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Associate Degree in Applied Exercise and Fitness

Advance Your Personal Training, Exercise, & Fitness Skills

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Associate Degree in Exercise and Fitness

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.

Careers for health and fitness professionals, exercise instructors, nutrition coaches, and personal trainers are projected to grow much faster than average through the year 2032 at a rate of 9% or higher with projected job openings of 69,000 in the US.1

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fitness Trainers and Instructors, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm (visited February 8, 2024). Also online at https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/39-9031.00. Note that job market conditions are dynamic and can change. This data is not intended to predict the market conditions that will be present when you graduate from your program and may differ based on your geographic location and other factors.

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 opportunities2 including:

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

2 Example occupations shown herein do not imply a guarantee of employment. Students are responsible for conducting occupational research for their chosen program. Employers have unique hiring practices and job-specific requirements, which may include years of experience for manager positions. Graduates with little to no prior experience should expect an entry-level position.

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
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Career & Job Search Services for Students & Grads

You’ll receive a dedicated career services advisor that provides job search assistance, job networking best practices, interview preparation, and helps you create an eye-catching resume.

Employers Who Have Hired BU Grads

Program Highlights

60
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Total Credits
100%
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Online
2
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Courses at a Time
8
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Weeks per Course

Get the Skills Employers Want

Bryan U programs are aligned with employers’ needs to ensure you get the most current and relevant skills, including:

Certificate

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Nutrition
  • Sales fundamentals & client retention
  • Behavior change
  • Motivation & goal setting
  • Sustainability of health habits
  • Client intake & fitness screenings
  • Design of personal fitness programs
  • Preparation for NASM CPT cert – one exam attempt included in tuition

Associate Degree

  • Group exercise instruction
  • Weight management, diet and nutrition
  • Body sciences
  • Cardio-respiratory and flexibility programming
  • Gym operations
  • Building a fitness business
  • Speaking and presenting
  • Writing and communications
  • Preparation for NASM & ACSM group exercise cert – one exam attempt included in tuition
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Fitness Kit Included for Hands-On Practice at Home

As a Bryan University fitness and personal training student, you’ll get the opportunity to demonstrate your skills using Bryan U’s Fitness Kit, which we ship to your home at no extra cost (it’s included in tuition). The kit contains the following:

  • NOSSK Lite Trainer
  • ProSource Fit Stackable Resistance Band Set
  • HRM Body Measuring Tape
  • Sequoia Fitness TrimCal 4000 Skinfold Body Fat Caliper

Gain Valuable Experience

Bryan University’s Applied Exercise and  Fitness Associate Degree is aligned with competencies by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and developed  in collaboration with industry experts. You’ll gain valuable practice experience online combined with assignments that simulate job tasks to ensure you’re job-ready upon graduation.

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Get targeted practice using NASM’s test prep study modules to prepare for certification exams such as Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise. Track your progress and get feedback for improvement.

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Practice & demonstrate your skills to your instructors from home using a mobile-compatible video platform integrated into your learning assignments. Role-play trainer-client conversations & fitness consultations.

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Upgrade Your Skills & Career Options: Stackable Programs with Dual Enrollment

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 Exercise Science, Fitness, and Nutrition Management developed in partnership with industry experts. All credits earned in the PTUC and AFIT programs fully transfer into the bachelor’s degree.

Hear from Our Successful Graduates

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"The experience at Bryan University exceeded my expectations and improved my life." 
–Claire Cielinski, BU Graduate
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"The knowledge that I've learned has completely translated into my career.” 
–De Bolton, BU Graduate

Meet Your Program Faculty

Dr. Justin Harper
Dr. Justin Harper, EdD, CPT, PES
Program Director, Bryan University

Master of Arts, Health, Phys Educatn & Recrea, The University of South Dakota; Bachelor of Sci in Recreation, The University of South Dakota; Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership, Grand Canyon University.

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Dr. Justin Harper
Dr. Justin Harper, EdD, CPT, PES Program Director, Bryan University

Master of Arts, Health, Phys Educatn & Recrea, The University of South Dakota; Bachelor of Sci in Recreation, The University of South Dakota; Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership, Grand Canyon University.

