Advance Your Personal Training, Exercise, & Fitness Skills

Associate Degree in Applied Exercise and Fitness

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By submitting this form, I agree that Bryan University may contact me regarding educational services via email, telephone, text message, or automated technology at the email address and phone numbers provided. I understand this consent is not required to enroll. For more information, please call: 1-800-878-5515.

Career Outlook and Growth

Looking for a career where you can stay fit and change lives? A professional fitness and personal training career provides both. It all starts with the right skills, knowledge and credentials, which Bryan University’s programs give you. We fast track you to success – so you can launch your career and start making a difference sooner.

Expanding Careers

Careers for health and fitness professionals, instructors, and personal trainers are projected to grow faster than average through the year 2026 at a rate of 10-14 percent with projected job openings of 54,800 in the US.1

Preparing now means you’ll be ready for the jobs of the future.

Diverse Employers

Health and fitness professionals have a range of opportunities for employment such as:

  • Gyms and fitness facilities
  • Corporate fitness centers
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Self-employment

Attractive Career Opportunities

In this growing industry, an Associate Degree in Applied Exercise and Fitness can put you on the path to a fulfilling career field, including:

  • Certified Personal Trainer
  • Gym Staff Member
  • Independent Trainer/Contractor
  • Nutrition/Supplement Store Associate
  • Fitness/Wellness Coordinator
  • Certified Group Exercise Instructor
  • Fitness Educator

Program Overview

The associate degree program at Bryan University in Applied Exercise and Fitness (AFIT) offers you a broad range of learning competencies. You’ll receive interactive learning experiences, live coaching and feedback, and in-depth health and fitness expertise.

The AFIT program was designed based on current competencies outlined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) so you learn the skills employers demand.

Gain the Skills Employers and Entrepreneurs Need

As a student at Bryan University, you’ll gain extensive knowledge in our interactive classrooms from faculty who have real-world industry experience. Your AFIT courses will provide all of the skills and competencies contained in the Personal Trainer Undergraduate Certificate program, including body sciences, nutrition, personal trainer cert preparation, design of fitness programs, motivational techniques, and sales fundamentals. In addition, AFIT provides:

  • Group exercise instruction
  • Weight management, diet and nutrition
  • Cardio-respiratory and flexibility programming
  • Gym operations
  • Building a fitness business and fitness finance
  • Speaking and presenting
  • Writing and communications

When you receive an accredited degree from Bryan University coupled with the credibility of a personal trainer certification, you’re immediately prepared for the job market.

Exceptional Value

Your investment in a Bryan University education will open doors to new career opportunities and provide you the following benefits:

  • Cost to take a national certification through ACSM is included in the program tuition (or another certification if you already hold an ACSM credential)
  • Cost for all books, technology, and courseware are included in the program tuition
  • Accelerated program so you can start and finish fast – saving you time and money and helping you get to work sooner
  • Job search assistance from the Career Services team
  • Graduates can return and audit courses for free to recharge their skills
  • Student support services, including mentoring, tutoring, and technical support
  • Financial aid is available for those who qualify

Online & On-Campus Options Available

At Bryan University, we believe that success in the field of health and fitness training demands a different approach to education. That’s why we’re dedicated to building a more innovative, interactive learning environment that adapts to your unique needs and provides you with individual coaching and feedback.

For students choosing the Online learning option, you’ll receive:

  • Live webcam interactions with instructors and experts right from home (webcams provided to all students)
  • Collaborative networking with peers
  • Adaptive learning using an interactive engine that helps you learn and retain more
  • Performance reports to help you track your progress and stay on top
  • Mobile-compatible video app that allows you to demonstrate proficiency and easily upload assignments
  • Timely, targeted coaching and feedback personalized to your needs

For students living in Phoenix or the surrounding area, you’ll have the option to attend our modern campus located in Tempe, Arizona. We invite you to visit our campus for a tour of the facilities, plus you’ll have the opportunity to meet and speak with instructors. Please complete the Request Information form or call 888-768-6861 to learn more.

Continue to the Bachelor’s Degree Level
Once you complete your AFIT associate degree, you may consider continuing your education at the bachelor’s degree level. Bryan University offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Fitness Training & Exercise Science, developed in partnership with industry experts. All credits earned in the PTUC and AFIT programs fully transfer into the bachelor’s degree.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, on the Internet at Also see

Meet the Program Director

“Our goal for graduates of the personal training certificate and associate degree program is to be job-ready with the ability to walk into an employer, grab a group of people, and train them and earn money.”


