Courses & Programs

Health & Fitness Specialist Certificate

Patricia Mantia

Chair, Health Fitness Nutrition

Health Sciences

Bartley Center 100B

413.552.2449 (Tel)

what will you learn?

The Health & Fitness Specialist Certification program prepares the student for a variety of employment opportunities within the health and fitness industry. Credits from the certificate program are transferable into the Associateof Science Degree program at HCC or other academic institutions.


Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the exercise leader.
  • Identify and discuss the components of fitness and explain how they relate to wellness.
  • Describe and discuss human movement from physiological and biomechanical perspectives.
  • Define and discuss ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) guidelines for fitness programs.
  • Discuss exercise programming considerations for populations with medical concerns and explain basic emergency medical care.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in technical skills related to exercise science and/or nutrition.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in interpersonal communication skills.
  • Meet objectives required for successful completion of national certification exams when appropriate.

what will you do?

Transfer to a four-year college or university, or enter the workforce! Options include: 

  • Physical Education
  • Community & Public Health Nutrition
  • Individual Nutrition/Wellness Consulting
  • Fitness Instruction
  • Health Promotion and Programming

Learn more at HCC's Advising, Career & Transfer Center and at What Can I Do With This Major?

29 total credits

23 credits program requirements + 6 credits electives

No online courses are available for this program.

program requirements

A general introduction to the human body stressing health vs. disease. In addition to an overview of the structure and function of various cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems, many social and ethical issues will be addressed. Each organ system will be examined with an emphasis on the integration of all of the systems. Laboratory exercises supplement the lecture, offering a hands-on approach and some experimentation. The lab includes dissection of (or observation of) preserved animal specimens. NOTE: This course does not satisfy the requirement of programs requiring a full year of anatomy and physiology.
Provides the knowledge and skills called for in most situations in which emergency care is required and medical assistance is not excessively delayed. An introduction to CPR is included. Course will be taught by a Nationally Certified CPR/First Aid Instructor. Grading is on a Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory basis.Students can not receive credit for both HFN 104 and HFN 103.
This is a first aid and CPR course geared towards the physical educator, coach, and/or fitness instructor. The course includes assessment and emergency care for sports related injuries, illness, spine, and musculoskeletal injuries. CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver are included. This program is used for certification by American Sport Education Program. Students may not receive credit for both HFN 104 and HFN 103.
This course is designed to teach the student about positive and negative aspects of sports supplements for enhanced motor performance. Students will examine the history of sports supplementation in Olympic and other competitive events and discuss legal aspects of sports supplements. The role of the FDA and other agencies will be discussed as students examine various popular performance enhancing drugs and herbal supplements.
An introductory course on the safe and effective resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning for fun, health, and self-improvement.
This course is designed to teach the basic skills of health and wellness counseling to non-professionally trained counselors. The course includes theory of counseling and behavior change as well as practical skills such as attending, observational, responding and influencing skills. Students will learn and discuss ethical and legal issues related to health and wellness counseling.
An experiential course that includes classroom discussion and internship opportunities to enhance the learning experiences of the fitness professional. This course is open to all students pursuing a certificate and/or degree in fitness/physical education, e.g., personal trainers, group exercise leaders, exercise specialists, and fitness managers. Prerequisite: PER 134, PER 172, or PER 183, or with permission of instructor.
An introduction to the structure and function of the body as related to human movement and physical activity. Course includes discussion of the anatomical considerations for movement, functional anatomy, and mechanics and laws of motion as related to the human body. Prerequisite: BIO 100 or BIO 103 or BIO 107 or BIO 111 or BIO 217
An introduction to the study of human physiology as it relates to acute and chronic exercise across the lifespan. In this course, the student will study the systemic aspects of nerve, musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory, and thermal, and endocrine physiology, with an emphasis on practical application to exercise. Students will examine the effects of nutrition and supplementation on exercise performance. Prerequisite: BIO 217
An introduction to the science of nutrition as it applies to everyday life. Students will learn how to apply the logic of science to their own nutritional concerns. Topics include the six major nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. The course also will examine energy balance, weight control, the digestive process, nutrition fads, supplements, fiber, and disease as it relates to nutrition and fitness. A dietary computer application is used throughout the semester to track personal dietary, energy, and fitness. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENG 101.


This course is designed to help members of the HCC and local communities learn how to develop and follow a plan for healthy living. This course includes topics such as physical fitness, nutrition, stress management and other current health-related issues. Emphasis is on application of material. Students are required to dress for physical and other types of activities.
A comprehensive course that is designed to prepare the fitness enthusiast for the position of aerobics/step aerobics instructor and for successful completion of an international certification exam. The course includes a combination of scientifically based theoretical information and practical experience as needed to lead others safely through group exercise. Topics include exercise science, components of fitness, injury prevention and leadership skills. Practical skills such as use of music, cueing, movement transitions, choreography development and mirror image teaching are practiced for traditional and step aerobics. Additional class formats such as kickboxing, mat training, yoga, slide training and others will be discussed.
A survey course that examines the roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer/fitness counselor. This course is designed to prepare the student for the role of the fitness trainer and for successful completion of an International Personal Trainer Certification. This course includes both theoretical information and practical application of knowledge and skills used by the trainer. Topics include exercise science, components of fitness, fitness assessments, leadership skills and business aspects of personal training. Case studies and projects will be used to apply concepts to the practical environment.
This course is designed to prepare the firefighter for the role of fitness trainer and for successful completion of a national examination. This survey course examines the roles and responsibilities of the fitness leader and is highly specific to the special needs and demands of firefighting. The course includes both theoretical information and practical application of knowledge and skills.
A detailed study of strength/endurance training principles and practices. Topics include anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, biomechanics, and measurement of strength and endurance. Students will learn to use the science of exercise in a practical format and design resistance programs to meet health related and motor performance goals. Students will examine and practice training techniques used in recreational fitness and competitive lifting. Prerequisite: HFN 183 or HFN 134 or BIO 217
An introduction to the science of nutrition for nutrition majors. Topics include the six essential nutrients: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. For each nutrient, the following is discussed: chemical structures, physical characteristics, digestion, absorption, and metabolism, role in the body, effects of deficiency and excess, food sources, and human requirements at various life stages.Prerequisites: BIO 100, BIO 107, BIO 217 Prerequisite or Corequisite: CHM 221

Students can choose from four concentrations:

HFN 115 and NTR 230 are required to complete this concentration.

HFN 134 and HFN 183 are required to complete this concentration.

Choose two of these three courses to complete this concentration: HFN 134, HFN 183 or HFN 184.

HFN 183 and HFN 185 are required to complete this concentration.

Students who are seriously considering pursuing a degree program are encouraged to take BIO 217 Anatomy and Physiology I (has pre-requisite of BIO 100, 103, or 107 of C or better) and BIO 218 Anatomy and Physiology II in place of BIO 111 as they will be required for a degree program.

HFN 190 should be taken as one of the final classes in this program.