Best Schools for Health and Fitness

If a career that allows you to stay fit and healthy and help others do the same sounds good to you, then going to a fitness college will be a step in the right direction.

Numerous colleges and universities offer various health and fitness programs and it is up to you to find out which path will help you realize your career goals. The fitness and health industry has expanded so much over the past few years. Fitness trainer schools can help prepare you for a variety of jobs such as group exercise instructor, personal trainer, fitness director, coach, physical education teacher, and more.

Health, sport and fitness programs can include courses in nutrition, physical fitness, dietetics, and lifestyle management, depending on the specific area of concentration you choose. Below are some of the universities in the United States that provide the required education in health and fitness.

Top Health and Fitness Schools in the US

University of Pittsburgh, PA

Ranking 58th on the U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 list of best national universities, the University of Pittsburgh, through its Department of Health and Physical Activity, offers different undergraduate and graduate programs in exercise science, exercise physiology, health and fitness, health, physical activity and chronic disease and wellness. Those who enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Wellness program can choose from 4 separate options for professional focus: aerobics, aquatics, dance and fitness. Students who enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science program will be prepared for such careers as fitness and wellness director, strength and conditioning specialist, conditioning and personal training, coaching, and more.

Meanwhile those who are looking to expand their knowledge and skills and build on their bachelor degrees may consider entering the Master of Science in Health and Fitness program or the Master of Science in Health, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease, which they can complete in a research or practitioner track.

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University as the 62nd among the best national universities in 2012. Through Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences it offers various majors for those who wish to build a career in the health and fitness industry: Applied Exercise and Health, Athletic Training, Movement and Sport Sciences, Public Health and Health/Physical Education.

The Athletic Training major prepares students for entry level athletic training jobs. Students in the program learn through an extensive curriculum of didactic and clinical experience and are prepared to sit for and pass the Board of Certification (BOC) exam. Meanwhile, students who successfully complete the Movement and Sport Sciences major can qualify for jobs in Exercise Physiology, Sport Psychology/Sport Sociology, Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, Product Research and Development, and Physical Therapy, among others.
The Applied Exercise and Health program prepares students to become leading professionals in the health and fitness industry. Upon graduation and after obtaining necessary licenses or certifications, they can qualify for jobs as personal trainers, fitness equipment sales personnel, strength coach, corporate fitness director, and more. Graduates of the Public Health major can work in such settings as private corporations (wellness and fitness programs), government public health agencies, healthcare organizations, health and fitness clubs, community nonprofit agencies, voluntary health agencies, and universities (student and staff wellness programs). The Health and Physical Education major prepares students for jobs as public or private school teacher, physical education director in youth agencies, physical education at youth camps, coaching for youth sports, community clubs, high school, or college/university, and university professor.

Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

Rowan University was ranked 21st among the best regional universities in the North for 2012 by U.S. News & World Report. Rowan University’s Health Promotion and Fitness Management undergraduate specialization was awarded the Distinguished Undergraduate Program Award for 2010 by the National Wellness Institute. It was among the three selected from 278 health promotion undergraduate programs by the Award committee.

Students who successfully complete the Health Promotion and Fitness Management program can qualify for jobs in private companies offering health promotion and fitness programs to employees in order to reduce health risks and improve productivity. They can also work in clinical settings, working alongside medical professionals to help patients recover from illness and injury. Community settings also provide employment opportunities for graduates, as professionals who offer programs and services targeting children, teenagers, seniors and other special populations in order to improve the health and well-being of members in the community.

Other Reputable Schools for Health and Fitness

  • Central Michigan University
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Wisconsin, Stout
  • Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Rice University, Houston, TX
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
  • University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • American University, Washington, D.C.
  • Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
  • Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
  • University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK
  • Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
  • Taylor University, Upland, IN
  • Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH
  • Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH