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Fitness Business Management

Certificate Program

Register Online

The Online Professional Certificate in Fitness Business Management is an innovative Web-based Certificate (with an Optional Field Internship course) designed to teach students how to manage a Personal Training Program and/or a Health-Fitness Department as a Strategic Business Unit (S.B.U.).

This knowledge can be applied in both commercial and non-commercial based health and fitness facilities in the United States and/or internationally. The program was developed to establish an industry standard in fitness management education for allied health and fitness professionals, personal trainers, fitness managers, and entrepreneurs that wish to establish a successful business model and fitness operation.

Specific learning topics include fitness management, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, personnel management, customer service, and business administration concepts. The certificate prepares students to implement successful business systems in the following settings: private and commercial health clubs, medically-based fitness facilities, community wellness centers, personal training studios, physical therapy clinics, YMCA’s, JCC’s, college/university centers, recreational settings, and corporate fitness centers.

A competitive advantage offered in the program is the optional field internship which enables students to practice fitness management concepts in a health and fitness setting. This program is offered in partnership with the National Posture Institute (NPI), IDEA Health & Fitness Association, Health Club Managers, Inc., and Personal Fitness Professional (PFP). NPI provides graduating students with a registration discount for their Online Certified Posture Specialist Program. IDEA has provided content/curriculum in the program; in addition, students receive a complimentary 6-month membership to the digital edition of IDEA Fitness Journal. Health Club Managers, a Health Club Staff/Management Training company, is providing graduating certificate students a preferred discount on their services. PFP is providing students with a 3 year free subscription, which includes 8 print issues per year, a bi-monthly e-newsletter, access to their digital magazine and an interactive website with blogs, polls, articles and much more.

Who Should Attend

The Certificate Program is for (1) current managers that are wishing to implement successful fitness management systems, (2) current allied health and fitness professionals and personal trainers interested in establishing a fitness business or becoming fitness managers, (3) education directors of multi-site facilities or chains developing fitness professionals and fitness managers, and (4) companies that require the certificate program as a professional development program for employees to achieve key business goals, career objectives, and skills to advance beyond entry-level positions.

Program Requirements

To earn the certificate you are required to complete all four core courses. The four core courses are offered in an OPEN ENROLLMENT FORMAT, meaning you can register AT ANY TIME, and once logged in, you are provided 8 full weeks of unlimited access for each individual course you registered for with no penalty for finishing early. Typically the program can be completed in as little as 10 weeks, but you must complete the requirements within two-years.

Workplace Advantages and Benefits

  • Ongoing guidance, instruction, and interaction from instructors that hold either a Master’s, MBA, or Ph.D. degree in business administration, finance, exercise physiology, kinesiology, or an exercise science-related degree.
  • Our instructors will support their students and become valuable resources and mentors well after they graduate. 
  • Optional onsite Fitness Management Internship Course.
  • A professional certificate from an accredited institution.
  • College courses provide CECs or CEUs for personal trainers and allied health/medical professionals seeking re-certification, re-licensure, or career advancement.
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts.

Award of the Certificates

  • Professional Certificate in Fitness Management: complete all four core courses within a period of two years
  • Complete and receive a passing grade of (C- or above) in all courses: which includes quizzes, exams, written/research projects, and class assignments

Why Online Learning?

  • Learning occurs in a user-friendly environment and is accessible to participants with little or no computer experience.
  • Online courses give you the knowledge and tools you need to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing professional marketplace.
  • Online education allows students to access their courses from anywhere there is an Internet connection even if you are traveling for business or on vacation.
  • Flexibility: Students can attend class in the comfort and convenience of their own home, office, library, or internet café and complete assignments after breakfast, during lunch, late at night, while on vacation, or any time that is convenient for the student.
  • Cost-effective: expenses related to facilities, travel, and non-productive time is reduced.

Continuing Education Credits

For a complete list of the organizations and associations that have approved this program for continuing education, CLICK HERE.


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Program Coordinator

David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS, is the program coordinator and an instructor for the Professional Certificate in Fitness Business Management. He has over 13 years work experience in health and fitness, and is currently the General Manager for the Healthplex Fitness Center at the Institute for Advanced Medicine in the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System in Sarasota, FL. David is responsible for the strategic planning and operational oversight for the Healthplex, a new 80,000 square foot state-of-the-art medically-integrated health and wellness center. David attained his Master of Business Administration from Franklin University in Columbus, OH and his Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Exercise Science from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. David recently finished a three-year term as the Chairman for Florida Regional Chapter of the Medical Fitness Association (MFA), continues to serve on national committees for MFA, and was the 2009 recipient of the MFA Don Schneider Distinguished Service Award. He is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Leadership Sarasota County, and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Certificate Course Descriptions

Course 1: Business Development and Entrepreneurship in Fitness...... $249
Instructor: David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS
This course examines the planning process for starting a new venture, as well as the most common approaches to develop a strategic business plan for specific types of health and fitness-related facilities. The course presents the skill-sets and competencies that the fitness manager needs in order to be a successful entrepreneur, owner, or department head. Studies of topics include planning policies and procedures, entrepreneurship, business plan development, budget formulation, and strategic planning.

Course 2: Financial Principles and Business Concepts...... $249
Instructor: David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS
This course provides an introduction to financial and managerial accounting concepts, revenue and budgetary procedures, and the financial status necessary to be a successful business entity in the fitness industry. Topics include fee structures, financial impact analysis, price setting strategies, financial forecasting, and the relationship between financial analysis and strategic business planning. The course examines additional business concepts including purchasing, contractual agreements, risk management and negligence, technology issues, and other fiscal concerns.

Course 3: Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service Management (CSM)...... $249
Instructor: David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS
This course offers a comprehensive exploration of how successful marketing and branding guides a company’s business strategy and influences, discovers, and creates a demand for fitness services and products. Examination of the elements of the marketing mix as they pertain to the fitness enterprise include sales and service management strategies, customer relationship management methods, and sales techniques in fitness.

Course 4: Fitness Management and Business Administration...... $249
Instructor: David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS
This course provides an examination of the organization and administration of for profit and not-for-profit health/fitness facilities, with emphasis on business management principles and operational concepts, including organizational structure, facility management, industry standards and guidelines, personnel management, and management practices. The course helps the fitness manager develop leadership skills, managerial or administrative skills, and interpersonal or human skills. The course is supplemented by the analysis and review of fitness management situations through observations and case studies.

Course 5: Optional Elective-Field Internship in Fitness Business Management ...... $299
Instructor: David Flench, MBA, ACSM HFS
Prerequisite: 4 Core Courses

NOTE: This course is an optional course and is not required to receive the Professional Certificate. Learn to work with professionals in the fitness and health industry for a Fitness Management experience interning at fitness facilities and health centers. Students intern for 60 total hours in this course.

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