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Fitness- and Exercise-Related Careers. Chapter 12. Fitness- and Health-Related Careers. What are the responsibilities of a fitness or exercise specialist? What are the opportunities available for someone pursuing a therapy-related career?

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fitness and health related careers
Fitness- and Health-Related Careers
  • What are the responsibilities of a fitness or exercise specialist?
  • What are the opportunities available for someone pursuing a therapy-related career?
  • How does one increase their marketability for fitness-, health-, and therapy-related careers?
program areas
Program Areas
  • Preventive programs
    • Specialists work with healthy adults to increase their level of fitness.
    • Sites: Corporate fitness centers, commercial fitness centers, and community agencies (YMCA/YWCA)
  • Rehabilitative programs
    • Work with individuals who exhibit the effects of coronary heart disease focusing on attaining a functional state of living and an enhanced quality of life.
    • Sites: Hospitals, medical clinics or community agencies affiliated with corporate fitness centers.
wellness program components
Wellness Program Components
  • Fitness development and maintenance
  • Educational efforts
  • Health promotion
  • Lifestyle modification
  • Recreational sport opportunities
program aspects institute of aerobics research
Program Aspects (Institute of Aerobics Research)
  • Medical screening
  • Fitness and lifestyle assessment
  • Goal setting
  • Supervised group programs
  • Educational classes
  • Motivation and reinforcement
exercise program specialist responsibilities
Direct program

Train and supervise staff

Budget responsibilities

Facility management



Individual exercise prescriptions

Evaluate and counsel on lifestyle

Data collection and analysis

Exercise Program Specialist Responsibilities
worksite health programs
Worksite Health Programs
  • 46% of all worksites offer programs
    • 38% of small corporations
    • 68% of large corporations
  • Potential to reach over 142 million adults
    • Convenient for employees
    • Offers peer and social support
  • Economic benefits to corporations
    • Reduced injury rates, lower workman’s compensation costs, and reduced health care costs
    • Enhancement of workplace morale, retaining employees
core programs worksite wellness
Back care and injury prevention

Exercise/Physical fitness

Stress management

Smoking control

Substance abuse

Weight management

Medical self-care

Consumer health education

Cholesterol reduction

Nutritional intervention

Select biometrics screening

Hypertension management

Core Programs Worksite Wellness
welcoa program suggestions
Voluntary participation

Continuous marketing

Sensitivity to individual differences

Frequent evaluation

Modeling of healthy behavior by staff

Recognition and reward


Balance between fun and clinically significant programs

Personalize the program

WELCOA Program Suggestions
commercial and community fitness programs ihrsa
Commercial and Community Fitness Programs (IHRSA)
  • 29,069 clubs
  • 41.3 million members
      • 18-34 years comprise 35% of membership
      • 35-54 years comprise 33% of membership
      • Females make up the majority of membership
      • 50% membership has income over $75,000/year
  • U.S. health club revenues $15.9 billion
personal trainers
Personal Trainers
  • Work in private and public settings:
    • Conducting fitness assessments.
    • Developing specific goals with clients.
    • Designing programs for goal attainment.
    • Coaching clients through workouts.
    • Monitoring progress of goals.
  • Growing use of the Internet, email, and phone to hire personal trainers and report results for convenience.
strength and conditioning professionals
Strength and Conditioning Professionals
  • “Assess, motivate, educate, and train athletes for the primary goal of improving sport performance.” (NSCA)
  • Competencies necessary in the areas of:
    • Scientific foundations of sport/exercise and nutrition
    • Exercise leadership and program design
    • Sport psychology to maximize performance
    • Risks of performance-enhancing substances
rehabilitation programs
Rehabilitation Programs
  • Clinical exercise physiologists work mainly in hospitals and clinics.
  • Work closely with physicians to meet the needs of diverse clients.
  • To plan rehabilitation programs, they must be familiar with:
    • Medical aspects of clients disease or condition
    • Limitations faced by clients
    • Drugs commonly used to treat the disease/condition and their effects
    • Psychological aspects of exercise on the clients
career preparation
Career Preparation
  • Education
    • Undergraduate and graduate education in exercise science, fitness and cardiac rehabilitation, etc.
  • Various certifications offered by:
    • ACSM
    • YMCA
    • AFAA
    • NSCA
  • Practical experience
  • Professional involvement
athletic training
Athletic Training
  • Prevention of Injuries
    • Supervision of conditioning programs
    • Advising coaches and athletes
    • Assist with preseason physicals
    • Checking equipment and facilities for safety
  • Rehabilitation
    • Administers therapeutic treatments and monitors progress.
    • Motivate and encourage throughout recovery
    • Record-keeping of injury status and history of injury
  • Certification - NATA
health and weight management clubs spas
Health and Weight-Management Clubs & Spas
  • Found at resorts, hotels, mineral springs, and cruise ships.
  • Are they only seeking your money?
  • Offer fitness activities, graded exercise tests, instruction in sport activities, exercise classes
  • Diet and nutritional counseling, stress management, massages
  • Growth of commercial diet centers focused on weight reduction.
therapy related careers
Dance therapy

Recreational therapy


Physical Therapy


Prerequisites may be required prior to admission for advanced study

Volunteer hours may be required for program admission

Therapy-Related Careers
increasing professional marketability
Increasing Professional Marketability
  • Additional courses in health and related areas
  • Certification
    • ACSM, First Aid/CPR, NATA, NSCA
  • Build on one’s interests and strengths
  • Practical experience
    • Internships, fieldwork, and volunteering
    • Gain diverse experiences