How do you know you’ve chosen the right fitness school? If you’re at the beginning of the process, it can seem like a daunting procedure to sift through all your educational choices and make the right one for you. But if you take it step by step and focus on one thing at a time, you might find that you’re ready for your first day of school before you know it!
- Decide what type of program you want to attend
When it comes to fitness majors, you will have a lot of different options for your education. Depending on what exactly you want to major in, you could attend school for a short period of time to earn a certificate, go for roughly two years an earn an associate’s degree, or choose the traditional four-year route and earn a bachelor’s degree. For instance, if you want to become a personal trainer, you can earn a personal training certificate in anywhere from 10 weeks to a year, depending on how fast you move through the program. Other options for certifications include fitness nutrition, exercise therapy, senior our youth fitness, strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, elite trainer, or master trainer certifications. Many times you can even complete certificate programs online. If you are interested in more comprehensive study or want to concentrate on a broader topic, such as exercise science, kinesiology, sports medicine, or physiology, you should consider earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. While there may be some specific “fitness schools” dedicated solely to health-related majors, there are also a lot of schools out there that offer a few health and fitness concentrations as part of a very diverse list of programs.
- Research schools
Once you have decided what type of degree program you are looking for, the next step is to narrow your list based on other factors that are important to you. One that often tops peoples’ lists is location. If you have familial or work obligations where you currently live, it may be an easy search for you, and your hunt will be limited to institutions in your immediate vicinity. Otherwise, you may factor in location according to the school’s proximity to a large city or certain natural attractions, such as the beach or mountains. Many people also consider the size of the school, campus resources, and the school’s overall reputation or ranking. If you already know exactly what you want to major in, it might be a good idea to research schools that have prodigious programs in your area of interest. For example, a school that might not be incredibly well-known could nonetheless have one of the top sports medicine programs in the country, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on that education if you are able to move there.
- Discuss tuition and financial aid
The other factor that sometimes makes a person’s decision for her is how expensive the school is to attend. Private schools are typically more expensive than public institutions, and you will always pay more if you go somewhere out of state. If you’re really on a budget, it may be worth it to thoroughly research online degree programs, as you can sometimes save money because you’re not paying for housing or other campus resources. If you have your heart set on a school that’s outside of your price range, you don’t have to give up right away. Contact someone in the financial aid office and ask to talk about loans, grants, and scholarships. You can always fill out the FAFSA, which is an application for government-awarded aid, and many schools also offer independent monetary awards based on a student’s financial need or academic merit.