Guide to Studying Distance Education Courses in the Health & Fitness Industry

If you have an interest in pursuing a career in the Health & Fitness industry, now’s the time to get started. With society becoming more health-conscious and gaining a better understanding of the benefits of physical activity, the Health & Fitness industry is growing rapidly. The Australian fitness industry’s revenue is expected to increase at an annualised 1.8% from now to 2022/23 to reach $2.4 billion. Additionally, the Australian government is funding a $1.3 billion Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan to improve health care and generate job growth in health and medical fields.

The Health & Fitness industry evidently offers excellent career prospects, so studying in the industry is a valuable way to establish a thriving career. Online courses can offer an affordable and accessible way of earning a relevant qualification in an environment that allows for a balance between studying, work, and other life commitments. With this in mind, this guide offers information and guidance for studying distance education courses in the Health & Fitness industry.

Counselling & Psychology 

With an increasing public need for psychological counselling, the job opportunities for counsellors are numerous. A career as a counsellor involves guiding clients through rehabilitative plans to address a variety of issues, including relationship, medical, social, educational, and vocational difficulties. Counsellors work with people to help them define, identify, and resolve emotional issues through therapeutic means. They can find employment in a wide variety of fields, including family counselling, conflict resolution, welfare, and social work, life coaching, sports coaching, health care, and education, amongst others.

When studying Counselling & Psychology through distance education, you’ll typically complete written assessments at the end of most units, some of which may include research tasks that have word limits. These assessments are graded by a tutor. An online Counselling & Psychology course, such as the one offered by the International Career Institute, is self-paced and must be completed within 3 years. It can be completed within 200 hours, and 3 to 4 hours of study a week is required for graduation within 1 year. Students who want to complete their diploma earlier than that can dedicate up to 3 hours a day to study.

A few recommended tips for studying Counselling & Psychology courses are as follows:

  • Set a major goal and always keep in mind why you’re studying this qualification. Online classes are entirely self-driven, so you want to focus on your career goal to ensure you approach your course with conviction.
  • Use online resources that are made available to you to help you progress through your course. You have access to a tutor and all course materials to aid you as you work toward completing your diploma.
  • Ask questions any time you’re struggling with a difficult psychological concept. Typically, online courses build off the knowledge covered in the previous week’s classes, so if you don’t understand something covered in the previous week, it will be harder to understand the next week’s lessons. Don’t hesitate to contact your tutor for help if you’re confused or have a question.

Personal Training

With the fitness industry burgeoning, becoming a personal trainer will give you access to diverse opportunities for employment in fitness centres, gyms, health clubs, or your own training business. A personal trainer trains and motivates clients, and keeps them accountable for their progress. They help clients achieve their fitness goals by educating them using their knowledge of the human body and creating personalised training plans and programs. This career field is perfect for someone who enjoys being on their feet and making a difference in the lives of others.

Distance education courses in Personal Training will generally consist of written assessments at the end of each unit. These assessments have set tasks and are graded by tutors. At the International Career Institute, on average, students complete the Personal Training course within 24 weeks. However, students have up to 3 years to complete the program. Online Personal Training courses are usually self-paced, so you can study when it’s most convenient for you and in your own time.

Below are some tips for success in a Personal Training course:

  • Focus on the end goal, because earning that certification will boost your chances of landing a job, and proof of your knowledge will help you earn the confidence of future employers and clients.
  • Stay dedicated to the course by honestly assessing how much time you can dedicate to studying each day. Personal training can involve learning complex programming, business, and biological information.
  • Use effective note-taking strategies by creating chapter-by-chapter notes from the coursework and materials provided by your instructor. Note-taking will enhance your learning skills and help you remember key points for success in your course.


Massage therapy is an increasingly popular method to treat body pain, stiffness, and tension. But massage therapists do far more than just reduce muscle pain and tension. They also assist people in increasing their flexibility, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation and sleeping habits, and easing anxiety to improve mental health. With a qualification in Massage, you can find many opportunities to work in fitness centres, massage practices, spas, or start your own business.

