The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Melany Velasco/THUNDERWORD

Students Tanner Bostian and Michael Walker talk about the Highline Personal Fitness Training Program.

Fitness trainer program aims to whip your future into shape

Melany Velasco Staff Reporter May 19, 2022

If you want to make a living helping others live better, Highline has the program for you. 

The college’s Personal Fitness Trainer program prepares students for careers in health and wellness. 

The first year of the program requires 45 credits, with students eligible for a personal fitness trainer certificate upon completion of the class. A second year with another 45 credits can earn you an associate of applied science degree. 

The program is nationally accredited by two different organizations. 

First-year courses include classes on exercise fundamentals, safety procedures and first aid, adding up to 45 credits and a certificate in personal fitness training. 

Second-year courses, leading to 93 total credits and an associate of applied science degree, include fitness program design, exercise science, nutrition and Human Biology. 

“We have lecture classes that include hands-on work as well,” said Program Manager Tim Vagen. “It is one of the top personal training education centers in the country.”

Vagen has been working at Highline for 14 years.

“I’ve been with the personal training program since it started in 2008,” said Vagen. 

Tim Vagen

Vagen said he loves working out and figuring out what workouts work best with people. 

“I also liked to figure out what the best workouts were and if there was a way to make them better, so I went to college to study it,” he said. “I got a job in the National Football League and began to train athletes, kept at it for nearly 40 years and now I teach it.”

To become a personal fitness trainer, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively, be familiar with different forms of exercises, and be able to develop exercise programs, Vagen said.

Students in the program say they like what it teaches them. 

“Some things I enjoy about this program is that we get to do a lot of hands-on activities, along with Professor Vagen’s lessons that tie back to his personal experience as a trainer himself,” said Michael Walker. He transferred to Highline from Olympic College. 

“It feels good learning from someone with a lot of background knowledge in the program,” said Tanner Bostain, another student in the program. 

“I went to the Lake Washington program and was later informed that it was closing down and I had to find a different place, so I started looking into programs, saw that Highline was one in the high ranks and came to check it out,” said Bostain. 

“My goals for this program is to be the best trainer, I love being able to help people reach their fitness goals and I wanna be able to do that to the best of my ability and I know I’ll be able to do that with the help from this program.” Tanner said. 

“Why did I choose this program? Mostly because of Tim. If I have the opportunity to learn from someone who has done everything that I want to do, work with professional athletes, own a gym, and also train people for a living.” Bostian. 

“It’s just awesome to learn from him, Which is the reason I chose to make a 45-minute commute to school. It’s totally worth it,” Bostian said.

New students are now being enrolled for Fall Quarter 2022. For more information about the program visit You can reach Vagen at