What Can You Do With an Online Degree in Exercise Science?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Exercise science is a broad field with many diverse job roles and professional opportunities. Earning a degree in this field can prepare you for a long-term career path. You can often find many online programs to complete your exercise science degree either at the undergraduate or graduate levels. In this article, we explore what an online degree in exercise science is, what degrees you can earn, why online programs are beneficial and what careers you can pursue with your degree.

What is an online degree in exercise science?

An online degree in exercise science encompasses the coursework and requirements needed to begin a career in exercise science. There are many options available for all degree levels. Consider these options you can complete online:

  • Associate degrees: You can often find a range of online options for an associate degree in exercise science. For instance, an associate degree in exercise science and wellness can serve as a foundation for a bachelor's or master's degree later.

  • Bachelor degrees: Many online exercise science programs may also offer various options to earn your bachelor's degree. For example, a Bachelor of Exercise Science (BEXSc) degree and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in kinesiology are two options you can likely pursue online.

  • Graduate degrees: Graduate programs for master and doctorate degrees are also available through many online institutions. If you're considering an advanced degree, you can pursue specialties like human performance, sports management education or sports medicine.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Get With an Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree

What are the benefits of a degree in exercise science online?

Consider some of the benefits of pursuing a degree in exercise science online:

Flexible schedules

Completing an online degree in exercise science can provide a flexible way to attend classes. Many online programs give students various options in class schedules such as morning, afternoon or evening instruction. With the availability that online programs offer, you're likely to find the program that best supports your educational needs and career goals.

Range of options

An online degree can also give you more program options to choose from no matter the degree level you're pursuing. For instance, you may be able to find more exercise science programs available online than in-person. This means you can even attend an out-of-state school or degree program no matter your location.

Career preparation and development

Earning your exercise science degree online can also help you prepare for your career specialty. Online programs support the development of applicable skills so you're ready to enter the field. Many online bachelor's degree programs in exercise science also provide students with additional credentialing opportunities. For example, many bachelor's programs help students obtain professional certifications such as certified personal trainer (CPT) and certified speed coach (CSC) credentials, which can further expand professional opportunities.

Please note that none of the companies or certifications mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Related: Ways To Get Your Personal Trainer Certification

What does an online program in exercise science include?

Your exact coursework depends on the online program you attend and whether you're pursuing an associate, bachelor's or master's degree. Generally, though, most exercise science coursework can cover the following topics with each degree building on these topics across undergraduate and graduate levels:

  • General subjects: Typically, undergraduate degree programs cover foundational coursework like English composition, mathematics, life science and other general subjects. For example, if you're attending an online exercise science program for an associate degree, you're likely to begin your studies with general education subjects.

  • Sport and exercise physiology: As you focus on the specialized concepts of exercise science, you can expect coursework to cover how physical movement affects the body and internal body systems. Advanced topics can include methods of applying exercise according to the immediate and long-term effects on the body.

  • Sport and exercise psychology: Sport and exercise psychology encompasses the theories and research related to physical performance, sports participation and team dynamics in social contexts. You may also build on these concepts to understand how they apply in professional, social and rehabilitation settings.

  • Kinesiology and biomechanics: Exercise science also covers topics in kinesiology and biomechanics where you learn about the musculoskeletal system and its functions within the body. Many programs also integrate physics and mechanics, applying these sciences to better understand the effects of movement and exercise on the body.

  • Diet and nutrition: Your online degree program may also cover diet and nutrition concepts, including the application of nutrition and diet for improving athletic performance. Courses can advance in these topics and also lead to additional career paths in nutrition and wellness.

  • Exercise program planning: Program planning for exercise, fitness and overall wellness is essential in exercise science, as many professionals design programs for their clients. Exercise program planning can cover topics like exercise strategies, program compliance and sports medicine law.

  • Management and policy: Many online degree programs in exercise science may also include coursework focusing on facility management, policy development and exercise program coordination to better prepare students for working in fitness and health centers. These courses often focus on the business aspects of the career and help you develop your knowledge of the various standards regarding management roles in the field.

Related: 14 Best Jobs With a Kinesiology Degree

What careers can you pursue with an exercise science degree?

The following career paths include roles you can pursue with a degree in exercise science. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

1. Exercise physiologist

National average salary: $45,952 per year

Primary duties: Exercise physiologists often complete their bachelor's degree in exercise science and work in health care facilities, sports medicine centers, rehabilitation facilities or as independent contractors. They apply their knowledge of human anatomy and physiology to help clients create safe and effective health and fitness plans. An exercise physiologist may also develop and implement exercise routines, physical activities and other fitness plans that support clients' physical stamina and help encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.

Read more: Learn About Being an Exercise Physiologist

2. Wellness consultant

National average salary: $47,038 per year

Primary duties: You can also pursue a career in exercise and wellness consultancy with a degree in exercise science. Wellness consultants provide clients with guidance and support in using exercise in their daily routines. As a wellness consultant, you may educate clients about health and fitness, help clients develop wellness plans and provide advice when clients need additional assistance with health concerns like weight management and counseling.

3. Health center manager

National average salary: $63,916 per year

Primary duties: Health and fitness center managers perform a wide range of duties based on their work environment. In fitness centers, managers may design and coordinate educational programs, manage staff members and address general processes within the facility. In health centers, managers may be responsible for coordinating health services like physical therapy, massage therapy or health evaluations to help clients improve and support their overall health and well-being.

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