Chris Bigelow
Chris Bigelow
Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Science in Kinesiology, A.T. Still University; Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology, Arizona State University. Associate in Arts, Mesa Community College; General Education Certificate, Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A), Mesa Community College.

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Chris Bigelow
Chris Bigelow Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Science in Kinesiology, A.T. Still University; Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology, Arizona State University. Associate in Arts, Mesa Community College; General Education Certificate, Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A), Mesa Community College.

Chestiny Fair
Chestiny Fair
Faculty, Bryan University

Bachelor of Science, Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University; Master of Science in Kinesiology, A.T. Still University. Associate in Applied Science, Dietetic Technology, Chandler-Gilbert Comm College.

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Chestiny Fair
Chestiny Fair Faculty, Bryan University

Bachelor of Science, Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University; Master of Science in Kinesiology, A.T. Still University. Associate in Applied Science, Dietetic Technology, Chandler-Gilbert Comm College.

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Meet Your General Education Faculty

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Valerie Akbulut Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Arts, Communication, Interpersonal Comm Track, University of Central Florida; Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, Specialization – Integrated Communication: Public Relations & Adve, Communication Studies minor, Butler University.

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Valerie Akbulut Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Arts, Communication, Interpersonal Comm Track, University of Central Florida; Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, Specialization – Integrated Communication: Public Relations & Adve, Communication Studies minor, Butler University.

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Kelly Baker Faculty, Bryan University

Doctor of Public Administration, West Chester University of Pennsylvania; Master of Arts, Communication Studies, West Chester University of Pennsylvania; Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Immaculata University.

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Kelly Baker Faculty, Bryan University

Doctor of Public Administration, West Chester University of Pennsylvania; Master of Arts, Communication Studies, West Chester University of Pennsylvania; Bachelor of Arts, Communication, Immaculata University.

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Emily Chaffin Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Arts, English, Arkansas State University; Bachelor of Arts, English, Faulkner University.

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Emily Chaffin Faculty, Bryan University

Master of Arts, English, Arkansas State University; Bachelor of Arts, English, Faulkner University.

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Program Learning Outcomes

Following the completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and bio-mechanics to training strategies.
  • Effectively communicate the impact of nutrition on the human body for a variety of clientele.
  • Perform fitness assessments on clients.
  • Create and enhance individualized exercise programs based on a thorough needs analysis with a variety of clientele.
  • Teach and perform foundational, advanced, sport-specific movement patterns and exercises.
  • Develop enhanced communication skills and techniques to obtain and retain clients.
  • Create, utilize, and deliver more advanced strategies for client behavior change using various psychological models for health promotion.
  • Influence client behavior through an empathetic, confident, and enthusiastic attitude.
  • Demonstrate core values and ethics critical to the field of personal training.
  • Recognize the value of lifelong professional development in the field of personal training.
  • Choose weight management strategies that are appropriate for client goals and lifestyles.
  • Explain the elements of operating a small fitness business.
  • Create realistic financial projections, including sessions rendered, re-sign business, and new business.
  • Design and instruct small group training sessions
  • Demonstrate effective communication of health and wellness related topics.
  • Perform basic exercises and show the ability to progress and regress those basic movements.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how to work with clients from diverse backgrounds and ability levels.
  • Demonstrate basic accounting calculations according to the needs of personal trainers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate assessment data to formulate client programs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use accepted personal training standards to solve client issues and help them reach goals.
  • Demonstrate the ability to determine appropriate sources of information for health and wellness information.
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Explore Exercise and Fitness Courses

  • EXE-215, 3.0 credits
    Weight Management

    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 questions, the roles of exercise and sleep on weight maintenance, and weight plateaus.

  • CRT-110S, 3.0 credits
    Critical Thinking I

    This course provides foundational topics related to logic and critical thinking including, informal logic, formal logic, and fallacies.

  • EXE-220, 3.0 credits
    Cardiorespiratory and Flexibility Programming

    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.

  • EXE-205, 3.0 credits
    Group Training Theory

    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-200, 3.0 credits
    Fitness Management

    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-210, 3.0 credits
    Applied Group Training

    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.

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A legacy of graduate success since 1940.

Accreditation & Approvals

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Benefits for You

Included in Tuition

As a Bryan University student, you’ll receive these benefits and services included in tuition at no extra cost.

