traditional undergraduate on campus

Personal Training/Exercise

Trevecca’s Associate of Science in exercise/personal training equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the certified personal trainer exam and to help clients manage their fitness and overall health. This two-year degree gives you a solid foundation upon which you can build your career or continue your education.

Program Benefits

  • Graduate with the skills you need to build a successful career as a personal trainer.
  • Learn from faculty who possess high degrees in their fields, who have relevant and valuable real-world experience and who make an effort to know you personally.
  • Enjoy our small class sizes and supportive campus community.
  • Take advantage of incredible internships and jobs available in the exciting Nashville market.

 What to Expect

As a student in Trevecca’s associate of science in exercise/personal training program, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to help clients who are seeking to be more proactive and effective in managing their fitness and overall health. This two-year degree gives you a solid liberal arts and exercise science foundation upon which to build your career. It also prepares you to pass a certified personal trainer exam upon completion of the program.  

Coursework spans topics like the fundamentals of strength training and aerobic conditioning, nutrition for fitness and performance, personal training as a business, sport psychology, healthcare management and more. In addition to relevant and engaging coursework, you’ll take part in hands-on learning with practicum opportunities outside of the classroom. This field experience prepares you to work with clients and allows you to network with professionals in the field. Your associate degree in exercise/personal training will also allow you to transition seamlessly into the Bachelor of Science in exercise science if you choose.

Why Choose Trevecca?

Founded in 1901 and a leader in online education for more than two decades, Trevecca helps students discover and pursue an individual calling by providing innovative instruction; cultivating a supportive, Christ-centered community; and establishing relationships that open doors.

Recognized nationally and locally for academic quality, Trevecca has earned a reputation for providing the world with servant leaders, problem solvers and difference makers. Trevecca’s holistic approach to education encompasses intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth.

As a Christian university, we offer programs that explore the ways faith intersects with your field of study. This means you can gain your degree in a supportive, Christian community with small classroom sizes and engaged faculty members who care about you and your goals and who will help you understand how biblical principles apply in exercise and health science vocations.



Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.

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Financial Aid & Costs

Financial Aid & Costs

Nearly every student at Trevecca receives some form of assistance in paying for college. Learn all about the affordability of a TNU education and options for receiving aid.

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Career Opportunities

With an Associate of Science in exercise/personal training, you’ll be well-equipped to pass your personal trainer exam. Your degree, when combined with your personal trainer certification, allows you to work in a variety of settings such as a gym, a community fitness center, a private studio or residence, a hotel, a hospital or even a cruise ship. More specifically, your degree prepares you for roles such as: 


  • Personal trainer 
  • Health coach
  • Wellness coach
  • Healthcare facility/gym manager
  • Fitness instructor
  • Lifestyle coach
  • Weight management coach



Course Descriptions

Get details on all the courses you’ll complete as you work toward this degree at Trevecca.

English Composition I
ENG 1020

Emphasizes the recursive writing process through appropriate determination of subject, audience, purpose, and style, with correct usage of grammar, punctuation, and logical organization. Students will use appropriate technologies for writing and learning.

Speech Communication
COM 1010

A study of the principles and practices of effective human communication, with emphasis placed on public speaking. The course emphasizes the critical thinking and skill development necessary for effective speech. Listening skills are included in the study.

General Psychology
PSY 2010

General introduction to major areas of psychology with emphasis on the psychological bases for understanding human behavior. A recommended prerequisite to other psychology courses except PSY 2175.

Introduction to Biblical Faith
REL 2000

An introduction to Biblical faith and literature designed to help the student acquire a knowledge of the basic content of Scripture as well as be able to employ basic Bible study skills.

Christian Tradition
REL 3000

An introduction to theology as it has developed in the history of the church with a view to understanding the relation between faith and life. Special attention is given to understanding the doctrine of holiness.

Abnormal Psychology
PSY 4150

Survey of the causes, forms and methods of treating behavior abnormalities.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
BUS 2300

Designed to teach the student concepts and skills needed to succeed in an entrepreneurial venture. It will include understanding unique characteristics an entrepreneur should possess, and it will view marketing, economics, finance, accounting, management, communication and legal issues from a small business perspective.

Introduction to Healthcare Management
BUS 2350

Introduces students to the healthcare industry and explores significant challenges of healthcare management. This course examines various issues within healthcare, such as cost management, healthcare financing, disease management, information technology, the regulatory environment, the pharmaceutical industry, human resource issues, ethical issues, and health reform. Students also explore various healthcare settings (such as hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics) and research job opportunities in the healthcare industry.

Basic Nutrition Across the Lifespan
EXS 2000

This course will explore the nutritive value of foods and provide an integrated overview of the physiological requirements and functions of macronutrients, energy, vitamins, and minerals for the human body across the lifespan.

Fundamentals of Strength Training
EXS 2010

Content and activity course that covers current strength training techniques and methods. Students will participate in a specific weight training program during the semester while learning a variety of strength training techniques.

Fundamentals of Aerobic Conditioning
EXS 2020

Content and activity that covers current aerobic conditioning techniques and methods. Students will participate in a specific aerobic training program during the semester while learning a variety of aerobic training methods.

