Frequently Asked Questions

Why Study Fitness?

Ever since the publication of the 1994 Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, there has been increased awareness of the importance of a physically active lifestyle.  Despite this awareness, obesity rates have continued to rise.  Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, following smoking as the number one cause.  Obesity contributes to more than 300,000 deaths every year.  It is directly implicated in heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, kidney disease, several cancers, gall bladder disease, insulin resistance and proneness to accidents. 

Overweight people are twice as likely as lean people to die prematurely.  Obesity doesn’t make one sick immediately.  Obesity triggers metabolic changes that affect ones health gradually.  Obesity rates increased 40% in adults between 1980 and 1990.  In some states obesity rates increased 100% in only five years.  A nationwide survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics between 1988 and 1994 found one in five children between the ages 6 and 17 to be obese. 

The best approach to combat this growing problem is proper nutrition and exercise.  As the awareness of the beneficial effects of exercise and proper eating habits grows, the demand for qualified fitness professionals will increase.  These fitness trainers must be qualified and capable of safely and effectively prescribing programs to individuals with a wide variety of abilities and health concerns. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook, personal fitness trainers and aerobic instructors work in physical fitness centers, health clubs, and fitness centers within the amusement and recreation service industry or for civic and social organizations.  In 2002, close to 48% of the 485,000 employed recreation and fitness workers were fitness trainers or aerobic instructors, with 5% of them self employed.

According to the State of California Employment Development Department Labor Market Information, a total of 2,440 fitness professionals were working in San Diego County in 2001 and over 530 additional positions are expected to be created by 2008.  There is a growing need for trained fitness professionals.  Most of the health clubs require national certification for their personal trainers.  The Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate Program at MiraCosta College will prepare students to successfully pass a number of national certification exams.  Upon completion of the program students will be able to enter the field at entry-level or higher, as exercise testing technicians, fitness instructors, strength training instructors, aerobic instructors, and personal fitness trainers.

How long does the program take?

The Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate of Competence (PFTC) requires the completion of 18.5-21 units of course work.  Course work can be completed in a year.

What is the cost?

The current enrollment fee is $20 per unit (e.g. the enrollment fee for a three-unit class is $60) plus health fee ($14); Student Center fee of $1 per unit, $10 maximum in a calendar year; textbooks; parking and student ID (optional fees). See the Spring 2007 Credit Class Schedule for a complete explanation of fees.

Are all the classes available within a reasonable time frame to complete the program?

Yes, all required classes for the PFTC are offered over the course of a two-semester academic year.

What classes can I take now to get started on the Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate?