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Best Exercise Science Degree Choices and Career Paths

Welcome to our article on exercise science degree choices and career paths. First of all, you must be pretty serious about pursuing a career in fitness, because this is going to be a long and comprehensive article to read. In fact, this article is full of; best in-campus and online exercise science degree choices and possible job options once you got the degree. However, you won’t regret reading all this material, because whatever you are looking about exercise science degree will be presented here.

This is the only guide you need to read related to “Exercise Science Degree”. We recommend you to skim through before you start to read, check the headings you are most curious about.

Before we get to exercise science degree choices and career paths, let’s learn some general information related to this subject.

What is Exercise Science Degree?

Exercise science is a multidisciplinary study that has sections like physical, biological and health sciences. These sections explain functional, structural and fundamental changes that happen in various levels like; physiological, biochemical, and biomechanical levels.

Exercise science aims to understand and describe the stress body endures; therefore, it can find solutions which will reduce, stop or reverse the disease progression.

Also, exercise science emphasizes areas such as; physiology, anatomy, chemistry, physics and biology. These areas can lead you to various career paths like Fitness training, corporate wellness, pre-health professional, human performance and research. You’ll learn more about these career paths in a separate section.

Moreover, the exercise science degree will prepare you for entry and mid-level jobs in the fitness industry.

Job opportunities are almost limitless with an exercise science degree. If you are interested in fitness; no matter what’s your capabilities, age and whereabouts, you can secure a reliable job in this sector. In fact, the next section in our article is for people who can’t or don’t want to leave where they live but still want to get an exercise science degree.

What is Exercise Science Degree

Exercise Science Degree Online

Are you passionate about fitness and determined to train and improve people’s fitness and wellness but can’t leave where you live? Get an exercise science degree online! Every day more and more people choose to study online because; you can get a degree without leaving your house and it’s much cheaper than studying in-campus. (1) Also, with getting an exercise science degree online, you can use this as a stepping stone to graduate-level study and a clinical career.

Most states in the U.S, need you to have a bachelor’s degree in this field to consider you as qualified. Moreover, the online exercise science bachelor’s degree curriculum has various topics like fitness assessment, nutrition and anatomy. After graduating, you’ll be prepared to assess treatments that enhance fitness levels and help patients recover faster.

Also, most career options don’t need you to have more than a bachelor’s degree but, if you are planning to gain a license as a physical therapist; you can pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in physical therapy.

Let’s take a look at the 6 best online exercise science degree;

6 Best Online Exercise Science Degree

1- University of North Carolina Wilmington

University of North Carolina Wilmington

UNCW offers an online bachelor’s degree in exercise science, which has seven-week terms. Also, there are six start dates throughout the year for student candidates to enroll; this is one of the main reasons why this is the best online exercise science degree.

The curriculum of this program is put together to make you competent enough for the fitness industry. The course content has scientific classes related to health and wellness, exercise, and personal fitness. After you’ve finished the main courses, you can specialize in allied health or exercise physiology.

Once you graduate, there are various job opportunities in personal training, exercise physiology, and corporate fitness program administration for you to pursue.

2- Concordia University, St. Paul

Concordia University, St. Paul

The courses in this online bachelor’s degree are as following; human anatomy, applied nutrition, biomechanics and exercise physiology, and each term is 7 weeks long. Besides the core courses, you have to complete a senior seminar which includes leadership and collaboration skill courses. Also, taking the eight-credit internship is mandatory to graduate.

Concordia University offers a master’s program in exercise science too. To get this degree, there are various required courses such as; exercise physiology, statistical analysis, nutrition & metabolism, the psychology of sports, clinical exercise assessment. Also, you must complete a capstone project or write a thesis.

3- California Baptist University

California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers online bachelor and master’s degree in kinesiology; also, the program can be completed in 12 months. The study is interdisciplinary, and the curriculum has courses like the science of human movement, research methods and fitness & wellness.

Also, bachelor of science in kinesiology includes courses about movement anatomy, care and prevention of athletic injury, and evaluation.

4- Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University

If you want to become a coach or gain more experience, earning a master of science in kinesiology from Georgia Southern University can be a good choice because the curriculum of this program follows National Coaching Standards for Level 5 Coaching status. In fact, there are online courses like athletic training, coaching administration, coaching effectiveness and performance enhancement.

Also, students can complete their program in four semesters by taking three classes each semester.

5- Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University

We all want to be executives that can make their own decisions and also if you are interested in Fitness Management; MBU offers an online Master of Science in Fitness Management that puts classes in exercise science together with business and management classes.

There are various subjects in courses such as; sports facility management, sport psychology, sport finance, and human performance. Also, students need to do an internship at a fitness club, rehabilitation facility, or coaching assignment for a capstone project.

This master’s program is for; graduates who have an exercise science degree, and also for pros who work in the fitness industry.

