BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College students in Cassey Connelly’s Personal Training & Exercise Leadership course are learning to be personal trainers by working one-on-one with volunteer clients. Students meet with clients, who are Ivy Tech employees, once a week at the Northwest YMCA, following personalized fitness plans they developed according to clients’ individual needs. The students are in their second semester of the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree program, a career-focused degree that prepares students for employment as personal trainers.

“Employers want someone with an associate degree,” said Connelly, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology. “Some students have chosen to earn the career-focused AAS degree in addition to the transfer-focused Associate of Science (AS) degree because they plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree but want to work as a personal trainer while finishing the four-year degree.”

In the Personal Training & Exercise Leadership course, students learn to assess clients’ health risks and carefully select and instruct appropriate exercises for clients to help them reach their health, wellness and fitness goals.

Zach, a student in Connelly’s class, enrolled at Ivy Tech right after graduating from Mitchell High School. Because of his athletic background, he chose to pursue a degree in kinesiology and exercise science.

“Personal training is a hands-on field and sink-or-swim is the best way to learn,” he said. “We learned the basics in our first semester and now we’re applying what we’ve learned to an actual client.”

Lauren McCalister is another student in Connelly’s class and will take the Certified Personal Trainer examination at the end of the spring semester. She is employed as a wellness coach at the Northwest YMCA and when she passes the certification exam, she will be eligible to be a personal trainer.

“I am thrilled to see my career coming together as a result of my returning to school over two years ago!” said McCalister. “I will be able to transition easily into the personal training career I am seeking. The personal training class project is an excellent introduction to the interpersonal and technical skills that are required of the profession. Learning is a process best done in a group setting which is possible through this project. We are a team; the professor, the student trainer and the client volunteer.”

After McCalister graduates with her associate degree, she said she plans to continue her education at Indiana University or Indiana State University in order to work in rehabilitation as a physical therapist.

Ivy Tech Bloomington’s first class of the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Kinesiology and Exercise Science will graduate in Spring 2018.

For information about the Ivy Tech Kinesiology and Exercise Science program, visit For information about how to apply to Ivy Tech, visit

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.