2017 Accredited Online Exercise Science Degrees

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $17,201

There are 47 options for students interested in pursuing accredited online exercise science programs. These degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Our lists of the top online exercise science degrees and the top master's degrees highlight the online schools that stand out for their affordable tuitions and strong academics.

Students pursuing online exercise science programs should attend regionally or nationally accredited schools because accreditation indicates that a school meets national educational standards. In addition to accreditation, students look for programs with coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and nutrition. These classes can be useful for graduates who go on to have careers as athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, employee fitness directors, or strength and conditioning coaches.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Exercise Science Degrees (32)

Top Online Colleges Offering Exercise Science Degrees

Exercise Science-Top Online Colleges-2017-Badge

The 5 schools on this list of top online colleges offer online exercise science degrees that students can feel confident investing in. All of these colleges have academic strength scores above 58%, with fifth ranked University of Louisiana-Lafayette boasting the highest score, an impressive 67%. For as low as $6,540 annually, students can obtain a BA or BS in Physical Activity and Health Exercise Science from Eastern Oregon University.

All schools considered for this list offer fully online exercise science degrees at the bachelor's level. View our top ranked master's degrees, read about our methodology for more details, or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Academic Strength
#1 #1 Eastern Oregon University Annual Tuition $6,540 Academic Strength 58%
#2 #2 University of Wisconsin-Superior Annual Tuition $9,270 Academic Strength 62%
#3 #3 Concordia University-Saint Paul Annual Tuition $12,600 Academic Strength 63%
#4 #4 California Baptist University Annual Tuition $18,233 Academic Strength 61%
#5 #5 University of Louisiana-Lafayette Annual Tuition $24,678 Academic Strength 67%
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Which Exercise Science Degree Level Is Best for Me?

Online exercise science degrees can be found at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Students enrolled in an associate degree program will spend two years taking general education courses as well as classes that cover such topics as anatomy and physiology. Once they complete their degrees, graduates may be able to find entry-level jobs in such places as hospitals, health clubs, and recreation centers. They may also be prepared to move on to a bachelor's program. At the bachelor's level, students will take more advanced courses in personal training, anatomy, strength and conditioning, and others. Jobs available to bachelor's degree graduates may include personal trainer and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist. A bachelor's degree will take two to four years to complete, depending on how many college credits a student has when they begin their program.

Exercise science degrees are also available online at the graduate level. A master's degree helps to prepare individuals to become specialists in their field, taking classes that cover the topics of nutrition, biomechanics, and human performance. A master's degree will take around two years to complete, and students will need to have a bachelor's degree and background knowledge of physiology, biomechanics, and statistics in order to be admitted. Online doctoral programs in exercise science are an option for those who wish to have a career in sports psychology, research, or physical therapy. These types of programs may require some face-to-face class time due to the rigorous academic nature of the program. Students will need to complete a dissertation. In order to be admitted to a doctoral program, applicants will need either a master's or bachelor's degree in a related field.

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Online Associate Degrees in Exercise Science

An online associate degree program prepares individuals to transfer to a four-year degree school or for an entry-level job in health clubs, sport and recreation centers, and hospitals.

Program Requirements

Applicants must have a GED or high school diploma for admittance and will have to submit their official transcripts. A minimum GPA may be required and some schools may require SAT, ACT, or other test scores as part of the application process. Comprised of 60 credit hours, the program is usually completed within 2 years at a community college or vocational school.


Coursework for an online associate degree in exercise science includes general education courses such as English composition and humanities. In addition to distribution requirements, online exercise science associate degrees generally include coursework in a variety of the following fields: anatomy, physiology, physics, biology, community health, first aid, and nutrition.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Exercise Science

An online bachelor's in exercise science can be a good educational foundation for individuals hoping to work as personal trainers, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialists, or strength and conditioning coaches. In addition, it can lay the groundwork for further education in a graduate degree program.

Program Requirements

Offered online through colleges and universities, exercise science programs usually take between 36 and 48 months to complete, and require around 120 semester credit hours or 180 quarter credit hours, including an internship to gain practical experience. Applicants will need to have a GED or a high school diploma. Many schools have minimum GPA requirements for admission.