Career Success

Claire Cielinski



Shane Hunnicutt



Jordan Otis



Employer Success


Program Details

The Associate Degree in Applied Exercise and Fitness Program prepares students to become well-rounded and specialized in their exercise, fitness, and personal training knowledge. Graduates of the program build on their fundamental personal training knowledge by learning about the business elements of being a personal trainer and gaining specialized knowledge in group training theory, small group training, and weight management.

Program offered 100% online and at our Tempe, Arizona campus.

Program credits:
To complete the program, students must earn a minimum of 60 semester credits, 30 of which include the Personal Trainer Undergraduate Certificate (PTUC) program.

Transfer credits:
If you apply to Bryan University with prior college credits and/or a degree, we’ll accept as many credits as possible to validate the hard work you’ve already completed. If you complete a Bryan U associate degree or undergraduate certificate, these credits are transferable to a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s degree.

UNV-101S—Student Success and Technology Foundations—3.0 credits
A course covering the information and skills needed to succeed in academic studies, including study skills, setting academic goals, managing time, and technology skills such as word processing and presentations.

PTD-100—Personal Training and Sales Fundamentals—3.0 credits
This course provides an introduction to the field of personal training along with the fundamental skills necessary to be an effective salesperson in the field. The history of personal training, professional organizations, certifications, and career tracks in the field are discussed. Students learn about communication skills, interviewing, steps of the sale, and fundamentals of professional conduct and ethics. Additionally, students learn the primal movement patterns and gain practical experience performing many common exercises and movement patterns that will be utilized with their clients.

PTD-101—Body Sciences I—3.0 credits
This course will provide an in-depth look at basics principles of kinesiology, including planes of motion, joints of movement, and joint actions.

PTD-102—Body Sciences II—3.0 credits
This course will provide an in-depth look at how the human body systems interact and function in relation to exercise and movement. Students will learn the various parts and functions of the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems.

PTD-103—Client Intake and Assessment—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of conducting health screenings and risk stratifications, as well as tests such as body fat, cardiovascular condition, and various performance tests.

PTD-104— Programming Basics I—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of designing resistance training, cardiorespiratory training, and flexibility programs. The course focuses on training session components and appropriate exercise selection, progression, and program design variables for resistance and cardiorespiratory training.

PTD-105—Programming Basics II—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of advanced training programs. The course focuses on appropriate exercise selection, progression, and program design variables for advanced programs and special populations.

PTD-106— Nutrition Fundamentals—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of nutrition and how food is used by the human body. Students will be able to identify healthy food sources for the various nutrients and decipher reliable and unreliable nutritional information.

PTD-107—Behavior Management—3.0 credits
This course is an introduction to the motivation behind behavior change as it relates to physical activity behaviors. Topics include goal setting, motivating clients, developing an action plan, and communication strategies needed to inspire and sustain long-term healthy habits.

PTD-110—Exam and Career Preparation—3.0 credits
This course prepares students to take the ACSM certification exam, paying particular attention to test-taking skills and improvement of weak areas of knowledge, skill, and ability. Students also prepare for their career through resume building activities and interview roleplays.

EXE-200—Fitness Management—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of operating a small fitness business. Course topics include strategy and mission development, financial fitness, laws and regulations, operations, and building the future of the business.

EXE-205—Group Training Theory—3.0 credits
This course provides students with the basic theory and skills needed to be an effective group training professional. Students learn how to set up programs and instruct sessions for group training in a variety of settings and with a variety of group training modalities.

EXE-210—Applied Group Training—3.0 credits
This practical, applied class provides students the opportunity to demonstrate what they learned in Group Training Theory. Students will apply best practices as a group exercise instructor, including class design, communication skills, coaching and cueing, and progression and regression.

EXE-215—Weight Management—3.0 credits
This course focuses on making dietary recommendations to address common health concerns and achieve effective and permanent changes in weight. Students practice calorie balancing and learn about weight loss planning, answering common client question, the roles of exercise and sleep on weight maintenance, and weight plateaus.

EXE-220—Cardiorespiratory and Flexibility Programming—3.0 credits
This course covers the foundations of cardiovascular programming and flexibility programming. Cardiovascular programming centers on creating and progressing programs for individuals looking to improve health, athletic performance, and body composition. Flexibility topics are focused on observing limitations or deficiencies and designing flexibility and stretching programs for various populations.