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    Industry Certifications & Credentials

    Prepare for third-party certifications – one certification exam attempt paid for by the university.

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    Electronic Books & Courseware

    We give you easy access to your e-textbooks and software.

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    Tutoring & Academic Support

    Our tutors and academic staff provide personalized support whenever you need it.

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    School Starter Kit

    You’ll receive a starter package to ensure you’re ready to succeed in your program.

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    Accelerated Programs & No Waiting Lists

    Finish in the shortest time possible and never get wait-listed for course registration.

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    Refresher Classes

    As a graduate, audit previously completed courses free to keep your skills sharp.

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    Personal Success Coach

    You'll receive dedicated support to help you succeed in and out of the classroom.

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    Career Services

    Get expert help to ensure you're job-ready and connect with employers.

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    Mentoring from Expert Faculty

    Learn from faculty with real-world experience in their field.

Recommended by Students & Grads

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Why Learn Online

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Flexible & Convenient

We recognize that life can be busy and complex, so we’ve designed the learning experience around you. You have the option to complete your homework assignments online each week at days and times convenient to you. You have the flexibility to resubmit homework to improve your grades and gain greater mastery of the course content.

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Learn Faster & Retain More

We provide you with user-friendly learning technology such as adaptive digital textbooks and simulated job tasks to help you learn faster, easier, and retain more knowledge. All your efforts are recorded so you can track your progress and plan your time more effectively.

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Live Classes & Academic Support

Studying online with Bryan lets you learn from the comfort of home while connecting you in live events with peers, teachers, industry professionals, and mentors. If you happen to miss the event, we record them so can you watch them later and not miss a beat. Whenever you need help with an assignment, you can schedule a tutor at any time online with the click of a button.

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Connect with Peers, Faculty & Industry Experts

At Bryan, we don’t think learning online means learning alone. Connect with faculty, peers, and student support conveniently from your smartphone, tablet, or computer using Zoom, a user-friendly video app. You’ll join a vibrant community that includes industry experts who will provide support, expand your professional network, and celebrate your success along the way.

How You Learn Online

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Live Classes on Zoom

Most programs provide live classes that are also recorded in case you miss them and need to watch them later - click here for a list of live classes by program.

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Re-submit Homework for Mastery

Didn't get the grade you wanted? At Bryan U, you can resubmit your homework to improve your grades.

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User-Friendly Learning Technology

You'll learn using a program that adapts to your knowledge level while helping you learn faster and retain more.

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Share Your Interests

Engage with others in class using a social platform to share your thoughts on topics you're interested in.

BU Student Experience

Affording College

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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.

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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 transferrable to a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s degree.

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Financial Aid if You Qualify

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 about those who qualify, please visit our financial aid page.

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Active-Duty Military & Veterans

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 888-721-9773 to receive immediate assistance.

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Tuition Rates Go Down the Longer You're in School

As you progress through each credential level (e.g., certificate to associate degree, or associate degree to bachelor’s degree), your tuition decreases. Plus, your tuition is locked in once you enroll so that it never goes up as long as you remain continuously enrolled in good academic standing. For a current listing of Bryan University’s tuition rates by program, please visit our tuition rates page.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to Bryan University, prospective students must complete the following requirements:

  • Earn a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Be at least 17 years of age. If a student is under the age of 18, they will be required to have a parent or legal guardian counter-sign enrollment forms.
  • Fill out the University’s Application and pay a $25 registration fee.
  • Pass a computer and internet speed assessment to ensure technology minimums are met. Please see the university’s course catalog to see detailed technology requirements.
  • Complete all required forms for admission.
  • For transfer credit evaluation, submit official transcripts from past colleges and universities attended.
  • Complete an online introductory course – “LaunchPad” – to demonstrate the ability to navigate online coursework.
  • Attend online orientation to meet your faculty and classmates.
  • For all healthcare, public health, paralegal, and pharmacy technician programs, applicants must complete and pass a required criminal background check, which is provided by the university.
  • Note that students applying to healthcare programs may need to identify a practicum site. The university provides a list of approved practicum sites and will support students in site selection.

To begin this process, we invite you to contact a member of our admissions team at 888-768-6861 or complete the Request Information form.

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