Exercise Science Careers, Jobs, and Salaries

What can you do with an exercise science master’s degree?

Choosing California University of Pennsylvania for graduate study is an important first step to unlocking excellent career opportunities for your future. Earning an online exercise science master’s degree expands your skillset and increases your career opportunities whether you choose to work in Pennsylvania, across the country or even around the world. (Exercise science students enroll from all 50 states, and from more than 20 countries from the Bahamas to Switzerland. We’re also pleased to welcome students in military service worldwide.)

"The field of exercise science is unique because you work with such a wide range of people and athletic abilities."
Dr. Ben Rueter, Associate Professor at Cal U

Explore Career Options

Exercise science professionals know they have a great responsibility to ensure the safety and health of patients and clients at all ages and skills levels in whatever fields they specialize in. We’ve outlined at least 10 reasons why it’s important to earn your online graduate degree in exercise science and the impact it will have on your future.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers related to the field of exercise science are growing. Here are some examples from the Occupational Outlook Handbook:

Fitness trainers and instructors: Employment is projected to grow 10% through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses, government, and insurance organizations continue to recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, incentives to join gyms or other types of health clubs are expected to increase the need for fitness trainers and instructors.

  • Job prospects are best for workers with professional certification or increased levels of formal education in health or fitness
  • The median annual wage for fitness trainers and instructors was $39,210 in 2017. 

Coaches and scouts: Employment is expected to grow 13% through 2026, faster than average for all occupations. An increasing emphasis in high school and college sports will require more knowledgable coaches in areas of fitness, strength, performance and nutrition. Even scouts for college or professional sports teams will need to have basic understanding of fitness and agility. 

  • Typical entry-level education for a coach or scout is a bachelor's degree, however specialized master's degree in exercise science can help lead to specialized coaching duties at higher levels of compeition. 
  • The median annual wage for a coach or scout was $32,270 in 2017.

Recreational therapist: A recreational therapist help to plan exercise and movement-based therapy programs for people with disabilities, injuries or illness. Employment in this field is expected to grow 7% through 2026, which is as fast as the average job growth. 

  • A master's degree in this field can lead to significant increases in page range. 
  • The median annual wage for a reacrational therapist was $47,680 in 2017.

Exercise Phsyiologists: Employment in this field is expected to grow 13% through 2026, faster than most careers in the United States. If you enjoy developing fitness plans that help patients recover from chronic disease, this is the field for you. 

  • A master's degree program helps exercise phsyiologists advance in their careers and give a competitive advantage in the field. 
  • The medium annual wages for exercise physiologists was $49,090 in 2017. The highest 10 percent of employees earn more than $75,000 per year.

What kind of jobs can you get with an exercise science degree?

Earning your online exercise science master’s degree at Cal U will open up numerous opportunities to start or advance in many occupations and related career fields. Here’s a checklist of potential career pathways (NOTE: Some of these career pathways may require additional education):

  • Activity Specialist
  • Aerobics Instructor
  • Anatomist
  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Scout
  • Athletic Therapist
  • Camp Director
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Community Program Director
  • Entrepreneur
  • Ergonomist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Fitness Coach
  • Fitness Consultant
  • Gym Manager
  • Healthcare Aide
  • Health Care Consultant
  • Health Educator
  • Kinesiologist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Military Officer
  • Orthopaedic Technician
  • Osteopathic Physician
  • Personal Trainer
  • Physiologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Recreation and Leisure Supervisor
  • Recreation and Sports Director
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Research Assistant
  • Retail Sales Associate
  • Spa Manager
  • Sporting Goods Sales Rep
  • Sports Agent
  • Sports Coach
  • Sports Facility Manager
  • Sports Medicine Physician
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • University Professor
  • Wellness Coordinator

How much money can you make with a degree in exercise science?

If salary is the driving factor behind your decision to work in the fitness career, then there are a wide variety of payscales within the industry. Entry-level fitness trainers can make around $39,000, while being the CEO of a gym chain can net an average salary of $1-5 million. 

It is important to find the aspect of the industry in which you most enjoy and feel mots comfortable working in. If the technology side is more your style, a fitness tech engineering makes an average salary of $125,000. Your salary options are relatively endless depending on the career path you would like to pursue.

These salaries are really just the beginning of options available. The exercise science industry is expected to grow 10% through 2026 to serve aging populations and the increased interest in healthy living.

Degree Options at Cal U

California University of Pennsylvania is a nationally respected leader for outstanding online exercise science master’s degree programs. Cal U offers you excellent options:

Graduates of Cal U’s online master’s degree programs in exercise science and health promotion are successful professionals in athletics, fitness, health and wellness, healthcare and many other related fields. You’ll find Cal U exercise science alumni in a wide range of top jobs at leading employers, including:

  • Top fitness companies such as LA Fitness.
  • Professional sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL).
  • More than 50 major sports teams (Boston Celtics to L.A. Rams).
  • Leading hospitals and healthcare systems.
  • Military leaders in health and fitness. 

Get started on your career path by earning your master’s in exercise science online at Cal U. Apply now! 


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Top 10 Reasons

Earn an Exercise Science Master’s Degree

Learn how a versatile Cal U graduate degree in exercise science and health promotion qualifies you for exciting jobs, solid career paths and your own personal growth.  

Learn more.

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Exercise Science

Online Master's Degree Programs

Review Cal U’s comprehensive list of online master’s degree programs in exercise science and health promotion, plus graduate certificates and pathways to national certification.

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Concentrations and Dual Focus

How You Can Choose the Right Exercise Science Pathway

Build your skills and pursue your interests in the field of exercise science with the choice of five concentrations and nine dual concentrations at Cal U. 

Learn more.

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Prepare for Certification

Get an Important Job Advantage

Move to the next level in the field of exercise science at Cal U by preparing for exams to earn your national certification.

Learn more.