CRT-110S—Critical Thinking—3.0 credits
This course provides foundational topics related to logic and critical thinking including, informal logic, formal logic, and fallacies.

COM-210S—Speaking and Presenting—3.0 credits
This course covers the fundamentals of public speaking in today’s society. Topics include how to write a quality speech and how to clearly and confidently speak in public forums, including social media and blogs.

ENG-110S—English Composition I—3.0 credits
This course covers written communication skills with an emphasis on understanding the writing process, analyzing readings, and practicing writing for personal and professional applications.

ENG-112S—English Composition II—3.0 credits
A course building on lessons learned in English Composition I. In addition to reviewing the writing process, topics include research techniques, citation techniques, documentation formats, and critical analysis of written topics.

MAT-110S—Algebra I—3.0 credits
This course begins with a review of real numbers and algebraic expressions before covering algebra topics including linear equations and inequalities, lines and functions, systems, exponents, polynomials, and factoring.

Note that courses are subject to change based upon employer needs and marketplace requirements. The most up-to-date course descriptions and textbook information can be found in the Bryan University Course Catalog.

Nick Keeling

Program Director, Bryan University

School(s) attended:
Fresno State University, Cal U Pennsylvania, Reedley College

Degree(s) earned: 
AA Physical Education, BS Exercise Science, MS Exercise Science/ Health Promotion

AFNA Kettlebell  level 1, level 2
ISCA Kickboxing

Contributions to the fitness field:
Book: Survival Handbook for the personal trainer and fitness enthusiast
Co-Owner Easy Fitness Marina DelRey
Co-Owner American Fitness and Nutrition Academy Pasadena

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Small Group training
Nutrition Counseling

Personal interests outside of fitness:
Backpacking, Mountain biking, hunting , fishing

Anything else you would want students to know about you, your teaching style, philosophy, or favorite quote:
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”

Jesse Adarme

Instructor, Bryan University

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Tactical Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA)

Contributions to the fitness field: 
I have been working with and training general population and athletes since 2005. In 2010, I re-branded myself as a strength coach and business owner and decided to focus specifically on tennis athletes. Now, majority of my clients are tennis players from four different tennis academies.

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry: Sports performance specialist.

Personal interests outside of fitness: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, traveling, and watching movies.

Favorite quote: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

Chris Bigelow

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned:
BS Kinesiology from Arizona State University
MS Kinesiology (May 2017) A.T. Still University


Contributions to the fitness field:
Private, semi-private personal training and fitness consultation – Innova Vita Fitness L.L.C.
Physical Education K-4: Kingdom Preparatory Academy

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Exercise Psychology, exercise physiology, and motor learning

Personal interests outside of fitness:
Teaching, learning, music, and art

James Ellis

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned: 
B.S. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

USAW-L2/National Club Coach
Certified Personal Trainer (NASM)
Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM)
Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM)
Precision Nutrition L1
CrossFit L1/Kettlebell
Functional Movement Screen

Contributions to the fitness field: 6x Nationally competitive weightlifter, Coach of every level of National competition (Junior, Senior, Collegiate, and Masters) for weightlifting

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry: Olympic-style Weightlifting, CrossFit, Athletic Development

Personal interests outside of fitness: Camping, Hiking, Climbing, Cooking, Minimalism

Favorite quote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

Chestiny Fair

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned:
Master of Kinesiology,  A.T. Still University (expected completion 2018)
Bachelor’s of Science, Health, and Wellness, Arizona State University
Associates of Applied Science, Dietetics,  Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Weightlifting Sports performance (USAW)
Personal Training (ACSM)

Contributions to the fitness field:
I have educated over 150 volunteers that have worked for the food bank on the importance of food safety. I have educated low-income families in apache junction in the elementary schools about healthy eating and daily physical activities.

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Coaching Cardio, Strength, and Flexibility  Training; Weight Management Injury Prevention; Corporate Wellness, Nutrition and Olympic lifting,

Personal interests outside of fitness:
Spending time with my daughter and friends, Running, Reading, Weightlifting, Playing Sports, Coaching, Painting and Teaching

Favorite quotes:
“Sometimes, words get in the way of action and thinking gets in the way of doing”-unknown
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”-Fred DeVito

Brian Floyd

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned:
M.S. Human Movement- Sports Conditioning from A.T. Still University
B.S. Health Science from Northern Arizona University

NASM- Master Trainer
Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM)
Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM)
Group Personal Training (NASM)
Functional Movement Screen Certification
TRX Suspension Trainer
USSA-Certified Coach Level 1

