements, and more. A bachelor's degree in this field positions students to pursue careers in coaching, training, and wellness in settings such as schools, government centers, gyms, or senior centers. Cameron University offers over 100 institutional scholarships, including a Sports & Exercise Science Tuition Waiver.

Students can apply online at any time. Once accepted, they need to meet virtually with a faculty member in their program before they start taking courses. The school offers academic advising and other student support services for enrolled students.

Cost per Credit: $472
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 21%
Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 429

#4

Concordia University-Chicago

River Forest (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $318,800
  • Median Salary: $33,993
  • Annual Tuition: $13,280
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at Concordia University Chicago provides students with an education rooted in the Lutheran faith that focuses on health promotion and disease prevention. Courses in this program include Physiological Basis of Exercise, Applied Kinesiology, and Nutrition, Exercise, and Behavior. This 100% online degree can be completed in as few as 16 months... with transfer credits

At Concordia, students take courses through an online learning management system called Moodle, which allows them to engage with professors and study at their own pace. All courses are limited to 20 or fewer students to create a more personalized learning experience. With a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, graduates can pursue careers in the fitness, wellness, and sports management fields. The school accepts financial aid packages and offers scholarships to help students cover the cost of their education. Once enrolled, students enjoy the same tuition rate for the entire length of their program.

The school accepts applications on a rolling basis, and classes start every five weeks. Concordia University Chicago offers a range of student support services including academic counseling, career services, post-graduate networking opportunities, and multicultural student engagement.

Cost per Credit: $415
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 75%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1010 - 1180
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 259

#5

California Baptist University

Riverside (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $316,300
  • Median Salary: $33,993
  • Annual Tuition: $20,842
  • Median Debt: $27,000

At California Baptist University (CBU), students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology or a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in kinesiology. These programs require 49 or 50 credit hours in the major, and they take an average of 18 months to complete. CBU offers a global education in the context of traditional Christian heritage. The school prefers... students have at least 24 transfer credits or a high school diploma.

Students complete their courses using Blackboard, and these degrees help them prepare for careers in sports medicine, fitness, athletic training, and nutrition and wellness. These programs are ideal for people who want to work in education or pursue a master's degree in the field. CBU encourages students to complete the FAFSA to qualify for student aid packages, and the school offers grants, scholarships, veteran's benefits, and employer tuition assistance. It is also a Yellow Ribbon Military friendly school.

Interested students can apply online, and an admissions counselor will contact them to answer questions about enrollment, registration, and how to pay for their education. Once accepted, students will work with a One-Stop Advisor as they complete their degrees.

Cost per Credit: $613
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 136
Graduation Rate: 63%
Acceptance Rate: 77%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1210
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,643

#6

Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul (MN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $315,400
  • Median Salary: $33,565
  • Annual Tuition: $12,600
  • Median Debt: $24,250

At Concordia University-Saint Paul (CSP), the Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science offers courses on kinesiology concepts such as human movement, exercise, and fitness management. To earn their bachelor's degree, students must complete 120 credits, which includes 49 credits specific to their major. Courses take seven weeks to complete.

Online students access course materials, engage... with peers, and take tests through the Moodle learning management system. These courses are delivered asynchronously, meaning that students can work at their own pace and don't have to attend any live classes. This degree prepares students for careers in coaching, personal training, rehabilitation, and wellness. It also prepares students for advanced study in aging, athletic training, biomechanics, sports management, and more. According to data from College Scorecard, students with a bachelor's degree from CSP earn 44% more than the national average. The school offers financial aid packages, scholarships for veterans, and reduced tuition for active members of the military.

Students can apply online at any time. Once they are accepted, they can attend an online orientation, and they have access to student support services such as 24/7 library access and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $420
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,159

#7

University of Kansas

Lawrence (KS)
  • 10-Year ROI: $313,400
  • Median Salary: $32,925
  • Annual Tuition: $14,550
  • Median Debt: $20,500

At Kansas University Edwards Campus, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Exercise Science is a degree completion program for fitness professionals or anyone who wants to pursue a career in exercise science directly out of the program. This degree prepares students to work in fields such as nutrition, personal training, corporate wellness, coaching, and fitness. This program can also... provide a foundation for people who want to work in cardiac rehabilitation or strength and conditioning. The degree requires 51 program-specific credit hours, and students must complete a total of 120 credits to graduate. Transfer students are expected to have completed general course work at another school.

Students use Blackboard to facilitate their learning. Most classes are synchronous, but some lectures are recorded. Courses cover exercise therapy, biomechanics, biochemistry, and kinesiology. In addition to traditional student aid packages, students in this program have priority access to scholarships and internships through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Students can apply online to start during the spring, summer, or fall semesters. The Welcome and Success Center offers a range of resources for students, including meetings with academic coaches and help to enhance career skills.

