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New Exercise Physiology Degree At USciences Offers More Career Paths

By Brian Kirschner

Exercise PhysiologyWith a stronger focus on clinical training and internship experiences, the new bachelor of science in exercise physiology degree at University of the Sciences positions students to immediately begin their careers after graduation or transition to the professional phases of programs such as occupational therapy or physical therapy.

Exercise physiology addresses the prevention of illness and improving the quality of life for all populations through physical activity. Exercise physiology professionals provide conditioning for a higher level of fitness and health with an awareness of safety issues for those with medical concerns.

“The exercise physiology degree provides a better fit with the University’s mission to train our students to become leaders, innovators, and skilled practitioners through a focus on clinical skills,” said Monica Taylor, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology and program director of exercise science. “With a degree in exercise physiology, students can enter directly into the workforce.”

Monica Taylor
Monica Taylor, PhD 

Typical job prospects find exercise physiology majors working in cardiac or pulmonary rehab settings, sports clinics, or private practice. In clinical practice, exercise physiologists can work with clients with chronic diseases or other medical concerns such as heart or lung diseases, cancer, mild-to-moderately obesity, or issues due to aging. In a non-clinical career path, graduates of the program work with healthy clients to improve fitness via strength and conditioning coaching, fitness and wellness programs, group exercise, or personal training.

“A student’s senior year is dedicated to an internship experience at a site,” explained Dr. Taylor who is currently setting up internships at local hospital and health centers. In addition, Dr. Taylor is developing a two-week summer study abroad experience with the first group of four students planning to study in London this summer for a global nutrition course. The study abroad option can meet requirements for or any student at the University looking to fill an elective.

Classes are conducted in a hybrid setting with slightly more than 50 percent online; however, some classes require on campus lab participation. While providing a base of coursework, the curriculum allows students flexibility in pursuing career paths.

“For example, students can take advanced topics in pediatric exercise physiology or advanced strength and conditioning. And we still have wellness management for those students interested in being a wellness director,” she said.

While most exercise physiology programs in the country are found at the graduate level, the majority of career paths do not require a master’s degree. The USciences program provides the advanced course work in topics such as cardiovascular pathophysiology, advanced exercise physiology, and pediatric clinical exercise physiology needed for career success. Once students complete the program, they will be qualified to sit for either the American College of Sports certified exercise physiologist exam or/and the National Strength and Conditioning Association certified strength and conditioning specialist exams.

In addition, students have an additional opportunity to gain research experience and present at conferences such as the mid-Atlantic American College of Sports Medicine conference.

As the program grows, Dr. Taylor is eyeing program accreditation in the future. She is also working to craft articulation agreements with community colleges so students have a direct pathway into the USciences program.

For those students currently in the exercise science and wellness management program, they have the option to finish their current degree path or transition to the new program when it starts in fall 2018.

Categories: Announcement, News, Academics, Research, Samson College, Department of Kinesiology, Exercise Science and Wellness Management, Department of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Physician Assistant Studies, Health Science, Exercise Physiology