Fitness programming and management

Undergraduate certificate University of Missouri-Columbia
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Undergraduate certificate

You see the power of fitness and wellness in your own life. Your determination, through exercise or nutrition, has involved a structured path with clearly defined and successive goals that, on a personal level, have delivered results. Perhaps you’ve also informally guided others through their own fitness journeys with advice or support, and now you wonder how you can translate your passion for exercise and health into a career.

The University of Missouri-Columbia’s (Mizzou) online undergraduate certificate in fitness programming and management lets you unleash your potential. Courses covering the fundamentals of fitness equip you with the tools to spearhead workplace wellness programs, advance in a corporate fitness facility or strike out on your own as a well-rounded personal trainer. In all scenarios, your broadened skillset helps you prepare fitness and nutrition plans for individuals across a spectrum of ages and get a wellness-centric program or business off the ground.

In terms of your own career progress, this online fitness certificate paves the way to obtaining national certification as a Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT), Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM-GEI), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) or Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator® (TSAC-F®). Should you opt to further your education, this certificate gives you a head start on a bachelor of science in fitness programming and management from Mizzou or a similar sports medicine-centric degree.

Quick facts

Official name

Undergraduate certificate in fitness programming and management


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Undergraduate certificate

Academic home

School of Health Professions | Department of Physical Therapy

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*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.

About the online certificate in fitness programming and management

Mizzou’s Department of Physical Therapy oversees the online certificate in fitness programming and management and introduced it in response to evolving attitudes about health and wellness. Health care increasingly sees the value of physical activity in addressing conditions from obesity to chronic stress. Businesses, meanwhile, routinely introduce corporate wellness initiatives in response to the relationship between fitness, employee productivity and lower insurance premiums. Thinking about these factors from a scientific angle, the department strives to improve population health through a combination of research, education and outreach focusing on physical activity and nutrition. 

This approach frames the online certificate in fitness programming and management. To instruct you in encouraging fitness and other healthy behaviors across populations, you’ll:

  • Learn how to evaluate individuals across the lifespan to guide them toward physical activity, exercise and other recommendations designed to improve fitness, wellness and overall health
  • Improve your critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Understand fitness industry standards for operating a business, from personal training to workplace wellness programs
  • Start to view fitness and wellness in relation to health issues across the lifespan
  • Be able to design a fitness and wellness program for your targeted audience


The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 39% growth for fitness trainers and instructors between 2020 and 2030

Man working at a desk in an office setting

Career prospects

Stand out in the business world with your fitness programming knowledge, or pioneer your own training or wellness service. This online fitness certificate program paired with your personal drive gives you an edge for roles in health and wellness programs, community health agencies, fitness companies, corporate fitness centers and athletic training facilities or for becoming a fitness and wellness entrepreneur.

Potential opportunities include:

  • Online fitness instructor
  • Certified personal trainer
  • Group exercise instructor
  • Fitness consultant
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. 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.
employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers are based on models that consider typical job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
mean salary

Program structure

The online certificate in fitness programming and management involves 12 credit hours divided among core courses (6 credit hours) and electives (6 credit hours). Beyond the introductory requirements, electives let you explore exercise, fitness and wellness in the context of health care, health systems, public health and rehabilitation science.

Mizzou structures the program with a fully online format — no on-campus visits are required. Courses are semester-based. The average student takes two classes per semester to complete the program in about a year’s time.

Course work

During the core and business sequences, you’ll become familiar with:

  • The general principles of exercise, fitness and wellness for developing individual improvement plans
  • Methods for creating and promoting exercise programs
  • The benefits of physical activity across the lifespan, from nutrition, physiology and psychology perspectives

Review all courses and descriptions for the online certificate in fitness programming and management.


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

1 years

Typical course load

2 classes per semester


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
Rebekah S. Carpenter, PhD, CSCS, CEP

Rebekah Carpenter is an assistant professor for fitness programming and management. Dr. Carpenter teaches FPM 2130, 3130 and 4440W. She is passionate about preparing students to hone a skill set in strength and conditioning and be confident in their instructional abilities out in the field. She was a gymnast for 10 years and still loves to flip.

Rebekah S. Carpenter, PhD, CSCS, CEP
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Physical Therapy