Fitness programming and management

Bachelor of science University of Missouri-Columbia
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Bachelor of science

To you, fitness is anything but routine. It’s about setting new goals, challenging yourself to reach new personal milestones and committing to physical progress in some form. You also feel the effects — be it greater strength or endurance — and notice its benefits enhance your own health and motivation.

Your observations form the foundation of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s (Mizzou) online bachelor of science in fitness programming and management. Interest in exercise and nutrition goes beyond the gym to address health conditions and influence wellness. Today, fitness is a business encompassing corporate wellness, recreation, retreats and training from high school through professional levels, and Mizzou’s multidisciplinary program equips you to excel in all aspects.

The fully online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management degree takes a hands-on, holistic approach. You’ll learn about the physiological, scientific and psychological aspects of exercise science, including where it intersects with nutrition. This establishes a foundation for training and assessing individuals and groups, and the program additionally focuses on the business side of designing and implementing exercise and fitness initiatives. Whether you seek to break into a larger, fitness-oriented organization, oversee strength and conditioning for athletic teams or do it all from the ground up as an entrepreneur, the online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management exposes you to all key competencies, goes beyond the typical exercise science program and instructs you in assessing different populations.

Completion of all course work and practicum assignments satisfies requirements for pursuing national certifications, including as a Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT), Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS®) or Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitators® (TSAC-F®).

Not ready to dive into a bachelor's program? We offer an online undergraduate certificate in fitness programming and management.

Top-ranked programs in two categories

Mizzou’s online bachelor's programs ranked among the nation’s finest in two U.S. News & World Report 2022 categories:

Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Bachelor's 2022 Badge.
Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Veterans Bachelor's 2022 Badge.

Quick facts

Official name

Bachelor of science in fitness programming and management

Campus

University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Bachelor's degree

Academic home

School of Health Professions | Department of Physical Therapy

Delivery mode

100% online

Accreditation

Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours

120

Estimated cost

$53,164.20

Transfer credit hours

57

Transfer estimated cost

$26,294.70

*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Why earn a bachelor’s degree in fitness programming and management? 

Translate your passion into an energizing career. The online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management illustrates the influence of exercise and nutrition on the body, strategies for conceiving and monitoring fitness programs and where these factors coalesce to improve health and wellness at individual and community levels.

As you think about fitness as a career, this fully online program:

  • Dives into the business side of the fitness industry to enhance your problem-solving, decision-making and management skills
  • Highlights the latest exercise training techniques for improving strength, speed, flexibility, agility, aerobic endurance and overall fitness outcomes
  • Instructs you in teaching exercise through techniques in instruction, coaching, administration, testing and programming
  • Touches on improving health and performance across the human lifespan
  • Examines all the aspects of designing, implementing and analyzing performance-enhancing exercise programs
  • Offers scientific insight into how humans move and the ways nutrition and exercise affect the body
  • Provides you with the knowledge to assess performance and programming in individual and group contexts, including for high school to professional athletes, tactical personnel and other populations
  • Emphasizes hands-on training and connection-building through practicum assignments and close relationships with your classmates and faculty
Man in guy sitting at table working on a laptop

Career prospects

Fitness careers are surging: the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 39% more positions for fitness trainers and instructors between 2020 and 2030. Two factors fuel this demand: greater awareness about the relationship between exercise, wellness and health and the number of fitness centers opening in response

Holistically, the online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management supplies you with the tools to help others achieve a healthy lifestyle and reach their wellness goals. Students typically pursue roles in strength and conditioning, personal training, recreation program management or corporate wellness. Potential job titles include:

  • Fitness instructor
  • Certified personal trainer
  • Certified strength and conditioning coach
  • Recreational sports director
  • Fitness center manager
  • Corporate wellness director
  • Fitness consultant
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
7.29%
employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
$47,000
median salary

Program structure

The online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management requires 120 credit hours, including general education requirements, core courses and supplemental course work. Delivery of this program is 100% online: no campus visits are required. Courses are semester based. How long it takes you to complete your degree depends on the number of credit hours you currently have and how many courses you take per semester.

Business and science courses supplement a core focused on nutrition and fitness. Students will gain a broad perspective of accounting, marketing, management, finance and statistics and explore how movement affects the body through an understanding of biology, physiology and anatomy. 

Course work covers

In thoroughly introducing you to exercise science and the fitness industry, course work goes over:

  • Nutrition in relation to fitness, the lifecycle and health
  • Assessing exercise and fitness programs
  • Techniques for developing fitness and wellness programs
  • The benefits of physical activity and its effects along the human lifespan
  • Exercise-promoting corporate wellness, community and personal fitness programs
  • The physiological aspects of exercise
  • The relationship between physical activity, nutrition, obesity and other chronic health conditions
  • Ethics and diversity in the recreational and fitness industry
  • Managing sports and recreational organizations

Review the full structure and all required courses for the online bachelor’s in fitness programming and management.

Delivery

100% online

Calendar system

Semester-based

Typical program length

Varies

Typical course load

Varies if full time or part time

Accreditation

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

Steve Ball

Dr. Steve Ball is the Director of the Fitness Programming and Management program and teaches NEP 1340, Exercise and Fitness. He has won many awards at MU, including the prestigious Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Online Course Design.

Fun Fact: Dr. Ball went to MU for undergrad and was the 1994 Captain of the MU Baseball Team.

Steve Ball, PhD
State Specialist & Extension Professor
Dan Smith

Professor Dan Smith is a Mizzou alum and key player in the Exercise/Fitness side of the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. He teaches Exercise Careers and Activity throughout the Lifespan. He is an accomplished Exercise Physiologist, and has held leadership roles in Missouri and Kansas Assoc. of CardioVascular and Pulmonary Rehab.

Fun fact: Dan is an Eagle Scout and has remained active in the organization.

Dan Smith, MS, RCEP
Associate Teaching Professor and Career Adviser

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Physical Therapy