If you’re active and interested in fitness, you’re wondering how to get exercise science jobs. You might already know that getting a degree in exercise science will help you land the best exercise science jobs. But, how do you decide what job to go after and how to make fitness a career instead of just a “job”. Some people don’t realize there’s more to exercise science careers than an athletic trainer, sports coach, or personal trainer. Here, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to get exercise science jobs, starting with outlining your career path.

The steps to follow include:

  1. Prioritize your outcome
  2. Identify an ideal work experience
  3. Refine the vision of a job in fitness
  4. Determine the education you need 
  5. Develop immediate and long-term plans 

Step 1: Prioritize Your Outcome

For many, they start thinking of jobs in exercise science simply because they enjoy fitness and want to make money at it. This begins the journey. Exercise, health, and wellness have so many career opportunities. Because of this, the first thing you have to consider is what’s most important to you. Therefore, you have to prioritize the outcome. This means asking yourself what’s most important for you and your life. Consider these three factors:

  1. Money
  2. Interest level
  3. Work environment

Money And Exercise Science Jobs

Most people interested in health and fitness don’t get into it because of the money. However, if money is your priority, check out the highest paying fitness science jobs here. It’s important to note, however, these salary ranges don’t account for income from owning a business. For example, it’s probable to earn well over six figures as a personal trainer. As you may guess, the higher paying jobs like a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and athletic trainer will require more education than some lower paying jobs. This is okay, however, because our steps in this article help you develop a short-term plan to get you into jobs of exercise science while you work on achieving your dream job.

Interest Level In Exercise Science

Others start looking at obtaining an exercise science degree because they want to know more about this field of study. These people love the idea of learning more about how the body responds to exercise conditions. They might also like sports medicine and research. As you prioritize what’s most important for you in the field of exercise science, ask yourself what you like to learn. Keep in mind that sports science includes concepts such as anatomy and physiology, physics, and kinesiology. If you love to work out, and fitness is more your interest, it could adjust what you do for a living and the education path you embark on for your exercise science career. However, don’t let the idea of learning about science deter you. 


You don’t have to be an ‘exercise scientist’ to get a rewarding and lucrative career. It’s just one more thing to think about as you refine this journey in your long-term career. For example, there are plenty of careers like a massage therapist, sports coach, or wellness director that isn't as science heavy. These will focus your area of study around health promotion, corporate wellness and physical activity.

Work Environment For Health And Fitness Careers

Interest level and work environment top the priorities for people considering earning a living in the science of fitness. For example, maybe you want a job with flexible hours and commitments. Or, you might want the ability to work anywhere in the world. And others want a social environment that promotes fun and physical activity.  This is great if it’s your top priority because exercise science, unlike so many other jobs, has opportunities for every imaginable work environment. So, as you’ll learn, creativity in what you can do with an exercise science degree is vast.

Step 2: Identify An Ideal Work Experience

Exercise science jobs come with an array of work experiences. And, it’s one of the top reasons people consider enrolling in an exercise program. If you’re passionate about fitness, consider how you want to spread that passion. Do you want to work with clients on a one-on-one basis? If this is the case, you can start thinking about being a health coach, massage therapist, or personal trainer. 


Maybe you like the idea of working with groups or a community. This means spreading health and wellness to more people at one time to create a greater impact. These types of jobs include being a wellness director, group fitness instructor, sports coach, or even an adjunct faculty member at a college. This is considered fitness leadership, and the jobs here are just as plentiful as working with clients one on one.

However, maybe this is a career change for you. Maybe you come to the table with business acumen and other leadership skills. In these instances, fitness entrepreneurship might be right up your alley. It also fits in nicely if you prioritize working on your terms and have financial freedom to grow beyond just what a salary will pay you. 

Step 3: Refine The Ideal Exercise Science Job Vision

At this point, you know what’s most important for you- money, interest in the work, or the day to day experience. You also know what you want your daily interactions to look like. You have the self-knowledge to determine if it’s one on one or group work. And you have considered if you want your own business or not. The next step is to find out which job out there meets all these requirements. Don’t worry about the requirements of what it takes to get there yet. Because we’ll help you carve the path to make it a realist.

Instead, create the most ideal future self you can imagine in an exercise science career. Do further research if needed. Here are a couple of thoughts to get you started:

  • Athletic Training: This might be a good choice if you want to work with athletes and in a team environment. You want to help high performers stay injury free and achieve more. The pay is above average, making it even more appealing.
  • Massage Therapist: You like the ideal of holistic health and want to help others feel better. You want the ability to manually manipulate clients to help them move and feel better. The spa work environment of a massage therapist is also a nice touch.
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation: Maybe you or a family member has had personal experience with a health scare. You like the medical side of things and want to help others increase their longevity through exercise.
  • Physical Therapist: Maybe you’ve gone through physical injury before that’s prevented you from doing what you love- moving. You also like learning about sports medicine and kinesiology. And, some day, you’d love to open your practice. 
  • Personal Training Business Owner: Helping others look and feel their best sounds great to you. Even better, you want to call the shots, working on a schedule of your time and also having a personal training team working for you.

Most importantly, realize the creativity in what you can do with exercise science. You can be a recreational therapist, a company wellness director, occupational therapist, strength and conditioning coach, health coach, and more. The world is in a state where it needs better forms of preventative health, and people are turning to the professionals in exercise science for answers. The next two steps help you determine how to get there.

Step 4: Determine The Exercise Science Education You Need

At this point, you’re reverse engineering from the ideal job you envision. It’s time to determine what type of education you need to achieve that vision. Fortunately, Lionel University has a variety of exercise science degree programs to help you get there. And, the best thing is, you can learn it all online. Just as great is their impressive history in the fitness education space. 

Regardless of the exercise job you landed on, Lionel offers what you need. Including three levels of flexible degree programs:


Don’t worry about cost yet. In your next step, we’ll help you carve out a way to make your long-term exercise science job goals come true. Additionally, thanks to financial aid, it’s easy for anyone to get an exercise science degree.

Step 5: Develop Immediate And Long-Term Plans

If the job you settled on requires a bachelor’s degree, that’s okay! You can actually work in the field as you are progressing through your studies. In fact, one of the first courses you go through at Lionel helps you earn a personal training certification. This means, as soon as the end of your first quarter with us, you can get a job as a personal trainer or online fitness coach!


As you continue your studies, you’ll also get a certification in nutrition coaching, strength and conditioning, and more. This is great because it continues to open the doors for more career opportunities as you explore what you can do with an exercise science degree. So, you can earn a fitness salary of more than $50k (and more) as a personal trainer or nutrition coach. 


Connect with an advisor at Lionel today to discuss career pathing to achieve your ideal exercise science job!