Cost per Credit: $485
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 66%
Acceptance Rate: 93%
Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 600

#8

California University of Pennsylvania

California (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $298,100
  • Median Salary: $32,162
  • Annual Tuition: $13,776
  • Median Debt: $26,500

The online Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree at California University of Pennsylvania helps students turn their passion for fitness into a career. This program can be completed entirely online in three years. Graduates can pursue careers in the fitness and wellness industry as personal trainers, speed coaches, and more. Courses focus on topics such as anatomy, physiology,... wellness, sports marketing, finance, nutrition, health, and fitness motivation.

Students use the Atlas learning management system to access their courses, and they can apply for scholarships, loans, and grants to help cover the cost of tuition. The school has partnerships with wellness certification associations, and the majority of the faculty have doctoral degrees in their field. Students can transfer in credits as long as they complete 30 of the final 60 credits at Cal U, and the school has transfer admission counselors to guide students through the process. Students can also earn credits for some professional experiences.

The school accepts applications from prospective students at all times, and students can start at four different times throughout the year. They can access help from face-to-face or virtual support through the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).

Cost per Credit: $328
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 168
Graduation Rate: 50%
Acceptance Rate: 96%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Average SAT Scores: 910 - 1100
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,141

#9

Asbury University

Wilmore (KY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $274,500
  • Median Salary: $29,685
  • Annual Tuition: $12,369
  • Median Debt: $25,000

At Asbury University, the Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Wellness teaches students how to develop wellness programs, design community health education plans, and promote healthy lifestyles. The degree requires general courses, including Foundations of Christian Thought as well as specialized classes such as Health Care Services, Trends and Policy in Health Care, Health... Promotions, and Nutrition Health. This degree requires 124 credit hours, and students can transfer in up to 75 credits. The school focuses on both academic excellence and spiritual vitality and provides online chapel services for students.

Students take classes using the Discovery online learning management system. This degree prepares graduates for a variety of careers, including health promotion specialist, health promotion coordinator, and wellness educator. Asbury offers grants and institutional scholarships, including a $2,000 per year scholarship for out-of-state students.

Prospective students can apply online for this program, and the school offers four start dates for its eight-week courses. After applying, students schedule an in-person or phone meeting with an adviser who will help them build a degree plan. Advisers also help students register for classes and order textbooks online.

Cost per Credit: $399
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 68%
Acceptance Rate: 70%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1050 - 1330
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 473

#10

Eastern Oregon University

La Grande (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $261,300
  • Median Salary: $28,236
  • Annual Tuition: $11,925
  • Median Debt: $23,611

Eastern Oregon University (EOU) offers a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance program with concentrations in exercise science. In these programs, students learn about the mechanics of the human body and psychological processes that affect physical health. These 180-credit degrees take four years to complete when enrolled full-time and prepare... students for jobs in school and community programs or graduate studies in health education. Online students can participate in internships, capstone projects, and hands-on learning opportunities in their community. The Bachelor of Arts program includes foreign language requirements, while the Bachelor of Science requires 12 additional science credits.

EOU uses the Canvas learning management platform to deliver online courses and lets students study at their own pace. One-on-one learning enhances the value of this degree, and students can transfer in up to 135 credits. This degree prepares students for work in growing fields such as personal training, which has a median salary of about $40,000 and is expected to grow by 13% through 2028, and health education, which has a median annual salary of $46,000 and a projected growth rate of 11%. The majority of students at this school get financial aid packages.

Students can apply online at any time but must meet application deadlines if they want to start in a specific semester. Student resources include enrollment counselors, student support, career support, and tech support services for online students.

Cost per Credit: $265
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 27%
Acceptance Rate: 98%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Average SAT Scores: 930 - 1145
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,365

Online Exercise Science Degree Overview

Colleges offer online exercise science degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Curricula for these degrees provide increasingly deep and specialized courses that build on the fundamentals of human physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and sports psychology. Below are some examples of what students might encounter at different levels, along with careers that each degree can prepare them for.