6- Southern Utah University

Southern Utah University

The last degree program on our list is an online Master of Science in Sports Conditioning and Performance at the Southern Utah University. Also, this degree is for coaches and coach candidates, especially.

Besides coaches, the online degree program is for; athletic trainers, personal trainers, physical therapists, etc.

However, we have to indicate that this program is not %100 online. If you enroll in this program, you have to be present at SUU campus for one to two weeks in the summer to finish intensive clinical workshops. Also, you need to write a thesis to get your degree.

Most Affordable Online Exercise Science Degree

5 – California University of Pennsylvania – California, Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania – California, Pennsylvania

Online B.S.-Exercise Science

This degree offered by the CALU is for people who want to merge business and exercise science. In fact, the online sports science curriculum is designed to prepare students for NASM and NASE certifications; these certifications will put you in front of the competition.

Also, there are different areas students can specialize, like sports management and professional golf management.

Price: $17,755

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4 – University of North Carolina Wilmington – Wilmington, North Carolina

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Online B.S. in Exercise Science

The University of North Carolina Wilmington was our number 1 choice that offers the best online exercise science degree. Besides that, it also sits on the fourth spot of the most affordable online exercise science degree list.

This university offers a program that has six start dates each year. Whenever do you think is the right time to start, you can begin your studies. The program focuses on areas like; exercise physiology, exercise prescription, biomechanics and sports nutrition.
Price: $16,831

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3 – The United States Sports Academy – Daphne, Alabama

The United States Sports Academy – Daphne, Alabama

Online Bachelor of Sports Science

This online sports science degree is both affordable and a good choice for students who want to pursue a career in the fitness sector. Moreover, there are various sport science degree programs like; Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies, and Sports Strength and Conditioning. After you’ve graduated, you can expect to find job opportunities in sports administration, education, coaching, healthcare and research.
Price: $16,200

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2 – University of Louisiana – Lafayette, Louisiana

University of Louisiana – Lafayette, Louisiana

Bachelor of Kinesiology – Health Promotion & Wellness Online

The next affordable online exercise science degree offers an online bachelors in kinesiology focused on health promotion and wellness. Also, whether you are an in-state or an out of state student, the tuition rates are the same.

Compared to some of the online bachelor degrees, this degree is 100% online; you don’t have to go to the campus to finish up your education. Students can do their internship and get clinical experience where they live.
Price: $12,502

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1 ­- American Public University – Charles Town, West Virginia

American Public University – Charles Town, West Virginia

Sports and Health Sciences B.S. Online

The last online B.S in sport science program in our list is the most affordable one in this guide. American Public University follows ASEP guidelines and the online sports science courses are; sports psychology, exercise physiology, nutrition and exercise programming, and testing.

After you graduate from this program, you can expect to find entry-level jobs in areas like fitness, corporate wellness, and strength and conditioning.

Price: $10,658

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Exercise Science Degree Jobs

There are so many career options in the fitness sector, whether you have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or not. In fact, there are some certificates that can help you find a job in this sector. Nevertheless, if you want to pursue a career in this sector there some job opportunities like;

Athletic director, community program director, massage therapist, recreation and sports director, sports facility manager, sports coach, strength and conditioning coach.

For the jobs listed above, you have to get a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. Also, if you want to become a doctor, exercise physiologist, registered dietician, occupational therapist, or physical therapist; you have to finish a program at the graduate level.

After you’ve graduated and ready to start your career; you may not know what you want to do exactly, that’s okay. Because, if you don’t know which area you should pursue, here are some of the top career paths you can choose as an exercise scientist.

Top Career Paths for Exercise Scientists

1)Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer

This could be the most popular career path people choose after graduating.

There are various things you can do as a personal trainer, but the most well-known are; leading a group in a fitness class and/or offer private fitness classes. Whether you choose to lead an exercise class, a strength training class, an aerobics class, or a cardio class; you’ll give out your fitness knowledge to your students/clients. You’ll guide your students in topics like general health, nutrition and injury prevention.

Do you absolutely need an exercise science degree to become a personal trainer? No, in fact, there are different certification programs like; NASM, ACE, NSCA, ACSM, NESTA, NCCPT and NCSF. You can get a certification in 2 to 6 months and start making money right away.

Above all, employment is projected to grow 13% through 2028, which is faster than in other sectors. There is a need for new employees in health clubs, gyms and corporate health organizations.


Annual salary – $56,875



Coaches can teach amateur and pro athletes, help them train effectively and shine their talent. Besides that, they lead practices, draft game plans, call plays and take decisions related to what’s happening in the game.

Coaches can work in education like grade school and college; but also at the professional level. Also, Employment is expected to grow by 11% through 2028.

If you can take decisions in stressful environments and trust your leadership skills; coaching could be a good career path for you.

