Program Objectives

The ISSA's Exercise Science degree program grounds you in the fundamentals of personal training by exposing you to both the theories and practices of this dynamic field. The program features courses on trainer-relevant topics, including anatomy and physiology, assessment, program design, special populations, entrepreneurship, management, interpersonal relations, and communication.

In today's rapidly changing economy, your degree in Exercise Science will give you the necessary tools to not only compete in the fitness industry, but to truly enjoy your profession. Graduates with an Associate's Degree in Exercise Science work as Master Trainers in health clubs and fitness centers, run their own training businesses, or pursue Bachelor's or other Advanced Degrees in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Health and Wellness, Physical Education, Athletic Training, Nutritional Science, or Sports Management.

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Design and implement an exercise program for an individual's specific situations and goals (e.g., obesity, hypertension, muscle gain, sedentary, etc.), based on currently accepted protocols

  • Define and describe the fundamentals of injury prevention.

  • Determine and deploy an appropriate response to emergency situations.

  • Demonstrate ability to address/manage pre-existing conditions.

  • Apply currently accepted industry standards for exercise safety.

  • Describe primary functions of muscles and joints during specific exercises in order to create appropriate programming and instruct proper exercise application.

  • Describe primary concepts of human physiology at rest and during exercise (e.g., body systems, pathology, etc.).

  • Describe basic principles of nutrition and how they relate to health and exercise programs.

  • Determine and deploy the appropriate test and test protocol and interpret the results.

  • Determine an individual's level of participation in an exercise program based on physician recommendation and/or the presence of risk factors (hypertension, high cholesterol, family history, etc.).

  • Determine and establish appropriate health and fitness goals.

  • Define and describe program modifications for special populations (e.g., older adults, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, obesity, basic orthopedics, youth, and pregnancy, etc.).

  • Utilize appropriate communication skills to motivate and coach individuals in their exercise programs (verbal / non-verbal, open ended vs. close ended questioning, cueing, etc.).

  • Differentiate actions within the Trainer Scope of Practice.

  • Identify legal issues and their ramifications as they apply to the personal fitness training profession.

  • Obtain a fitness-related position in the areas of athletics, academics, healthcare, or with private organizations.

  • Advance into more senior positions and assume management roles.

  • Enter sales and marketing positions and use their training techniques to sell training sessions, supplements and or equipment.

  • Interact effectively with other people in a professional and compassionate manner.

  • Train people of all ages.

  • Work for themselves or begin their own personal training business.

What You'll Become

The purpose of an Associate's Degree in Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Personal Training is to prepare students for entry-level positions as personal trainers with the ability to pursue a Bachelor's or Advanced Degree in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Health and Wellness, Physical Education, Athletic Training, Nutritional Science, or Sports Management.

Our program is designed specifically for students who seek to acquire a comprehensive framework in personal training concepts and skills in order to contribute and create solutions for the widest variety of clients. Many students also find these skills essential to improving their own health.

Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students will acquire the knowledge and skills to apply exercise science, business, management, communication, and psychology to meet the needs of their clients as well as support their own professional and entrepreneurial efforts.

Skills and Knowledge You'll Acquire

  • Analytical, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills applicable to real-world situations

  • The foundation of exercise science knowledge and technical skills to support and facilitate lifelong professional development

  • The ability to use critical thinking, creativity, logic, and analysis to meet client needs

  • The competence to implement and apply current exercise and nutrition strategies to allow clients to effectively meet their goals

  • The aptitude to apply sound scientific and communication principles to the functions of assessment, program design, motivation, and coaching

  • An academic foundation to pursue a Bachelor's or other Advanced Degree