Program Objectives

The ISSA's Exercise Science degree program grounds you in the fundamentals of personal training by exposing you to both the theories and practices of this dynamic field. The program features courses on trainer-relevant topics, including anatomy and physiology, assessment, program design, special populations, entrepreneurship, management, interpersonal relations, and communication.

In today's rapidly changing economy, your degree in Exercise Science will give you the necessary tools to not only compete in the fitness industry, but to truly enjoy your profession. Graduates with an Associate's Degree in Exercise Science work as Master Trainers in health clubs and fitness centers, run their own training businesses, or pursue Bachelor's or other Advanced Degrees in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Physical Education, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, or Chiropractic.

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Design and implement an exercise program for an individual's specific situations and goals (e.g., obesity, hypertension, muscle gain, sedentary, etc.), based on currently accepted protocols
  • Define and describe the fundamentals of injury prevention.
  • Determine and deploy an appropriate response to emergency situations.
  • Demonstrate ability to address/manage pre-existing conditions.
  • Apply currently accepted industry standards for exercise safety.
  • Describe primary functions of muscles and joints during specific exercises in order to create appropriate programming and instruct proper exercise application.
  • Describe primary concepts of human physiology at rest and during exercise (e.g., body systems, pathology, etc.).
  • Describe basic principles of nutrition and how they relate to health and exercise programs.
  • Determine and deploy the appropriate test and test protocol and interpret the results.
  • Determine an individual's level of participation in an exercise program based on physician recommendation and/or the presence of risk factors (hypertension, high cholesterol, family history, etc.).
  • Determine and establish appropriate health and fitness goals.
  • Define and describe program modifications for special populations (e.g., older adults, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, obesity, basic orthopedics, youth, and pregnancy, etc.).
  • Utilize appropriate communication skills to motivate and coach individuals in their exercise programs (verbal / non-verbal, open ended vs. close ended questioning, cueing, etc.).
  • Differentiate actions within the Trainer Scope of Practice.
  • Identify legal issues and their ramifications as they apply to the personal fitness training profession.
  • Obtain a fitness-related position in the areas of athletics, academics, healthcare, or with private organizations.
  • Advance into more senior positions and assume management roles.
  • Enter sales and marketing positions and use their training techniques to sell training sessions, supplements and or equipment.
  • Interact effectively with other people in a professional and compassionate manner.
  • Train people of all ages.
  • Work for themselves or begin their own personal training business.

Program Curriculum