Contributions to the fitness field:
Owner of Floyd Factor
Over 10 years in the fitness field

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Sports Performance, Corrective exercise, Group training, Weight loss

Personal interests outside of fitness:
Spending time with my wife and daughter

Justin Harper

Instructor, Bryan University

Degrees earned:
Grand Canyon University: Doctorate in Behavioral Health Education ABD (All but dissertation)
University of South Dakota: Masters in Health and Recreation w/emphasis in Exercise Science
University of South Dakota: Bachelors in Health, Recreation, and Physical Education
Certified Personal Trainer (NASM) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM)
Contributions to the fitness field:
Serve on a per diem basis as a content expert helping to write test questions for the National Academy of Sports Medicine
Adjunct Instructor at Grand Canyon University teaching in their Exercise Science department
Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
I enjoy online/virtual personal training and currently own an online personal training business called Harp’s Home Fitness where I assist clients from all over the country reach their health and fitness goals by providing them with expert knowledge and individualized workout routines that they have access to through our mobile app in the palm of their hand.
Personal interests outside of fitness:
I enjoy playing basketball, listening to music, and am a huge football fan.  Go 49ers!!

Daniel Hartmann

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned: 
BS Exercise Science from Western Michigan University

Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (NSCA)
XPS- EXOS Performance Specialist
Funcitonal Movement Screen Level I
United States of America Sports Performance Coach (USAW)

Contributions to the fitness field: Over 9-years of experience in the fitness industry working in commercial and corporate fitness/wellness in management roles, personal training, and group training.

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry: performance training, weight loss, corrective exercise, general health and fitness

Personal interests outside of fitness: traveling, skiing, hiking, trail running, playing guitar and piano.

Favorite quote: “When one teaches, two learn.”

Christopher A. Perry

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned:
B.S. from Pennsylvania State University – Kinesiology
M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University – Exercise Science
Ph.D, RD from Arizona State University – Exercise & Nutrition Sciences – 2019

Certification(s): NSCA – Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Areas of experience/interest within the fitness industry:
10 years of personal training experience.

Coaching experience in D1/D1AA Collegiate Athletes, College Recreation, Private & Commercial Strength & Conditioning, and Commercial Fitness Management.
Regularly participates in Bodybuilding/Strength Training.
Committed to helping others understand the true value of creating better physical activity & nutrition habits.

Personal interests: Baltimore native – born & raised on the East Coast! Passionate for Sports, Kayaking, Super Heroes, Chicken Wings, great times with Friends & Family, but above all, passionate for Fitness & Nutrition!

Ultimate goal: Inspire others to make the best permanent lifestyle changes

Sean Preuss

Instructor, Bryan University

School(s) attended:
Long Island University, Southampton College (2001-2005)
Arizona School of Massage Therapy (2007-2008)
Arizona State University (2011-2013)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2015-Present)

Degree(s) earned:
Bachelor of Arts, English (2005)
Masters of Science, Exercise and Wellness (2013)
Doctorate of Education in Kinesiology (expected in 2020)

ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
American Heart Association Basic Life Support Provider

Contributions to the fitness field:
Book: The Heart Healthy Lifestyle: The Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes (2003)
9+ years of personal training
Over 300 research-based articles written and published as a freelance ghost writer and blogger
College/university teacher since 2013

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Disease prevention and control through exercise, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes for longevity
Fat loss
Powerlifting and traditional strength training

Personal interests outside of fitness:
I love to travel (fly or take road trips). I’ve visited 43 states, many Caribbean islands, Australia, and Fiji, among other places. I’m also a big sports fan. I don’t catch many games, but I follow the NBA and NFL.

Anything else you would want students to know about you, your teaching style, philosophy, or favorite quote:
People learn through first-hand experience. My goal as a teacher is to create student-centered, first-hand opportunities for students to learn fitness in a way that will prepare them for what they will actually do in the field.

Kate Timp

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned: 
BS Finance, Arizona State University
MS Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University

Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM)

Contributions to the fitness field: 
I qualified for and ran the 2011 Boston Marathon after 4 failed attempts at qualifying. Personal and Group training business owner.

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry: 
Nutrition, kettlebell training, yoga

Personal interests outside of fitness: 
Watch my sons play baseball

What I want my students to know about me:
I love teaching and am 100% vested in your success!

