Online Master’s Degree in Fitness – Developing a New MS Degree – Fitness Employers Feedback – Quality of Exercise Science Students -Part 3

Before I worked in academia, I owned and operated a fitness business for over seven years. The time I spent hiring and working with my staff taught me a lot about the qualities that I felt best represented an elite personal trainer. Many were not prepared. So many of these young professionals held degrees in exercise science, but were not well equipped with the right tools to make them truly effective. Upon further research, I realized that many of the degree programs were not equipping these students with the tools to become successful fitness professionals. Here is a sample of what I felt was missing from their curriculums:

  • Resistance training/weight training
  • Practicing health and fitness assessments
  • Biomechanics of resistance training
  • Implementing a medically-based fitness model
  • Program design for special populations (children, older adults, neural diseases, etc…)
  • Communication and public speaking skills (1 on 1 and groups)
  • Basic business skills in marketing, management, operations, and finance

I had to do something. So, I created my own training and educational systems that would address the gaps in my employees educational backgrounds. I did it because I believed the topics above were necessary components that graduates need to have in order to become successful personal trainers. I’m speaking from experience when I say that it’s difficult for a personal trainer to maintain a client base when they’re not proficient in areas like sales, marketing, and communication skills; these skills, and more, are necessary for repeat business.

Over the years, I soon discovered that other organizations were having similar issues. My time spent traveling to IDEA conferences and other fitness seminars around the country showed me just how important this issue had become. Many health/fitness facilities were hiring professionals who were not prepared to handle their work environment. It was mind blowing how many other fitness business owners and managers felt these former students, while highly educated, left their local colleges and gave disappointing results that reflected less on them and more on the institutions where they graduated.

I began interviewing employers, both national and internationally, on the strengths and weaknesses of the students who graduate from degree programs in exercise science. It was an enlightening experience listening to other fitness managers, because many agreed with my previous findings. The course work being offered in these degree programs were insufficient in preparing these students to operate in a real world setting.

Recently, I completed a research study that examined what health/fitness professionals (of all levels, from personal trainers, directors, faculty, to general managers) felt should be taught in an undergraduate degree program in exercise science. The following organizations also participated in the study by emailing it to their readers and members: NIRSA, Medical Fitness Association, and Personal Fitness Professional. The results of the survey were amazing at first glance.  I will share the results of the research survey with you in future blog postings.

Become an “Employer Academic Partner” to Help Shape Fitness-Exercise Science Related Degree Curriculum

Click here and Fill out the form to become an Employer Academic Partner:

If you are an executive, manager, or owner working in the health/fitness industry, become an Employer Academic Partner and participate in providing recommendations on curriculum and course development for academic programs including college certificates, associate/bachelor, and graduate degrees in exercise science/fitness.  My goal is to create academic standards and a framework of fitness qualifications within college courses to meet the needs of students, employers and the health/fitness sector as a whole.  An employer partner may provide direction, insight, and guidance to ensure a students’ education prepares them to enter the workforce and become a successful employee and FITNESS PROFESSIONAL in the health/fitness/medical industry.

Please feel free to contact me by filling out the information in the link below if you are interested in becoming an Employer Partner or if you would like to provide your thoughts on the strengths/weaknesses of current academic degree programs in fitness/exercise science.

Click here and Fill out the form to become an Employer Academic Partner:

Please share this information with colleagues you know that are employers of students graduating with exercise science degrees.

Medical Fitness Association Roundtable Event-Analyzing “Undergraduate Degree Programs in Fitness/Exercise Science” by Professor Ken Baldwin

Professor Ken Baldwin will be hosting a Roundtable event reviewing research conducted on the recommended courses that should be found in a “Undergraduate Degree Programs in Fitness/Exercise Science” at the Medical Fitness Association Conference- Orlando, FL –Nov. 16, 2016.  The following organizations participated in the research study:  NIRSA, the Medical Fitness Association, and Personal Fitness Professional (PFP) Magazine.

