Fitness Leadership Certificate of Achievement (Certificate of Achievement, 2020-2021)

Program Info

Year Established
Program Code
Degree Type
Certificate of Achievement

Program Description


Designed to help students respond to the increasing demand for highly-trained, certified exercise instructors and personal trainers in national fitness clubs, corporate fitness centers, area-wide recreation facilities and hospitals. To become a successful fitness trainer, an individual needs to be knowledgeable in exercise science, skilled at motivating individuals to make lifestyle changes, and aware of current and future trends in the profession. This programs offer a wide variety of courses including Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Methods of Teaching Exercise, Advanced Strength Training, Wellness, and Assessing Fitness and Sport skills all designed to give the student experience in the field that will lead to job opportunities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Devise the appropriate exercise prescription for a variety of populations (e.g., obese, athlete, diabetic) following the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.
  2. Demonstrate procedures for assessing skill and health-related components of physical fitness based on guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine.
  3. Diagram the facility requirements for a wellness center as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine.
  4. Perform the appropriate response to the injury situations that are likely to happen in an exercise setting.
Career Opportunities

Following completion of the certificate program, many students move into the Associate of Applied Science program in Fitness Leadership. Attaining the certificate first, enables the student to begin working in the field and collecting valuable work experience. HFC has an articulation agreement with Eastern Michigan University (EMU) allowing for a smooth transition to the University without a loss of credit hours. Additionally, many students transfer to Wayne State University (WSU) which has excellent programs in exercise science, nutrition, health, coaching, and physical therapy.

A third party independent study funded by the American Council on Exercise completed a study of salaries on people working as personal trainers and group exercise leaders in 2013. The study reported a 12% increase in salaries since 2010, the time of the last study. Currently, the average national salary for personal trainers and group exercise leaders working full-time is $52,537 and for those working part-time in north central United States, exercise instructors are averaging an hourly rate of $26. The survey can be accessed at

A future exercise leader who can work one-on-one with people wanting to improve their health as well as teach classes in aerobics, yoga, or water exercise can find an exciting career path with the Fitness Leadership program. This program provides the student with the credentials and experience to become a leader in the fitness industry.

Registry / Certification / Licensure Exam Information

Many students are interested in taking the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) industry certification exams at the completion of the program. The certificate/associate’s degree from HFC serves as a much higher level of certification than the various industry certification exams. Even though this is the case, many students take the industry certification exam and do very well. The classes that will specifically prepare students for the various industry certification exams are HPE 270 -Exercise Physiology and 
HPE 151-Methods for Teaching Exercise.

Statistics provided by ACE and ACSM have shown that students who have received training from a college perform well on certification exams.

The Fitness Leadership certificate serves as an excellent foundation for students entering other careers such as nursing, physical therapy, community health and business. Students may find that having two complementary areas of concentration and expertise makes them more marketable.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements and Eligibility

There are no special requirements to the program. You simply need to claim Fitness Leadership as your course of study when you apply to the college or register for classes. It is best to follow the suggested sequence of classes listed for the program.

Program Requirements

Minimum Total Credit Hours
Requirements are subject to change. The information represented here is effective starting Fall 2020 and applies to the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the My Progress section of HFC Self Service.