Personal Training
EXS 2040
Bridges the gap between exercise-science related course work and the practical application skills of personal training. Students learn how to properly screen and evaluate clients; design and implement exercise prescription; and how to manage personal training services. Includes a laboratory experience.
Nutrition for Fitness and Performance
EXS 2100

Provide an understanding of optimal nutritional intake in support of peak performance in sport. Address food as fuel and which fuels are most important to specific sport activities, the role nutritional supplements can play, how to assure fluid balance, weight management for athletes, and the effects of disordered eating on performance and health. The unique international food and athletic culture should be incorporated into understanding nutrition for peak performance. Understand what athletes should eat before, during, and after competition, design optimal meal plans for athletes, and be able to identify the best and worst applications of sport supplements such as protein powders/bars, creatine, and sport drinks. This will be prescribed through a Christian worldview for the best stewardship of the body for optimal muscle development, recovery, and sports performance.

Practicum I: Exercise Science
EXS 2240

This course involves the application and direct observation of principles/standards learned throughout the academic course offerings. The student will choose from a broad range of clinical settings (PT/OT clinical sites; athletic training rooms; personal training facilities, medical clinic, physician’s office, etc.) to complete the practicum observation hours. Practicum site should align with the student's career goals and must have academic advisor's approval. The Exercise Science Practicum Manual will serve as the guiding reference and will include the following benchmark requirements (documented observation time logs, weekly journals, summary of learning experience, clinical site supervisor evaluation and a practicum-specific assignment). A minimum of 40 contact hours required. Graded S/U.

Personal Training as a Business
EXS 3210

Introduction to the business-based side of personal training including marketing, sales, budgets, staffing and clientele issues.

Personal Training Certification
EXS 4320
Designed to prepare students to sit for a nationally recognized personal training certification exam. Students will be engaged in practical applications of the material covered. The course will offer both lecture and movement training applying theory to practice. Upon successful completion of the program, a student would be eligible to sit for a personal training certification exam.
Human Growth and Development
PSY 2175

A survey of development from conception throughout the life span.

Sport Psychology
SMC 3700/PSY 3700

A study of the interaction between sport and psychology with a focus on psychological skills training for athletes and coaches. Includes topics such as motivation, imagery, anxiety, stress, attention, confidence, leadership, and communication.

Financial Stewardship
BUS 2010

Provides the student with a basic understanding of his or her economic environment and the basic principles and tools of personal financial management. Emphasis will be placed on personal financial planning, including budgeting, managing personal debt, insurance, taxes, investments, and real estate. When possible, topics will be analyzed and discussed from a Christian perspective.

Principles of Macroeconomics
ECO 2000

An introduction to the study of macroeconomics with an emphasis on the issues of inflation, unemployment and growth. Prerequisite to all advanced courses in the department except as noted.

World Civilizations: Ancient and Medieval World
HIS 1400

A course of study from ancient times to the 1500s dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

World Civilizations: Early Modern and Modern World
HIS 1450

A course of study from the 1500s to the present dealing with persistent and recurring political, social, and economic issues in history that thinking people have examined and that have shaped our contemporary world. This course covers Western and non-Western cultures. Offered every semester.

Problem Solving: A Quantitative Reasoning Approach
MAT 1080

This course is designed to promote students' understanding and appreciation of mathematics and to develop quantitative and problem solving skills. The course will further introduce students to a wide range of applications of mathematics to modern life. Topics will be selected from linear and non-linear models, logic, sets, probability, counting techniques, statistics, matrices, and game theory.

Concepts of Mathematics
MAT 1040

Considers the realm of mathematics as some of the greatest ideas of humankind-ideas comparable to the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and Michelangelo. This course will introduce students to several of these ideas, selected from topics in numerical patterns, infinity, geometry, topology, chaos, probability, and statistics. Study of these topics will not only demonstrate the beauty of mathematics but will also develop critical thinking skills. This course is designed for liberal arts majors to satisfy the general education requirement.

Electives — 4 hours

*For a complete list of courses, tracks and other relevant information, view the program's course catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of job can I obtain with an associate degree in exercise science?
Individuals who earn an associate degree in Exercise Science receive preparation for the certification exam to become a personal trainer. Upon receiving certification, you can immediately begin working as a personal trainer in a variety of outlets—whether it’s a gym, community fitness center, a client’s private residence or even at a hotel, hospital or on a cruise ship. Personal trainers are also well-suited to become group fitness instructors, yoga instructors, lifestyle and weight management consultants or health and wellness coaches.
What will I learn from the program?
Students can expect to receive a robust and well-rounded foundation that combines a liberal arts education with instruction in exercise science. The 37 credit hours required to complete the associate degree included classes in topics such as biblical faith, speech communication, principles in macroeconomics, financial stewardship, fundamentals for strength training, personal training as a business, sport psychology, introduction to entrepreneurship and small business management, and a psychology course in human growth and development. As part of the program, students also will engage in a practicum completed outside of the classroom in order to gain hands-on experience in the field of personal training. This will offer students the opportunity to network with professionals and possibly learn of future job opportunities.
Can I transition into a bachelor’s degree after I complete my associate degree?
Yes. Classes completed as part of a student’s associate degree in Exercise Science can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science as well. Upon completion of the associate degree, students can discuss their course plan with an academic advisor and formulate a continued path of study.