Annual salary – $40,644


3)Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists help patients to recover from physical injuries and illnesses. They can create recovery plans for patients; these recovery plans consist; stretches, strength training, soft tissue work and physical manipulation. Besides a bachelor’s degree and a master’s, you also need to have a doctorate in physical therapy. (DPT)

This is one of the best jobs you can get in healthcare. Besides its already existing advantages, the expected growth for physical therapy by 2029 is %18.

Annual Salary – $89,440


4)Athletic Trainer

Athletic Trainer

If you want to work with athletes as a health care professional, becoming an athletic trainer is the career path you should choose. They work with doctors to provide care, rehabilitate injuries and illness of athletes. Also, they teach athletes how to prevent injuries. If a serious injury happens, they create a long-term recovery program. Besides injury prevention and care; they can also give information on diet and nutrition. Adding to that, they have tasks such as: performing administrative duties, writing reports, ordering supplies and equipment.

Besides working with athletes, they can work with up and coming young talent, professional sports teams, students, in hospitals and the military.

When it comes to education, they need to have a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, exercise science or similar areas. Licensing requirements change state to state, but after you graduate from a program, you have to pass a comprehensive examination test.

This job is expected to grow 16% by 2029, which is a lot more than the average for all occupations.


Annual Salary – $48,440

5)Exercise Physiologist

Exercise Physiologist

Becoming an exercise physiologist is a great choice for people who want to be their own boss because about half of exercise physiologists are self-employed. Besides working for yourself, you can work in health care too.

Some consider becoming an exercise physiologist, not a good career option compared to physical therapists. But, this field is expected to grow 10% by 2028, and it will get more recognized by institutions.

Annual Salary – $49,170

If you want to learn more about exercise physiologist, check this out:

Make Money with Your Fitness Knowledge! Become an Exercise Physiologist

6)PE Teacher

Physical Education teacher

Physical Education teachers teach classes on fitness, health and sports at the K-12 level. They pretty much know everything from the human body to a variety of sports, and they don’t need to know in-depth knowledge.

Besides some institution which expects you to have a master’s, most P.E teachers require a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and teaching credentials. Also, if you choose this career path, you’ll be more inclusive in the community.

Annual Salary – $39,293



7)Sports Medicine Physician

Sports Medicine Physician

Sport medicine physicians are doctors that work with athletes and treat their injuries. Like a regular doctor, they diagnose, treat and try to prevent injuries from happening.

There are five steps to become a sports medicine physician;

  • First, get your bachelor’s degree.
  • Second, take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to be eligible to attend medical school.
  • Third, earn your medical degree.
  • Fourth, complete a residency program. There are various residency programs such as; family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation.
  • Fifth, you need to finish 1-2 year fellowship in sports medicine.

This may seem like a lot, but sports medicine physician job market is expected to grow 11.4%. Also, the median annual salary is pretty great.

Annual Salary – $200.9K

8)Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists take care of the treatment of ill, injured and disabled patients. They specialize in using therapeutic methods that help individuals who have a particular condition. Besides treatment, they can also consult patients to help them live a healthy life.

You need to have a master’s degree or doctorate in occupational therapy and pass an exam registered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) to become an occupational therapist.

The employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow by 16% from 2019 to 2029.

Annual Salary – $84,270


More Career Paths

Besides our initial list of Top Career Paths for Exercise Scientists, there are more jobs, some need a bachelor, and some don’t. Disclaimer; depending on the occasion, some programs may need different levels of education compared to this list.

Exercise Science Career Paths – No Degrees Needed:

Personal training, fitness coach, gym manager, massage therapist, physical therapy assistant, aerobics instructor, group fitness instructor.

Exercise Science Career Paths – Bachelor’s Degree:

Athletic director, athletic scout, community program director, kinesiologist, recreation and sports director, activity specialist, sports facility manager, anatomist, strength and conditioning coach, camp director, registered nurse, cardiac rehabilitation specialist, health educator, health care consultant, fitness consultant, a sports agent.

Exercise Science Career Paths – Master’s or Doctoral Degrees:

Doctor (MD), chiropractor (DC), physical therapist (DPT), registered dietician, physical rehabilitation, physician assistant.

Wrapping Up

In our guide, we’ve talked about various Exercise Science Degree Choices and Career Paths. The bottom line is if you’ve read all of this guide; it’s a strong indication that you want to lead a career in exercise science. As we’ve shown, there are so many different career options and requirements for aspiring individuals such as yourself: no matter what you choose to do, press on your wants and needs. If you don’t take this step even though you want it, you’ll regret not choosing it. Also, as you’ve realized, most exercise science career options are expected to grow more than the average; this is a great sign that you’ll be happy choosing a career in this sector.

Thank you for reading this far; let us know which career you want to pursue? Maybe there can be more we can help you with.

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Best Exercise Science Degree Choices and Career Paths

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