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?

You can start taking courses for the Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate of Competence in Spring 2007. See the Spring 2007 Credit Class Schedule for dates, times and locations of these courses:

What do the courses include?

PHSE 190 Introduction to Kinesiology is designed for students interested in the kinesiology, exercise science and physical education professions. It will assist prospective majors in their career choices by introducing them to fields closely related to kinesiology and the physical education major, to current issues in the field, and to key events and concepts in the evolution of physical education and kinesiology as a discipline and as a profession.

NURS 151 Body Systems for Health Professions is a basic anatomy and physiology course intended for students who are preparing for a career in health professions. The content is presented from simple to complex, beginning with cellular functioning and progressing through the various organ systems. Students will learn how an organ is anatomically designed to perform a specific physiological task and how each organ system plays a role in maintaining homeostasis.

HEAL 101 Principles of Health is a survey course on the principles of health and wellness that aims to enhance the student's self-awareness through exposure to the principles of wellness. Topics covered include exercise, weight maintenance, nutrition, human sexuality, sexual responses, sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, misuse and abuse, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.

KINE 204 Techniques and Analysis in Fitness and Weight Training provides the knowledge and understanding needed to plan and implement fitness and weight training programs. This course will also offer analysis of the development, maintenance, implementation, and self-evaluation of physical fitness. The primary focus is the implementation of methods, techniques, instructional strategies, safety factors, motivation, and necessary equipment for teaching physical fitness and weight training. The laboratory portion of the course will consist of instruction and techniques in physical assessment, individual skills, and strategies in weight training, as well as stretching and flexibility and injury prevention.

KINE 210 Exercise Prescriptions for Special Populations is designed to study the exercise implications for special populations related to age, medical condition, and level of fitness. Topics include exercise prescription for cardiac conditions, diabetes, orthopedic, obese, neuromuscular, pregnant, athletic, and older adult populations. The role of exercise in risk factor modification will be addressed as well as contra indications to exercise.

HEAL 100 Nutrition focuses on the fundamentals of nutrition. Individual well-being will be discussed through the study of nutrients and their effects on the micro-environment of the living cell, correlation of these principles with diet and eating habits, influences on food choices, food safety and world health problems. Special attention will be given to nutrition throughout the life cycle, special dietary needs, and food budgeting.

KINE 292 is individualized study linking classroom learning to the workplace. Approval form must be signed by the instructor and the department chair before registration. May be taken for a total of 12 units.