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Online Colleges for Sports & Fitness

Sports are a national pastime. From football to baseball to basketball, we spend our weekends at the stadiums or huddled around the TV, cheering for our favorite team. While few are cut out for a career as a professional player, there are plenty of jobs in the sports and fitness field to go around. Some jobs, such as coaches and managers, involve working directly with sports teams. Others, such as fitness instructors, generally work with individuals to help them get into physical shape. Still others, including athletic trainers, are health care professionals who combine medical knowledge with fitness training. Online sports and fitness degrees can be the first step toward making a career out of a commitment to physical fitness.

Featured Online Colleges for Sports and Fitness

If you're traveling between different cities to attend sports games or racing between clients as a personal trainer, taking the time to stay in one place and attend college can feel stifling or even impossible. Attending college online can solve this dilemma. However, selecting the right online college for you is still a tricky question. Here we have compiled a list of five colleges that stand out from the crowd, using data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). You can see more about our methodology at the bottom of this page; here, however, is our list of featured online colleges offering online sports and fitness degree programs.

1

Bryan University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$9,078
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
11
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Bryan University was founded in central Los Angeles in 1940. The university's online associate degree program in advanced personal training and exercise science was designed for students who wish to work as exercise trainers, performance coaches, fitness instructors or certified personal trainers, using guidelines established by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Students also can extend their educational journey at Bryan University by completing a Bachelor of Science degree in professional fitness training and exercise science.

Bryan University is a popular choice for sports and fitness majors, as an enormous percentage of the degrees the school awarded in 2015 were sports and fitness degrees. The institution boasts an open admissions policy, meaning that the college accepts all applicants as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED certificate, and to put the icing on the cake, the cost of books and courseware is included in the school's tuition cost.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Location:

3580 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Go to School Website 
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2

California Baptist University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$28,574
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
28
Accredited
School Type
4-year

California Baptist College is a small private Christian university located in the heart of Southern California. Total enrollment in fall of 2016 was 9,157 students. The university offers its online programs through CBU Online, the university's online portal for distance learners, and one of those programs is a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology.

This program is designed to give students a solid foundation in the fields of athletic training, nutrition and wellness, sports medicine or fitness. Completion requires 50 credit units in the program major, and between 40 and 43 credit units of general education courses. Students can transfer up to 100 credit hours to fulfill the total B.S. degree requirements; however, no more than 70 credits can be transferred from the community college level. California Baptist University stands out thanks to its very high graduation rate, and the percent of those graduates who earned sports and fitness-related degrees was no pittance either.

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Location:

8432 Magnolia Ave.
Riverside, Calif. 92504-3297
Go to School Website 
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3

American Public University System

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,480
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
140
Accredited
School Type
4-year

With an open admissions policy and a high graduation rate, American Public University System was bound to land a spot on this list. APUS has 100-percent online classes that start each month and run for eight or 16 weeks. The university's Bachelor of Science degree in sports and health sciences is affiliated with guidelines established by the American Sport Education Program. Students must complete the following classes to satisfy degree requirements:

  • 25 credits in elective classes
  • 38 credits in general education
  • 33 credits in core requirements
  • 18 credits in a specific concentration - coaching, exercise science, fitness and wellness, professional studies, or general concentration

This in-depth program requires 120 credits to complete. Students are capable of finishing the degree in four years, especially if they follow the suggested program guidelines. However, students can transfer up to 91 eligible credits into the program to get a head start.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

111. W. Congress St.
Charles Town, WV 25414
Go to School Website 
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4

Broadview University-West Jordan

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$13,500
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Broadview University has served residents of Northern Utah since 1977, and nowadays it serves distance learners through its CareerPath initiative, which offers online classes in a convenient six-week format. The university's Associate of Applied Science degree in exercise science requires 92 total credit hours to complete. Students can transfer as much as 75 percent of existing credits and eligible work experience to meet the degree requirements. This program focuses on the following three areas:

  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise Prescription for special populations
  • Exercise Prescription -- theory of exercise

Students learn how physics and scientific concepts relate to human movement in sports and exercise, personal fitness training theories, and how to design exercise programs for specific populations. Though Broadview University didn't stand out above the other schools on our list in any particular area, it gave a strong showing in all areas of our metric, which is an impressive feat in and of itself.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Universities

Location:

1902 W. 7800 St.
West Jordan, Utah 84088
Go to School Website 
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5

Allen Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,160
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
76
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Allen Community College had the second highest graduation rate of the schools on our list during 2015. Paired with its open admissions policy, this makes Allen Community College an enticing choice for prospective students. The school offers two associate degree options for students interested in careers in sports and fitness:

  • Associate of Arts in Physical Education Sports Medicine-Athletic Training
  • Associate of Arts in Physical Education-Sports Coaching

Both degree paths require 64 credits to complete, and students can finish the curriculum in two years by following Allen's suggested program sequence. Allen Community College has transfer agreements with several regional four-year universities -- including Wichita State University, Pittsburg State University, Kansas State University and Fort Hayes State University -- for students interested in continuing their educational journey and earning bachelor's degrees.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

1801 N. Cottonwood St.
Iola, Kansas 66749
Go to School Website 
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Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Associate Degree in Advanced Personal Training and Exercise Science, Bryan University, http://bryanuniversity.edu/undergraduate-programs/associate-degree-in-advanced-personal-training-exercise-science/program-overview/
  2. Bachelor of Science in Professional Fitness & Exercise Science, Bryan University, http://bryanuniversity.edu/undergraduate-programs/bachelor-science-professional-fitness-training-exercise-science/program-overview/
  3. About California Baptist University, https://calbaptist.edu/about/
  4. Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, California Baptist University, https://www.cbuonline.edu/degrees/bachelor-of-science-in-kinesiology
  5. Degree at a Glance, Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences, American Public University System, https://catalog.apus.edu/undergraduate/academic-programs/bachelors/bachelor-science-sports-health-sciences/?_ga=1.175994145.243430828.1493415911#requirementstext
  6. Sports and Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/aboutus/index.html
  7. Associates Degrees: Exercise Science, Broadview University, http://broadviewuniversity.edu/online/exercise-science-associate-degrees/
  8. Health and Physical Education-Sports Medicine/Athletic Training, Allen Community College, http://www.allencc.edu/images/stories/allen/pdf_docs/Degree_Tracks/2013_Degree_Updates/HPE_Sports_Med_AthleticTraining_AA_12_18_13.pdf
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Sources and Methodologies