For successfully meeting established criteria, the National Strength and Conditioning Association officially recognizes Pennsylvania College of Technology's Physical Fitness major.

Physical Fitness Specialist (FS)

(Effective Fall 2013)

This curriculum provides an excellent combination of exercise theory, practical knowledge, and hands-on experience. Students use a wide variety of state-of-the-art equipment that is reflective of the current practice in the fitness industry. Hands-on learning experiences, coupled with assigned clients and 215 hours of fieldwork in a fitness facility, distinguish this major from all others.

Career Opportunities

Based upon reports from the field and program research, graduates will find jobs in wellness centers, fitness centers, health care agencies, rehabilitation centers and agencies, convalescent homes, vacation/resort areas with fitness facilities, and with fitness equipment manufacturing/sales companies. Entrepreneurial activities also are anticipated. Types of jobs/job titles projected include health/fitness business owner, health/fitness director, health/fitness instructor, exercise leader, personal trainer, fitness equipment salesperson, fitness program salesperson, business manager (for fitness equipment production and sales).

Recommended High School Subjects

College preparatory course work is recommended. Students interested in this major, while in high school, should take courses as follows: at least three units of science (at least one unit should be biology with a lab); at least three units of math with Algebra I or Applied Math II (and Algebra II is recommended); at least four units of English; at least four units of social studies; and courses that help develop good oral and written communication skills.

Special Admissions Requirements

Because of the physical requirements of the major and the potential for physical contact in courses and fieldwork experiences in this program, students must be in exceptionally good health. Prior to entry into the major, students must have thorough health checkups and required vaccinations, and bear full financial responsibility for these expenses. Proof of health checkups will be required before entering this major. Proof of legal/character clearances and/or liability insurance may be required before entering the major or before laboratory/field experiences as deemed appropriate by the department head.

Remediation Strategies

All entering students will be tested for English, math, and reading deficiencies. Students are expected to remediate any deficiencies as explained in this catalog (see ).

Transfer Procedures

Graduates from this major can transfer into Penn College's Technology Management B.S. major. A.A.S. graduates with certification can request evaluation for entry into the B.S. in Applied Health Studies (BAH). Students desiring to transfer into a bachelor-degree major need to work closely with an adviser to maximize transferable credits. This major will subscribe to the transfer standards of the College.

International health credentials/licensure, sciences courses, and most math courses will not be accepted to satisfy requirements of this major. Please see additional information for international students applying to Health Sciences majors.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:

  • discuss the physiological basis of the major components of physical fitness: cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, flexibility, power, functional movement and muscle imbalances.
  • define the psychological principles which are critical to health/wellness behavior change: behavior modification, reinforcement, goal setting, social support and peer pressure.
  • describe and apply the personal communication skills necessary to develop rapport in order to motivate clients to begin, enhance, adhere or return to an exercise program.
  • describe, discuss, contrast, compare and evaluate the roles of modern healthcare and physical fitness.
  • describe and demonstrate assessment techniques and methods for: cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, flexibility, power, functional fitness and power.
  • demonstrate the skills necessary to obtain CPR and First Aid certification.
  • identify and apply the skills needed for problem solving and critical thinking.
  • distinguish between various exercise training modalities and their outcome.
  • describe, demonstrate and apply knowledge of the components and functions of the human anatomy related to exercise training.
  • design exercise-training programs based upon evaluation, development, accepted training principles and maintenance of healthy levels of fitness.
  • identify, evaluate, operate, and be able to instruct with various types of exercise training equipment.
  • actively experience the various modalities of exercise training.
  • assess dietary habits and prescribe developmental and maintenance interventions.
  • access and assess information technology and data appropriately.


First SemesterCredits
FYE101First Year Experience 1 
BIO103Human Anatomy and Physiology Survey 4 
CSC124Information, Technology, and Society 3 
ENL111English Composition I 3 
PFS170Specialist Resistance Training 2 
PFS210Fitness and Wellness: Behavior Self Management 3 
PFS125Principles of Movement 2 
Second SemesterCredits
SPC102Fundamentals of Small Group Communication 3 
MTHMathematics Elective 3 
PFS225Fundamentals of Human Performance 3 
SPN180Fitness Nutrition 3 
PFS175Group Fitness Leader Training 2 
PFS214Fitness Testing and Interpretation 2 
PFS217Cardiovascular Programming 2 
Third SemesterCredits
PFS220Organization and Leadership of Fitness Programs 3 
FIT204First Aid, Responding to Emergencies 2 
PSY111General Psychology 3 
SPN224Nutrition for Special Populations 3 
PFS150Group Exercise Program Survey 1 
PFS213Behavior Modification Strategies 1 
PFS232Fitness Management: Theory and Application 3 
PFS235Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Movement and Exercise 1 
Fourth SemesterCredits
PFS226Introduction to Personal Training 3 
PFS250Professional Fieldwork 3 
SPN228Nutrition for the Athlete and Bodybuilder 3 
PFS234Exercise Prescription for Special Populations 3 
PFS212Introduction to Chiropractic Exercise Rehabilitation 3 

BIO 103 and Math Elective - Students desiring entry into other associate degree programs (especially Health Sciences related programs) or any bachelor degree program need to consult with their adviser regarding best options in these areas.

Additional Information

A.A.S. graduates with a professional portfolio of physical fitness certifications, attendance at workshops and clinics, and/or employment experience can request nontraditional credit evaluation, which can apply toward Penn College's Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Studies. Students bear full costs for taking physical fitness/aerobic certification exams. Students required to have special legal/character clearances for fieldwork experiences will bear full financial responsibility for expenses. Students will be fully responsible for their own transportation, including to fieldwork sites. Fieldwork sites might not be readily available in the Williamsport area and students might have to travel and or relocate to be able to complete fieldwork requirements. Students are required to carry health insurance and might be required to carry liability insurance at fieldwork sites, and will be financially responsible for costs of the bonding. Students should be aware that fieldwork sites can demand criminal background checks and can refuse to allow students access to fieldwork with them if there is a history of criminal activity and/or drug abuse. Inability to access or complete fieldwork experiences will result in inability to meet program and course objectives and required outcomes.

For successfully meeting established criteria, the National Strength and Conditioning Association officially recognizes Pennsylvania College of Technology's Physical Fitness major.