Most online Massage course units have various assessments or writing assignments at the end, all with specific requirements and graded by tutors. At the International Career Institute, the Massage course can be completed within 200 hours at your own pace and within a maximum of 3 years. Students who want to complete the qualification within 1 year should plan on studying around 3 to 4 hours per week, and those who want to fast-track their education can do so by studying 3 hours each day.

A few tips to succeed in distance education Massage courses are:

  • Use flashcards to help you study the various areas of massage therapy you’ll learn, such as physiology and anatomy. You can create them either manually or digitally to help you review key terms and definitions before your assessments.
  • Actively participate in online forums dedicated to your course to better understand class materials and connect with fellow classmates. Set a goal to check in on class discussion threads every day, and use the forums to ask questions and clarify course content.
  • Eliminate distractions that will prevent you from achieving your educational goals. Find a quiet place to work and regularly dedicate that space to your studies. Turn off your phone as it will likely distract you from studying.

Natural Health (Nutrition)

Society is becoming increasingly aware of the important role nutrition plays in their health and wellness, and that has created a surge in demand for nutritionists and natural health professionals. A nutrition practitioner improves clients’ lives by addressing their nutrition and recommending healthier diets. Providing nutritional-based support will allow you to make an immediate and lasting effect on your clients’ lives. You can find a career as a dietician, nutritionist, or weight-loss consultant working for someone else or in your own private consultancy.

Online Natural Health (Nutrition) courses typically feature writing assignments and question and answer assessments that must be completed at the end of the units. Some of these tasks will have specific word limits and research requirements. At the International Career Institute, the average completion time for the Natural Health (Nutrition) course is 24 weeks or roughly 200 hours. Courses can be completed sooner if students study 3 to 4 hours per week, and even faster for those who can dedicate 3 hours a day to study. Distance education courses are self-paced, but generally have a maximum number of years within which they must be completed.

Use the following suggestions to increase your success in an online Natural Health (Nutrition) course:

  • Engage in your courses as they will keep you in the know. The better you are at identifying unhealthy, fad diets and learning safe eating habits, the better you can serve your clients.
  • Determine your future by immersing yourself in the variety of materials covered by the course. Your qualification can take you into a wide range of professions, including food science, hospitality management, medicine, nursing, and dietetics.
  • Learn at your own pace as this field is one full of information, and an online learning experience means you can progress at a speed that suits your learning style and lifestyle. This approach allows you to spend more time reviewing the information and new concepts taught in class.

Nursing and Patient Care Assisting

As the population ages and lives longer, the demand for Nursing and Patient Care Assisting increases. With a qualification from an online course in this field, you can find employment as a nursing assistant, health care aide, or patient care assistant in hospitals, residential care facilities, or nursing or group homes. Any of these positions require patience, a desire to help people, a compassionate personality, and an understanding of the duties required for clinical care. Those duties can include catering, cleaning, traditional orderly duties, and transportation and procedural practices.

Online Nursing and Patient Care Assisting courses are usually self-paced and feature written assignments and assessments that take place at the end of the units. Generally, at the International Career Institute, students complete the Nursing and Patient Care Assisting coursework in 31 weeks. For students who want to complete the course within 1 year, at least 3 to 4 hours of study per week is recommended. The diploma can be achieved sooner for students who can dedicate 3 or more hours to study per day.

To succeed in your Nursing and Patient Care Assisting course, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Immerse yourself in digital communication and training to help you succeed in your course and career. Connect with your instructors and peers through online discussions, videoconferencing, and digital course resources.
  • Break down tasks and complete your studies at your own pace. Divide your time up for each class so you have control over what you’re studying, and give yourself small breaks to refresh your memory.
  • Stay motivated even during the most challenging times of your studies. Always keep your goals and objectives in mind. Recall why you’ve pursued a distance education course in this field, and think of the good you’ll do after you complete the program.

Medical Secretary

The success of a hospital or medical facility often depends upon the quality of medical secretaries who help with the behind the scenes processes. As an essential staff member, a medical secretary is often in charge of clinical, administrative, and front office duties. By taking a distance Medical Secretary course, you can develop the skills needed for important responsibilities associated with the position, including billing, scheduling appointments, overseeing coding for insurance, and assisting patients.

Online Medical Secretary courses generally have individual assessments and written assignments given at the end of the classes. At the International Career Institute, on average, the Medical Secretary course can be completed in 200 hours and is self-paced to suit your schedule. If you wish to complete the course within a year, 3 to 4 hours of study per day is recommended. Students who want to finish sooner should expect to set aside 3 hours a day for study.

Succeeding in an online Medical Secretary course can be enhanced by these tips:

  • Take clear notes so you can create a working notebook to regularly return to for studying medical terminology and legal issues.
  • Stay organised and have all your notes and files arranged in a way that makes sense to you. Keep copies of anything you submit online in case you have to resubmit it, including contributions to discussion forums.
  • Connect with your instructors early as they have the experience you can learn from. Reach out to your instructor if you need help with assignments or need feedback on your progress.

Dental Assistant

If you’d like to make a difference in people’s health, consider a career as a dental assistant. Dental assistants help dentists provide efficient treatment through sterilising, handling, and passing instruments before and during procedures, exposing dental radiographs, and taking impressions. Completing an online Dental Assistant course will prepare you for a rewarding position that has strong job prospects.

Online Dental Assistant courses generally assign question and answer assessments and written research assignments at the end of each unit. Some of these tasks have specifications and word limits and are graded by tutors. At the International Career Institute, the Dental Assistant course can be completed in 200 hours. If you intend to complete the courses within 1 year you’ll need to dedicate 3 to 4 hours to study per week. For those students who want to complete work sooner, at least 3 hours of daily study is recommended. As online courses are self-paced, students can be given up to 3 years to complete their chosen program.

Here are a few tips for success in your online Dental Assistant course:

  • Take the initiative to explore sources outside of the readings assigned by the instructor. Concepts that you find interesting or confusing are those you should make an effort to learn more about. Use the information you learn to contribute to and enhance course discussions.
  • Learn to synthesise data, a skill that can benefit you in the classroom but also as a dental assistant. This advanced skill is sought after by employers and can benefit the dentist you work alongside in the future.

Pharmacy Assistant

With an ageing population in need of prescription drugs and aware of the importance of physical and natural health, pharmacy assistants are in demand around the country. Pharmacy assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks, such as assisting licensed pharmacists with preparing and selling medications to patients at retail drugstores, completing clerical work, and operating the cash register. An online Pharmacy Assistant course will prepare you for this important role.

Distance Pharmacy Assistant courses will often involve a variety of question and answer assessments and written assignments that typically occur at the end of the units. Assignments have varying lengths and requirements and are graded by tutors. The International Career Institute’s Pharmacy Assistant course can be completed within 1 year if 3 to 4 hours of study is undertaken each week. The course can also be completed sooner if you can dedicate 3 hours a day to coursework, as the online course can be self-paced.

Follow these tips for study success in online Pharmacy Assistant courses:

  • Have effective time management skills. Review the syllabus for each of your Pharmacy Assistant units and develop a long-term plan for completing major assignments. Consider creating a daily ‘to-do’ list to keep you focused on each task.
  • Be persistent, as persistence is the key to success in distance Pharmacy Assistant program. Tolerate technical problems, work daily on your classes, ask for help when you need it, and push through the challenges you encounter.
  • Have an open mind, because your coursework and career as a pharmacy assistant will bring you into contact with ideas and perspectives that are new to you. Embrace the diversity you encounter through your classmates and instructors.

Kick-start your Health & Fitness career with a distance education course

With this guide, you should now have a better understanding of what online distance education courses in the Health & Fitness industry involve and require. Finding a focus, maintaining motivation, and using the flexibility and support provided in online education can lead you to success in your studies, as well as in your future career. You can choose a distance education program that inspires you and allows you to immerse yourself in attaining knowledge that can be used to pursue a rewarding and satisfying career.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.