Jonathan Young

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned:
Master of Science in Exercise and Sports Studies—emphasis in Biophysical Studies from Boise State University
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Sport Science/Health and Wellness—emphasis in outdoor recreation and fitness Brigham Young University—Hawaii

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (NSCA)
Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM)
USAW-1 Certified Weightlifting Coach
Brainbench Certified Nutritional Analysis
AHA Basic Life Support Instructor

Contributions to the fitness field:
Inventor of the RigRack
He’s medaled in gymnastics, baseball, badminton, tennis, volleyball, indoor/outdoor track & field, marathons, 5 & 10K runs, swimming, water polo,  judo, and natural bodybuilding.
7 years College Professor: Exercise Science, Health Sciences, Recreation
Over +5500 hours of personal training the general public
+16 years personal training career experience (2001—current)
Commercial/commission sales personal training
Personal training in the non-profit sector
Personal training on college and university campuses
Over 600 hours group exercise instructor—indoor and outdoor formats
4 years Health and Fitness Director of YMCA, coaching, certifying trainers, and fitness testing

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry:
Coach at Diamondback Gymnastics, Technical Assistant Cheerleading Coach (stunting, pyramid building and tumbling) at BYU-Idaho, University of Guelph, Canada, and BYU-Hawaii.
Two years competitive Cheer experience at NCAA Division I and II with University of Hawaii, and BYU-Idaho.

Personal interests outside of fitness:
Professional Outdoor Expedition Guide

Chrissy Zmijewski

Instructor, Bryan University

Degree(s) earned: 
B.A. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis
Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis

Certified Personal Trainer (NASM),
Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM),
Specialist in Fitness Nutrition (ISSA),
Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Instructor,
Z Health Certified

Contributions to the fitness field: WNBF Professional Natural Bodybuilder and Figure Competitor (4 national titles and one world title); author of “The RAD Triad: Transform Your Mind and Body,” contributor for PT on the Net, Experience Life Magazine, Fitness & Physique Magazine; led workshops for personal trainers at Canyon Ranch Resort, Wellbridge Spa, 24 Hour Fitness, California Family Fitness, and the Nor-Cal Fitness Summit.

Areas of interest/specialties within the fitness industry: Neuroscience applications in pain and performance; bodybuilding and physique competitions; mind/body connection.

Personal interests outside of fitness:  I love being outside and enjoying nature, hiking, swimming, or just relaxing.  I also love spending time with my puppy, as she is a never-ending source of antics and laughs.  Finally, I love learning.  I am a sponge and love learning new things.

Favorite quote:  “The only limitations that exist are the ones that exist in your mind.”

Tuition Lock Guarantee
Bryan offers affordable tuition rates for all students, no matter where they reside. We don’t differentiate between residents or non-residents. We also lock-in your tuition rate when you enroll, so you can rest assured that your tuition will never increase over the length of your program.

Tuition Goes Down the Longer You’re in School
We understand the importance of helping you stay in school and graduate successfully. To help motivate you, we provide tuition discounts the longer you’re in school.

Financing Options Available
As an accredited institution, students of Bryan University who are residents of the United States may qualify for federal financial aid. Our team of dedicated financial advisors can also help you understand what other options are available to you. To learn more, please visit our financial aid page.

For students who are veterans or active duty members of the U.S. military, you may also use your military educational benefits, if qualified. Please see our military benefits page for more details.

You may also complete the Request Information form or call us at 888-768-6861 to receive immediate assistance.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please click here.

Why We're Different: Students Come First

Tuition Lock Guarantee

We lock your tuition rate once you enroll, plus tuition goes down the longer you're in school.

Job Search Assistance

We provide students job search assistance while in school and once they graduate.

Accelerated Programs

You can get started - and finish - fast.

Welcome Kits Included

Once you enroll, we provide you a welcome kit package to ensure you're ready to start school.

Faculty Who Put You First

Our faculty provide you with personalized, individual attention and support.

Books and Courseware Included

We take care of shipping your textbooks and provide you easy access to electronic courseware.

Focus on Employment

You’ll graduate with a degree targeted for a specific job market and earn skills that match employers’ needs.

Learn by Doing

You’ll develop real-world skills by completing simulated job tasks and using industry technologies.

Return for Refresher Classes

As a graduate, you’ll have the privilege of auditing previously completed courses still being taught—at no charge—to keep your skills sharp.

Request Information

By submitting this form, I agree that Bryan University may contact me regarding educational services via email, telephone, text message, or automated technology at the email address and phone numbers provided. I understand this consent is not required to enroll. For more information, please call: 1-800-878-5515.