If you have a passion for healthy living and physical activity, why not promote public wellness and physical education by training to be a coach, teacher, personal trainer, health facility manager, or recreation director.  Or you can prepare for graduate study in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Small class sizes mean lots of hands-on, active learning with professors who take a personal interest in their students’ well being and success.  

A major in Health and Fitness prepares the student to become a certified personal trainer or a strength and conditioning specialist and find a career in the hospital, corporate or private fitness industry. 

Job Outlook
Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.

The median annual wage of fitness trainers and instructors was $31,090 in May 2010.

Educational Qualifications
Wellness and fitness programs include a combination of theory-based courses, laboratory experiences and internships in the fitness industry intended to provide students with practical, career-focused skills. Common courses include human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, fundamentals of kinesiology, fitness promotion among special populations, managing stress, and exercise physiology. Certification requirements in the fitness industry vary widely, with many certifying organizations offering a variety of credentials. For those interested in further education, master's degree programs are common in wellness and fitness, exercise science and kinesiology. 

Curriculum Guide. To view general education requirements for this major, please visit the catalog.


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Department of Kinesiology


A degree from the Kinesiology department prepares you for work in a hospital, school, fitness center, or gymnasium.  It also serves as preparation for graduate education in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Additional certifications offered in connection with degrees in the Kinesiology department increase employment opportunities.


  • Physical Therapist
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Trainer
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Recreational Director
  • Athletic Administrator
  • Fitness Specialist

Expected employment growth of physical therapists 2010 to 2020

Faculty Profiles

Vesa Naukkarinen, MS

Associate Professor

Chad Hutchinson, MS

Assistant Professor

Paulino Santos-Andino, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor and Department Chair