Online exercise science bachelor's degrees include courses in strength and conditioning, personal training, electrocardiography interpretation, and anatomy and physiology. Through these classes, students can gain a working understanding of human physical activity including nutritional, bio mechanical, and physiological. Usually, there is a hands-on practical application portion of the program in the form of an internship or volunteering which affords students the opportunity to apply theory in real-life situations.  

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Online Master's Degrees in Exercise Science

An online master's degree in exercise science is a great choice for individuals hoping to have careers as exercise or rehabilitation specialists of all varieties, as they will attain valuable knowledge of human performance, biomechanics, nutrition, and clinical physical activity among a diverse range of clientele. These top schools offer a unique combination of academic rigor and affordability. View our methodology for more details about these rankings.

Top Online Master's in Exercise Science

Rank School Annual Tuition Academic Strength
#1 #1 Sam Houston State University Annual Tuition $6,844 Academic Strength 63%
#2 #2 University of Louisiana-Monroe Annual Tuition $9,000 Academic Strength 64%
#3 #3 Tennessee Tech University Annual Tuition $10,350 Academic Strength 68%
#4 #4 Liberty University Annual Tuition $10,170 Academic Strength 64%
#5 #5 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Annual Tuition $20,880 Academic Strength 64%
#6 #6 University of Wyoming Annual Tuition $12,474 Academic Strength 69%
#7 #7 The University of Texas at Tyler Annual Tuition $14,026 Academic Strength 65%
#8 #8 University of Utah Annual Tuition $21,486 Academic Strength 70%
#9 #9 California University of Pennsylvania Annual Tuition $26,100 Academic Strength 60%

Program Requirements

Admission requirements typically include a minimum 3.0 GPA, satisfactory GRE scores, a statement of purpose, and prerequisite coursework to include statistics, physiology or exercise physiology, and biomechanics or physics. An online program, offered primarily through universities, takes an average of one to two years to complete the 40-50 semester credit hours.


Coursework for an online master's in exercise science typically includes advanced exercise physiology, exercise prescription & chronic illness, nutrition, biomechanics, and biogenetics, as well as a thesis course and a clinical internship. Degree concentrations are offered by multiple schools and include nutrition, fitness and health promotion, and human movement science among others. Students in concentration tracks will take general exercise science classes as well as classes more specific to their chosen specialties.

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The Importance of an Accredited Online Exercise Science Degree

Many colleges, universities, and programs gain regional accreditation to demonstrate their quality of education. Third-party accrediting organizations evaluate programs based on a variety of agreed-upon standards. Additionally, students that attend an accredited school can easily transfer credits to another institution or graduate program. Employers may look favorably upon candidates from accredited programs due to the educational quality that it indicates. 

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits programs in the health sciences field throughout the country. This ensures that programs meet rigorous professional and occupational standards and benefits both the consumer and and the individual providing services. There are currently 44 exercise science programs that are accredited by the CAAHEP, but no fully online programs. Health sciences employers may look favorably upon applicants that attended a CAAHEP accredited program, and some jobs may require it. 

Specific Training Requirements for Exercise Science

The American College of Sports Medicine provides certifications for exercise science professionals. Certifications include personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and exercise physiologist. Clinical certifications include clinical exercise physiologist, and registered clinical exercise physiologist. All certifications require a combination of education, experience, and successful completion of an examination. Often employers require individuals to be credentialed from this or another credentialing agency. 

Careers in Exercise Science

Depending on the level of education obtained, there are various types of careers available for someone who has an online degree in exercise science. With an associate degree an individual can find such jobs as a trainer, coach or PE teacher, though some additional certification may be required. At the bachelor's level, individuals may be prepared for entry- to mid-level positions in fitness, including strength coaching, training, exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab, or clinical exercise specialist. Daily responsibilities include meeting with potential clients, creating treatment plans and exercise regimes for clients, and facilitating exercises.

Individuals with a graduate degree, either a master's or doctorate, may be eligible for teaching at a collegiate level or taking on senior roles in fitness and healthcare. Increasingly, hospitals are requiring exercise physiologists to hold a graduate degree. Additionally, professionals with a doctorate may advance to research positions or high-level administrative jobs in the fitness or wellness departments at hospitals. Day-to-day duties at this level range from academia tasks to program implementation and management. 


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