Exercise Science Degree Levels
Associate
  • Students take general education courses and introductory courses in anatomy, physiology, and nutrition.
  • Two-year programs can provide a foundation for students to pursue a bachelor's degree or earn licensure as a personal trainer or physical therapy aide.
  • Those who graduate from an accredited physical therapy assistant program can go on to earn their PTA license.
Bachelor's
  • Students take advanced courses in exercise physiology, human biomechanics, and nutrition — see Common Courses below for more details.
  • Some programs offer concentrations such as strength and conditioning, kinesiology, or coaching.
  • Degree holders have become general or program managers at fitness clubs. They've also secured jobs requiring licensure such as personal trainer, nutritionist, teacher, or coach.
Master's
  • Master's programs are generally more specialized than bachelor's degrees. Depending on the specialty, they might contain advanced courses in health psychology, epidemiology, sports psychology, or applied kinesiology.
  • Most programs feature a class on research methods and culminate in a research paper or project.
  • Many programs require students to complete an internship.
Doctoral and professional
  • Ph.D. programs aim to create professors and researchers. They contain courses in advanced statistical and scientific research methods and culminate in a dissertation on an original topic.
  • Faculty design professional degrees to train students for specific careers. For example, students enroll in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program to become physical therapists.
  • Professional degrees usually require students to complete hundreds of clinical hours. During these assignments, they work under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Exercise Science

An online bachelor's in exercise science can be a good educational foundation for individuals who want to help others achieve their fitness and sports goals. In addition, it can lay the groundwork for further education in a graduate degree program.

Typical Program Requirements

Online exercise science programs usually take four years to complete, and require 120-128 semester credit hours or 180 quarter credit hours. This may include an internship or other hands-on field placement to gain practical experience. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED. Many schools have minimum GPA requirements for admission.

Online classes are usually asynchronous, which means that students aren't required to attend live sessions. Instead, they sign in to a virtual learning platform at their convenience to complete coursework and watch recorded lectures.

The Importance of an Accredited Online Exercise Science Degree

Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent organization that indicates a high level of educational quality. Colleges can be either nationally or regionally accredited. Most strictly academic programs seek regional accreditation, while trade and professional schools tend to earn national accreditation. Regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from schools with the same type of accreditation.

In addition, some professional organizations accredit individual programs in a specific discipline. For exercise science, this organization is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.


Exercise science employers may look favorably on applicants who attended a CAAHEP-accredited program, and some jobs may require it. Currently, CAAHEP doesn't accredit any fully online programs, so applicants should take this into consideration before choosing to study online.


Common Courses for an Exercise Science Degree

Exercise science graduates learn to use body movement to improve people's physical and mental health. There are several subdisciplines within the broad category of exercise science, and students may choose to major in one of these or study it as a concentration. We've selected several courses below that are common to most bachelor's degrees in exercise science, regardless of specialization.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Enrollees learn anatomical terminology and the functions of the various body systems. Professors emphasize how exercise affects each system and its connections with the others. Many versions of this course include anatomical tests in a laboratory or using a home lab kit.

Kinesiology

To understand healthy exercise habits, students must first learn how bodies move. Kinesiology integrates anatomy and physiology, physics, and biochemistry and applies them to human biomechanics. Enrollees usually learn how to evaluate a person's mobility and limitations, along with methods for explaining and improving biomechanical issues.

Legal Issues in Fitness and Sport

Students in this course learn the potential legal concerns of various exercise and health professions. Topics include liability and waivers, promissory language, the intersection between law and ethics, and the defendant's rights in personal injury cases. This course is often taught by a law professor who can contextualize real examples of case law.

Nutrition and Performance

This course examines the interplay between physical activity and human nutrition. Faculty lecture on micro- and macronutrients, metabolism, hydration, and digestive absorption. Students design diets for different character personas and learn motivational techniques to encourage them to adhere to a plan.

Sports Psychology

Sports psychology professors seek to reveal the connections between mind and body in exercise science. Students learn psychological models of motivation, leadership and team dynamics, and the difference between coaching for personal growth versus performance enhancement. The course also covers the mental health benefits of regular exercise.

For more information about online college, including scholarship opportunities and advice from experts, visit our resource hub.

Careers Available with an Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree

Students can pursue several jobs with only a bachelor's on their resume. Many of these careers involve coaching or instilling discipline in others, which requires an understanding of motivation. Because of this, students may find it beneficial to take psychology electives beyond the introductory sports psychology course.

