Do you enjoy exercise and living an active lifestyle? Can you picture yourself motivating others to become or stay physically active?

East Carolina University's health fitness specialist degree program could be a great fit for you. We seek students who are passionate about helping others reach their health and fitness goals. This major provides students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to develop and conduct health and fitness programs in commercial, corporate, public, and private settings such as personal training and athletic performance facilities. This program is endorsed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

In addition to classroom education, health fitness specialist majors have the opportunity to develop skills in classrooms, laboratories, and real-world settings. Many courses offer students the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people through volunteer and community events. Students interested in working with children or overweight teens can apply to participate in the after-school program for children or the mentoring program for teens. The Kinesiology Majors' Club offers additional opportunities such as attending professional conferences and volunteering at events such as 5K races.

This degree includes a semester long internship that can be done anywhere in the U.S. as well as internationally. Health fitness majors from East Carolina University have an excellent reputation as interns. Our interns compete nationally and we consistently place interns in prestigious facilities like L & T Fitness, Aquila, Fitness Quest 10, USAA, Hilton Head Health Institute, Wake Med, IBM, as well as many other outstanding fitness-related facilities.

ECU Advantage

East Carolina University's health fitness specialist degree program graduates are hired as health fitness specialists, fitness center coordinators, personal fitness trainers, group fitness coordinators, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic performance coaches, group fitness instructors, program coordinators, and sport/ recreation leaders across the country. Our courses are taught by experienced faculty who have been "in the trenches" and continue to share their passion for health and fitness while providing students with cutting edge information. As students enter the health fitness profession, we are confident they leave our program with a strong theoretical foundation as well as strong practitioner skills.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Rhonda Kenny (169 Minges Coliseum; 252-328-0006; kennyr@ecu.edu)

The health fitness specialist program provides competencies and knowledge for students to develop and conduct health and fitness programs in commercial, corporate, clinical and community settings. This program is endorsed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. A minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA is required for admission as well as successful completion of the majors' fitness test. Students must have nine semester hours of writing intensive credit from general education. A minimum grade of C- (1.7) in all KINE courses is required to complete the degree.

Minimum degree requirement is 125 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

  • BIOL 1050 - General Biology
  • BIOL 1051 - General Biology Laboratory
  • or
  • BIOL 1100 - Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL 1101 - Principles of Biology Laboratory I
  • or
  • BIOL 1150 - Principles of Biology: A Human Approach
  • BIOL 1151 - Principles of Biology: A Human Approach Discussion
  • space
  • COMM 2020 - Fundamentals of Speech Communication or
  • COMM 2410 - Public Speaking

  • MATH 1065 - College Algebra
  • PHYS 1250 - General Physics I
  • PSYC 1000 - Introductory Psychology
  • PSYC 3206 - Developmental Psychology
2. Core - 46 s.h.
  • KINE 1101 - Physical Conditioning
  • KINE 1114 - Group Fitness Activities
  • KINE 2000 - Introductory Exercise and Sport Science
  • KINE 2202 - Motor Learning and Performance
  • KINE 2850 - Structural Kinesiology
  • KINE 3800 - Measurement of Physical Activity and Fitness
  • KINE 3801 - Measurement of Physical Activity and Fitness Laboratory
  • KINE 3805 - Physiology of Exercise
  • KINE 3806 - Physiology of Exercise Laboratory
  • KINE 3850 - Introduction to Biomechanics
  • KINE 3880 - Personal Fitness Training
  • KINE 3881 - Personal Fitness Training Laboratory
  • KINE 4020 - Exercise Adherence
  • KINE 4030 - Physical Activity and Aging
  • KINE 4801 - Pre-internship Seminar for Health Fitness Specialist
  • KINE 4805 - Exercise Evaluation and Prescription Laboratory
  • KINE 4806 - Exercise Evaluation and Prescription
  • KINE 4850 - Exercise Leadership
  • Choose 4 s.h. of KINE electives
  • Choose 3 s.h. of approved KINE electives at or above the 3000 level
  • Choose 3 s.h. from the following:
    • ATEP 2800 - Medical Nomenclature for Human Performance
    • ATEP 3350 - Concepts in Pharmacology
    • HLTH 2125 - Safety Education and First Aid
    • HLTH 2126 - Safety Education and First Aid Laboratory
    • HLTH 3002 - Women's Health Across the Lifespan
    • HLTH 3010 - Health Problems
    • HLTH 3020 - Health Disparities
    • HLTH 3050 - Public Health Systems and Policy
    • HLTH 5900 - Stress Management
3. Cognates - 21 s.h.
  • BIOL 2130 - Survey of Human Physiology and Anatomy
  • or
  • BIOL 2150 - Human Physiology and Anatomy II and
  • BIOL 2151 - Human Physiology and Anatomy II Laboratory
  • space
  • BITE 2112 - Introduction to Information Processing Technology or
  • MATH 2228 - Elementary Statistical Methods I or
  • MIS 2223 - Introduction to Computers or
  • KINE 2050 - Computer Applications in Exercise and Sport Science

  • CHEM 1020 - General Descriptive Chemistry
  • or
  • CHEM 1150 - General Chemistry I and
  • CHEM 1151 - General Chemistry Laboratory I
  • space
  • HLTH 2220 - Injury Prevention and Care Related to Physical Activity
  • HLTH 4200 - Planning and Evaluation in Health Promotion

  • NUTR 1000 - Contemporary Nutrition or
  • NUTR 2105 - Nutrition Science

  • PHYS 1251 - General Physics Laboratory I
4. Internship - 12 s.h.
  • KINE 4800 - Internship in Health Fitness
5. Electives to complete requirements for graduation.
    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Health and Physical Education/Fitness
    • Recreation Workers
    • Health and Physical Education/Fitness

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.