Health is wealth and knowledge is power. If you are an exercise enthusiast, you can pursue a wellness career by majoring in fitness for an Associate of Arts degree. Typically, AAs take two years to complete 60 to 100 college credits. The degree prepare you for a lifetime of coaching, teaching and training in your areas of expertise, plus lays a foundation for further education, if you choose to continue.


You can earn your associate degree in exercise science, fitness training, kinesiology or physical education from a community college or university. Cochise College, for example, offers Associate of Arts degrees in exercise science, health and physical education. Centralia College offers associate degrees with emphasis on exercise science. College of San Mateo and Golden West College both offer Associate in Arts degrees in Kinesiology for transfer into bachelor’s degrees. Wexford University offers online associate degrees in Fitness Training, including summer sessions.


Aside from your major health classes, an associate degree requires several general education courses, including language arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, math and natural sciences. Composition and communication courses benefit fitness field majors in developing writing and speaking skills to interact with future athletes, students or clients. Biology and anatomy are important for familiarity of the human body. You may take nutrition and depending on your school, your PE classes can include yoga, weight-lifting, cardio/aerobics dance, aquatics, and both individual and team sports.


Professionals with an AA in the fitness field have many career choices: serving individuals as personal trainers, consulting or coaching their clients on wellness, or serving groups teaching exercise classes or coordinating recreation programs. Wexford’s AA graduates become fitness coaches and managers or lifestyle consultants. GWC’s kinesiology program prepares its students for work in sport psychology, sociology and philosophy, as well as sports medicine, exercise physiology, personal training and coaching.

Continuing Education

Beyond your associate degree in fitness, you can progress to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. Since Centralia’s exercise science majors focus on cardiopulmonary conditioning and athletic injury prevention and treatment, they may work as exercise leaders and fitness program directors if they proceed to a bachelor’s. Cochise aims to send its AA graduates into PE teaching or athletic coaching degree programs. Wexford, through its affiliation with National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association, specializes in wellness with every degree program, from its AA all the way to its terminal degree, Doctor of Education in Sport Psychology.

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