Below are a few job possibilities for exercise science graduates. Unless noted otherwise, salary and job outlook data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Clinical laboratory technologist: This career may appeal to students who enjoy the lab portions of their exercise science degree. Under the supervision of a senior scientist, technologists test and monitor lab equipment, perform experiments, analyze chemical and tissue samples, and keep meticulous records of their findings. They can apply to jobs at corporate or university exercise research labs. These professionals earn median annual salaries of $54,180. The BLS expects the job field to expand by 11% through 2030.
  • Exercise physiologist: Exercise physiologists prescribe exercise programs for patients recovering from serious illness or injury. Their training and certification is less stringent than that of physical therapists, because they don't diagnose medical or movement problems. Two organizations certify practitioners, which can bolster employment prospects: the American Society of Exercise Physiologists and the American College of Sports Medicine. Physiologists make a median wage of $50,280 per year, and the field is growing at a 13% rate through the end of the decade.
  • Health and wellness coach: These professionals use empathy and motivational coaching to help clients meet their personal health and wellness targets. They take a holistic view of wellness that includes stress management, sleep, and other forms of self-care. Prospective coaches can earn certification through the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching. Because this is an emerging profession, salary and job growth data is limited.
  • Personal trainer: Trainers work one on one with clients to improve their physical fitness. They usually meet clients in a fitness facility to assess their performance on exercise equipment and often consult on a nutritional plan. Most personal trainers work for fitness centers or sports complexes but about 18% are self-employed. Fitness trainers can choose certifications from a variety of organizations, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Council on Strength and Fitness. Certified personal trainers earn a median yearly pay of $40,510. Available jobs are growing at a very fast rate of 39% through 2030, with most positions found in populous states like California and Texas.

Is an Online Bachelor's in Exercise Science Worth It?

The answer to this question depends on your personal responsibilities, finances, and goals. As you weigh your decision, consider which factors matter to you most. A bachelor's degree in exercise science can lead to a rewarding career, but it can be beneficial to consider the negative aspects alongside the positive.

Potential Benefits

  • Exercise science graduates often experience a good deal of variety in their work. For example, personal trainers spend little time sitting at a desk but instead move around a gym training individuals or groups. Trainers and exercise physiologists also frequently meet new people and encounter fresh challenges.
  • Exercise science alumni can qualify for jobs in fast-growing fields. Lab techs, trainers, and physiologists all enjoy job growth projections above the U.S. average of 8%. The 39% rate for trainers is especially healthy. Graduates who pursue certain advanced degrees also face favorable job markets — for example, health sciences professors and physical therapists have projected growth rates of 24% and 21%, respectively.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Most jobs in exercise science require certification beyond a bachelor's degree. For example, trainers and physiologists generally need to pass a certification exam before most employers will hire them. This shouldn't necessarily discourage you from earning a bachelor's in exercise science, as long as you understand the extra requirements for your chosen profession.
  • Many of the highest paying careers in the field call for advanced degrees. Physical therapists provide one example: they must complete an additional three-year degree and earn licensure before they can enter the field, which pays a median wage of $91,010. Again, you should understand that a bachelor's degree may only be the first step toward your ideal career.
  • Perhaps most crucially, CAAHEP doesn't accredit online bachelor's degree programs in exercise science. This doesn't indicate that online exercise science programs grant a poor education, but it does mean that online students may not confidently rely on this signifier of their degree's quality.

Beyond the general pros and cons of an exercise science degree, it's worth asking whether this major is suitable for online study. Schools offer many distance learning programs in the sciences, and some students are drawn to the flexibility of asynchronous coursework. However, others enjoy the live classroom and laboratory experience in which they can ask questions and get feedback on their work. Online science students occasionally report problems authenticating lab assignments, even when program advisors send special equipment or authorize a lab near the student's home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Exercise Science Degrees

What can I do with an online degree in exercise science?

Graduates with degrees in exercise science can choose among a wide variety of career options in the health and human performance fields. These include personal training, coaching, and pursuing research opportunities in private health agencies, fitness centers, non-profit research centers, college athletic programs, and other educational institutions.

How much can I earn with an online degree in exercise science?

Your earnings will ultimately depend on the job you choose after graduating. If you become a licensed personal fitness trainer, the median annual salary is $40,510. If you specialize in exercise physiology — using exercise to help people who are injured or sick to recover — you can earn a median annual salary of $50,280 once you earn a license. Trainers who work for fitness centers earn the most in their field, as do exercise physiologists who work for government employers.

How stable are careers in exercise science?

This answer also depends on the career path you choose, but recent data indicates a positive outlook for several jobs in the field. The BLS projects personal trainer positions to grow by 39% through 2030, which is much faster than the 8% average growth rate for most occupations. Exercise physiology will likely grow by 13% in the same period. This robust job outlook is partly due to healthcare and insurance organizations recognizing the comprehensive benefits of physical activity. Some even provide health incentives for their employees, which has increased demand for trainers and exercise professionals.

Can I become an athletic trainer with a bachelor's degree in exercise science?

The short answer is no. Athletic trainers help athletes prevent injuries and quickly treat them when they occur, which calls for specialized knowledge and skills. The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education requires athletic trainers to earn an accredited degree in the discipline, so programs in exercise science, physical therapy, and strength and conditioning are not acceptable substitutes.

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