If you are interested in attending this upcoming roundtable event at the Medical Fitness Association Conference- Orlando, FL –Nov. 16, 2016; please go the MFA website at

Online Master’s Degree in Fitness – Developing a New M.S. Degree-Part 2

In 1998, while serving as Chair of IDEA’s Personal Trainer Committee, one of my assignments was to evaluate the different educational levels of individuals interested in becoming a personal trainer or health/fitness professional.  Upon starting my research, I soon realized that there were different pathways one could select in order to enter the health and fitness industry.  Unlike those wishing to be a physical therapist, lawyer, physician, or certified public accountant (CPA), there really was not an academic model or standard required to establish an exercise science degree or for a defined educational pathway required for someone to enter the fitness or personal training profession.

I immediately began to research how other professions such as becoming a physical therapist or lawyer originated and how was an academic degree program developed to train/educate a student to enter that given profession.  Well, you can image the history and research dated back decades on how a profession is created, or how a college or university decides to establish a degree program with the goal in mind to lead a student into becoming professional in a specific career.

As I continued to review how professions and degree programs originated; I started to look at colleges and university with four-year degrees titled (this is what the majority of academic programs were called at the time and still are to this day), “Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Fitness Specialist, and Biomechanics”.   During my review, I began to categorize the required and elective courses within these degrees.  My review started with just 10 schools, and slowly grew to over 250 schools in the United States and internationally.   In addition I researched two-year community colleges to graduate school programs focusing on exercise science and other degree programs such as physical therapy, athletic training, kinesiotherapy (formerly corrective therapy) and medical school degree structure.  I created a very extensive review and analysis of every degree in the country having to do with the above programs.  I had a chance to see the strengths and weakness of each degree program offered at two and four-year institutions and began to fully realize why many students that graduated from exercise science program were failing when entering the profession once they graduated.

After all the research was completed in 2001, that is when I created the ideal academic model for an Undergraduate degree in Personal Training and a Master’s Degree in Fitness/Personal Training for those interested in becoming an elite fitness professional.  More to come in Part 3.

Online Master’s Degree in Fitness and Wellness Leadership- Developing a New M.S. Degree-Part 1


I’ve been involved in online course and academic program development for 15-years and decided about 5-years ago to begin the process of starting a new Master’s degree in Fitness at my university. I’ve been through degree/college certificate program development at two other universities; and each school has a completely different process to launch an academic program. Through this blog, I will lead you step-by-step through each stage required to develop a new Online Master’ degree in Fitness and Wellness Leadership (the official name of the degree) at my school. For those of you that always wondered how degrees are created; you are in for “educational experience” to see how it’s done.

Fitness-Exercise Science Degree-State University of New York (SUNY)-Bachelor’s in Fitness and Wellness Leadership Major

State University of New York (SUNY)-Plattsburgh Bachelor’s in Fitness and Wellness Leadership Major


Have an Exciting and Rewarding Career in One of the Fastest Growing Industries!
SUNY-Plattsburgh’s Fitness and Wellness Leadership Major prepares you to work in one of the fastest growing segments of the service industries, “employment of fitness workers is expected to increase 29% over the 2008-2018 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the U.S. Labor Department of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections. You will be qualified to work in medically-based fitness facilities, physical therapy centers, sports performance facilities, public and privately owned health clubs, hospital wellness centers, corporate fitness centers, colleges/universities, YMCAs/JCCs, and recreational/athletic sites as directors, fitness managers, supervisors, exercise leaders, elite personal trainers, and sports performance coaches.   In addition, our curriculum will prepare you to enter Graduate Degree Programs (Masters, Ph.D, or Doctoral) to specialize in Exercise Science, Athletic Training, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Masters of Public Health (M.P.H.), or Doctor of Chiropractor.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Fitness and Wellness Leadership (120 credits)

The fitness and wellness leadership major is an extensive interdisciplinary program. It provides strong content knowledge, hands-on personal training experience as well as a business, management, and clinical rotations that will help you gain employment as a personal trainer, fitness professional, health/fitness manager, and business owner.

Areas of Study within the Fitness and Wellness Leadership Major

There are five areas of study within the major. Each segment offers intensive training in:

  • Wellness/Fitness Leadership.
  • Practical Clinical Experiences/Rotations.
  • Fitness Administration.
  • Personal Training Laboratory.
  • American College of Sports Medicine® (ACSM) and other National Certifications.

Contact Professor Ken Baldwin If you have any questions about the fitness and wellness leadership major, please feel free to contact me by completing the form below.

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