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Exercise Science-Physical Education (3121)

Exercise Science-Physical Education: Associate in Science (AS)  (3121)

Are you a natural athlete? Do you enjoy helping others achieve better health? Would you like to help people recover from illness or injury? Then our Exercise Science-Physical Education Program may be right for you.

We offer two tracks, including Exercise Science or Health and Physical Education, both of which can help you start a challenging and rewarding career in coaching, rehabilitation, fitness center management, teaching or exercise science research. 

What can I do with this in the workforce? 

Our program prepares you to transfer to a four-year program in physical education, exercise science, health, exercise physiology, kinesiology, athletic training or a similar program.
Many graduates who complete our program and continue to earn their bachelor’s degree work in:

  • Health and fitness center program management
  • Corporate health and wellness programs
  • Health and physical education teaching
  • Exercise physiology teaching and research
  • Exercise rehabilitation programs
  • Adult fitness programs

If you’re a natural leader and interested in sharing your exercise science knowledge with younger generations, you can also pursue an elementary or secondary education position upon graduation.

Many individuals who pursue the program are:

  • Interested in the science behind health
  • Physically active
  • Interested in helping others improve their health
  • A good communicator

What is the average salary?

Explore YOUR career with Career Coach! Career Coach is a helpful tool that will assist you in developing a path from your education to the job market. With Career Coach, you can find:

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  • Number of individuals currently employed within that occupation
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What is HACC’s program like?

When you enroll in our program, you can choose a specific track based on your interests and goals.

The Exercise Science track includes general education requirements, a basic science and math foundation and a broad range of exercise science courses. You’ll take classes related to exercise physiology, health, nutrition, anatomy and kinesiology, and exercise measurement and prescription.

In addition to preparing you for a four-year program at a transfer school, you will also be ready to sit for nationally accredited certified personal trainer exams including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE) and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

The Health and Physical Education track prepares you for a career in either elementary or secondary education. If you choose this track, you’ll need to be aware of the Pennsylvania Department of Education standards. The standards will help you properly prepare for your specific area of study. Also, you must have an Act 34 Criminal Background Investigation and an Act 151 Child Abuse Clearance prior to any practicum/student teaching experience and employment.

You must have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) before completing the professional-level coursework that is necessary for teacher certifications at a four-year school. You must also receive a qualifying score on the Pre-Service Academic Program Assessment (PAPA) test before you can transfer your HACC credits. 

No matter which track you choose, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities required by the national certification exams for personal training
  • Demonstrate skill in the identification of risk factors and in the description of health status
  • Conduct a variety of fitness assessments for all components of health related fitness
  • Effectively develop and implement exercise prescriptions to improve and enhance all components of health related fitness
  • Effectively educate and/or communicate with individuals regarding life style modifications to improve and enhance personal fitness, health and well-being
  • Write and speak effectively
  • Appreciate accomplishments in the arts and sciences

What classes will I take?

We encourage you to:
  • View summaries of every course at HACC by browsing our class schedules database.
  • Review our program guide (pdf) to view a list of required courses, recommended course sequencing and program competencies.
  • Browse our advising checksheet (pdf), which is also an excellent tool to help you personalize your course load each term and manage your overall advancement through our programs.

Can I transfer my credits to a four-year college or university?

Yes! Our two-year degree program is transferrable and is designed to be flexible enough to transfer to a wide variety of colleges and universities with no loss of credit. However, each individual college has their own unique program. We encourage you to select a four-year school as soon as possible. This will allow you to learn the transfer college’s program requirements so you can take the proper classes at HACC.


Lock Haven University of PA: Health and Physical Education (pdf)

Penn State Harrisburg: Exercise Science into Kinesiology (pdf)

Shippensburg University of PA: Exercise Science Physical Education into Exercise Science (pdf)

Slippery Rock University of PA: Exercise Science (pdf)

West Chester University of PA: Exercise Science and Physical Education Certification (pdf)

Wilson College: General Studies into Exercise and Sport (pdf)

Where can I complete this program?

You can complete the entire program at the Harrisburg Campus.

Does HACC offer scholarships?

Yes! With approximately 200 scholarships available through the HACC Foundation, you may be able to offset the cost of your HACC education. Visit for more information on how to apply for a scholarship.

When can I apply?

HACC holds classes in the spring, summer and fall. You can apply anytime online at our website. When you submit your application, please include the unique program code 3121 to ensure you enroll in the correct program.

How can I learn more?

If you’re passionate about health, fitness and educating others, our Exercise Science-Physical Education Program may be the first step to a long and rewarding career. We want to see you achieve YOUR goals and make the world a healthier place. For more information, including your transfer opportunities, please contact an admissions counselor, our department chair Rae Dennis or request more information online today!