Top Online Fitness Schools
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) features some top fitness schools in its education recognition program. NCSA lists schools like these that provide personal training courses:
1. Bellarmine University (Louisville, Ky.)
2. California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton, Calif.)
3. Parkland College (Champaign, Ill.)
4. Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, Penn.)
5. University of Dayton (Dayton, Ohio)
The NSCA education section discusses emerging trends in the industry, for example, specialized fitness training for individuals with chronic or temporary health conditions.
Fitness students learn how to assess clients' exercise needs and lead physical activities for individuals and groups. Basic exercise types include cardiovascular, strength training and stretching, while fitness activities range from hard-core weight lifting to Zumba dance steps. Fitness schools offer degree and certificate programs for aspiring athletic trainers, fitness trainers and instructors, and personal trainers.
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Coursework for fitness trainers varies by specialty -- most Pilates instructors delve into the principles and history of this movement system, as well as safety guidelines. Yoga instructors may need extensive experience plus knowledge of related teaching methods, anatomy, physiology and philosophy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012). Fitness center employees typically require first aid training; the Wisconsin Department of Health Services expects these workers to be familiar with basic anatomy and physiology, wound care and shock, musculoskeletal and other types of injuries, and medical problems such as asthma and epilepsy. Trainers working with injured or ill persons generally need additional skills and education.
Online fitness schools supply continuing education for professionals as well as programs for beginners in the field. Online certificate courses offer various concentrations -- for example, nutrition, senior fitness and exercise therapy. Below are some of the different types of training available from on-campus and online fitness schools.
Athletic trainers learn to manage health care problems associated with participation in sports and exercise. Programs may cover both classroom and clinical training, with classes such as nutrition, sports medicine, human anatomy, physiology, first aid and biomechanics. Potential topics of study include injury prevention, evaluation and diagnosis, emergency care and rehabilitation. Athletic trainers generally hold at least a bachelor's degree, but master's degrees are also common; most states require certification, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012).
With fitness training courses, students can pursue their goal of helping others look and feel their best. Would-be trainers may learn about upper and lower body strength, injury prevention, stress management, proper eating habits, human anatomy and physiology. Classes may introduce techniques like aerobics and yoga training as well as exercise science terminology and procedures for observing and coaching clients.
Personal trainer courses can teach students to evaluate a client's needs and develop individualized fitness regimens with proper nutrition, exercise and conditioning programs. Programs potentially require certification in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators. Students may explore nutrition, first aid and general safety, sport and exercise psychology, weight control, weight lifting, and cardio fitness and conditioning.
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Choose a program of interest from the menu above to find schools and colleges with fitness training. Submit a request for more information to several schools so you can make a comparison and find the best fitness school for your needs. Check online schools for accreditation by organizations such as the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Schools should be accredited by organizations that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or both.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (Athletic trainers)
Bureau of Labor Statistics (Fitness trainers and instructors)