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Health Fitness Specialist - Associate in Applied Science

Do you have a belief in the power of wellness? Are you motivated to help others adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors?

As a health fitness specialist, you will have the knowledge and experience to be an exercise leader or an administrative leader of health and fitness programs in corporate, clinical, commercial, or community settings. Job responsibilities may include group fitness leadership, program development, fitness assessment, exercise prescription, personal training, creating and promotion of incentive programs, monitoring/maintenance of equipment, administration, and staff training.

A successful health fitness specialist will have a strong background in anatomy and physiology, and effective interpersonal and group communication skills.

About the Program

The Health Fitness Specialist program prepares you to support clients of all ages and skill levels in adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors. You will learn to apply behavioral and motivational strategies to both healthy individuals and individuals with medically controlled diseases and health conditions.

Personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and specialized instructors, such as yoga or Pilates instructors, each need different preparation.

Courses include:

  • Personal Training – Get paired up with an actual client to train for eight consecutive weeks
  • Group Fitness Instructor – Teach a one-hour group exercise class
  • Exercise Physiology – Opportunities for VO2max testing, blood lactate testing, and power assessments
  • Internship Experience – Get real life experience at various internship sites including Freeland Sportzone, YMCA, Old Town Gym, Midland Community Center, Dow Health Promotion, Total Sports Performance, and Saginaw Valley Sports Performance.

The Health Fitness Specialist degree is endorsed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American Council on Exercise.

What are students saying?

"I love working with people and helping them to see that they can make themselves better by their own actions."
– Samuel Whyte

"I always knew I liked a changing environment and with a career in health and fitness there is always something new to learn."
– Floyd Roebuck

"I've enjoyed exercising for many years and am very passionate about health and nutrition. With the Health Fitness Specialist degree, now I can help motivate others!"
– Michelle Rousseau

Careers and Job Outlook

Fitness trainers and instructors work in health clubs, country clubs, fitness or recreation centers, gyms, hospitals, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, resorts, and clients' homes.

Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other fitness facilities will increase the need for workers in these areas.

The national average pay for fitness trainers is $31,090 per year, or $14.95 per hour.

Source: 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at

The average yearly earnings for a fitness instructor in Michigan is $29,750.

Source: Michigan Department of Career Development, 2010 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates of Michigan Occupational Information System

Find Out More

Have questions or want more information? Contact:

Kara Jimenez, PhD
Associate Professor Lifelong Wellness

Health Fitness Specialist - Associate in Applied Science

Program Code: AAS.25710

This degree can stand alone or can lead to a bachelor's degree in Health Fitness, Exercise Physiology, or related field. The program prepares students to sit for two of the most nationally recognized fitness certification exams: The National Strength and Conditioning Association - Certified Personal Trainer Exam, and the American College of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer or Health Fitness Specialist Exam. This program will give the health fitness student the fundamental knowledge of exercise physiology; human anatomy and physiology; biomechanics; prevention and treatment of exercise-related injuries; CPR, First Aid, and AED readiness skills; health appraisals and assessments; application of fitness principles and strength training; applicable knowledge of nutrition, weight management, stress management, and self-employment; skills in health fitness assessment, as well as designing and leading endurance and strength programs for diverse populations. In addition, upon completion of this associate degree, the health fitness specialist will also have attained the Delta College Personal Trainer Certificate.

General Education Courses

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
BIO 111W4Principles of Biology ______________
CHM 101W5General Chemistry I ______________
COM 112W3Fundamentals of Oral Communication ______________
ENG ---3Any Approved College Composition I Course ______________
ENG ---3Any Approved College Composition II Course ______________
POL ---3/4Any Approved American Government Requirement ______________
PSY 211W4General Psychology ______________
--- ---0/1Any Social Science Elective ______________
--- ---5Any Humanities Elective (with at least one department other than COM) ______________

Basic Program Requirements

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
BIO 152W4Human Anatomy & Physiology I ______________
BIO 153W4Human Anatomy & Physiology II ______________
LW 220W1Lifelong Wellness ______________
OR ______________
LW 221W(2)Fitness and Wellness ______________
LWT 1651HeartSaver First Aid with CPR AND ______________
LWT 1701Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider ______________
OR ______________
HSC 140(2)Basic Medical Emergencies ______________
LWT 2103Nutrition: The Science of Optimal Living ______________
OR ______________
LW 222(3)The Science of Nutrition and Exercise ______________
LWT 2303Theory of Strength and Conditioning ______________
LWT 2404Health Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer ______________
LWT 2424Group Fitness Instructor ______________
LWT 2514Exercise Physiology ______________
LWT 2553Health Fitness Management and Promotion ______________
LWT 2605Health Fitness Experience ______________
LWA ---1Lifelong Wellness Elective from Category A: ______________
LWA ---1Lifelong Wellness Elective from Category B: ______________

LWA Electives - Category A (Choose from this list for Basic Program Requirements)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
LWA 1011Fitness for Life ______________
LWA 1061Athletic Conditioning ______________
LWA 1081Weight Training ______________
LWA 1111Circuit Training ______________

LWA Electives - Category B (Choose from this list for Basic Program Requirements)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
LWA 1511Kick Boxing ______________
LWA 1521.5Astanga Yoga ______________
LWA 1531Dance Aerobics ______________
LWA 154W1BOSU Ball Training ______________
LWA 156W1Stability Ball Training ______________
LWA 1571Step Aerobics ______________
LWA 1581Pilates ______________

69/72.5Total Credits Required For Associate Degree


1 - In addition to tuition, fees, and textbook costs, you may have to purchase special shoes, shirts, nametags, and provide transportation to all internship sites.
2 - Current CPR certification is required for admission to LWT 260. Current CPR certification must be maintained throughout the program.
3 - You need to be aware that internship assignments may be outside the Tri-county area.
4 - You may be eligible for the MACRAO or Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA). Consult the current catalog for MACRAO or MTA requirements.

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