Exercise Science studies the interaction between exercise and the human body, allowing for a better understanding of the benefits of exercise. Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree holders use their scientific comprehension of movement to improve the performance of their clients and design exercises that prevent disease.
If you love being active and want to share that passion with others, this program allows you to share your knowledge with diverse clients. Depending on your preference, Exercise Science can help a wide range of people, from those coping with chronic illness to athletes aiming to reach their maximum potential.
If any of this piques your curiosity, keep reading to learn about an Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree application process, curriculum, and career opportunities.
Overview of Exercise Science Degrees
Why are Exercise Science Professionals Important?
We’re all aware that the way you exercise decides many of your health outlooks. But despite the universal acceptance of this fact, people everywhere find exercise daunting because of how complicated it can be.
Most physical education programs in school don’t account for the unique health situations of their students. As a result, many don’t grow up knowing what exercises will meet their health goals. Some have tried building personal exercise plans but have yet to see results. Exercise Science professionals help people navigate this complex subject and lead them to activities that best suit their needs.
Exercise science specialists have a multidisciplinary understanding of food, chemistry, and physiology to improve people’s overall health. And their clients can range from perfectly healthy clients who want a boost to patients who need exercise to manage illnesses.
More specifically, Exercise Professionals engage in the following:
- Coordinate with allied health professionals to perform fitness assessments, which are used as a basis for clinically recommended fitness goals.
- Formulate safe exercise regimens that aid in recovery from illness, and prevent chronic disease.
- Work with nutritionists to create food programs that correspond to the activity needs of a client.
- Consistently evaluate a client’s progress, and make necessary changes based on their improvement or decline.
Besides the clinical setting, Exercise Science students also have the opportunity to work with professional athletes to develop exercise plans that cater to their sport. Those trained in this area have a particular advantage since they don’t just let athletes train themselves to the point of burnout. Instead, they are conscious of the possibilities of injury and call for appropriate bouts of rest.
Working with an Exercise Scientist also helps clients understand why they must perform specific exercises. Rather than just being instructed, these professionals help you understand the links between individual activities and their health manifestations. This aids in exercise motivation and in becoming more independent when exercising alone.
Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degrees
An Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree equips graduates with the skills to correctly assess, monitor, and improve the exercise performance of any given person.
The emphasis on creating personalized plans gives these degree holders diverse clientele and specializations. Exercise Science graduates can aid the sick in a clinical setting, break into the more general fitness industry, or join the professional sporting scene.
Compared to holders of non-degree Fitness Certifications, students with a Bachelor’s Degree enjoy a broader range of opportunities. For example, their degree can lend them more credibility when starting their practice and applying to well-known medical institutions. Additionally, institutions that offer the program provide more extensive hands-on learning opportunities as they tap into their large network of Exercise Science education professionals and alums.
An Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree takes around four years to complete. In those years, students have extensive classes about sports nutrition, athletic injury care, providing exercise prescriptions, and program design. Foundational subjects in biology, physiology, chemistry, and psychology support these industry-specific classes.
Having a Bachelor’s degree also allows you to pursue further education in the form of a Master’s Degree. Because of Exercise Science’s multidisciplinary nature, you can explore studies in other allied health sciences courses. However, your options in further education depend on each program’s specific credit requirements and your accomplished curriculum.
What You’ll Learn
Like most 4-year degrees, Exercise Science students engage in a holistic and multidisciplinary learning method. This program’s specialized subjects often include classes on health promotion, sports administration, biomechanics, motor control, and exercise program design.
However, any applicant needs to know that the essentials of various scientific disciplines will also be drilled into Exercise Science students. As such, expect physics, cellular biology, chemistry, and statistics courses.
Of course, not everything will be learned in lectures, as practical applications of what you learn are available. For example, practical laboratory classes are offered on biomechanics and exercise physiology. Apart from being in the classroom, students accomplish internships as work experience. Internships serve as an opportunity for students to immerse themselves and collaborate and learn from practicing professionals and learn about their specializations.
In some programs, an Independent Study course is required. Here, students select a topic of interest and conduct their research while guided by a field professional. It’s an excellent opportunity to contribute to the ever-growing body of knowledge surrounding Exercise Science!
Field & Career Placement
As previously mentioned, the broad scope of Exercise Science allows graduates to break into various types of industries:
- Professional Sports Coaching
Exercise Science grads can work with professional sports teams as a lucrative career. Some work as Sports Nutritionists, who direct athletes in forming diets appropriate for their intensity and frequency of physical activity.
Others act as trainers offering strength and conditioning programs that optimize an athlete’s proficiency in their chosen sport and position. They also provide advice on preventing injury during exercise and when in-game.
- Medical Services & Physical Therapy
Apart from professional athletes, people battling disease or those recovering from recent injuries also seek to gain a lot through optimizing their exercise routines.
Developing programs that are specific to a medical concern is also an option. For example, regimens can be designed to improve flexibility, endurance, or cardiovascular strength. If there’s a patient who’s managing their arthritis, Exercise Science professionals can create regimens that care for their joints.
- Fitness & Exercise Industry
The exercise industry is huge, and you can join it as an instructor, recreational sports director, or even a fitness technology inventor. Your clients, in this case, can range from individual fitness buffs to entire communities or companies.
What is an Exercise Science Professional?
Overview of Available Licensing
As of this writing, there is no general license for Exercise Science professionals. Instead, graduates acquire specific certifications for their targeted careers. Luckily, the certificates available to you have a great deal of diversity.
Here is just a fraction of the possible certifications Exercise Science majors can look into:
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Exercise Physiologist. If your intention is to get into the clinical applications of your degree, this credential is often required before being able to work as a medical professional. However, suppose you plan to act as an occupational or physical therapist. In that case, you will need to find further medical education beyond certification.
- National Academy of Sports Medicine – Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM-PES). The program teaches students about providing optimal strength and conditioning training for clients, ideal for those looking to work with sports teams.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association – Certified Special Population Specialists (NSCA-CSPS). This certification allows you to work with ‘special population’ clients, including people with health conditions, senior citizens, children, and pregnant women.
While these certifications are additional programs to your undergraduate degree, they can be completed in a much shorter time (2-3 months). And they are highly recommended for the competitive job market.
Overview of Occupations
Multiple industries have been discussed, but where do Exercise Science graduates fit in all this? Here are some common jobs that Exercise Science Bachelor Degree holders pursue:
Professional Sports Industry
Compared to the layperson’s fitness, the exercise objectives of athletes are at a much higher level and often test the limits of human ability. Exercise Science trainees are called to guide these professionals to optimize their bodies healthily and efficiently. Sample jobs include:
- Strength & Conditioning Specialist
- Sports Therapist
- Athletics Manager
- Athletic Director
As previously mentioned, clinical careers will usually require further education in medicine, but it is a gratifying endeavor. Like most clinical jobs, Exercise Science uses exercise as means of recovery and to find healing in ailments.
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
Wellness & Fitness Industry
This industry encompasses all the clients that don’t have special needs but are looking to be more active. Exercise Science degree holders in these fields provide advice on proper exercise and instruct people on their path to wellness. Examples include:
- Personal Trainer
- Recreational Sports Director
- Corporate Wellness Coordinator
Benefits of an Online Degree in Exercise Science
While taking your Exercise Science degree in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom is a great option, it’s worth considering enrolling in an online program.
It’s become clear in recent years that education can function very well in an online set-up, and virtual Exercise Science programs are no exception. Here’s just a partial list of schools that offer quality online Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degrees:
- Maryville University
- Franklin University
- Concordia University, St. Paul
- Cameron University
- PennWest California
Thus, it’s wise to consider your current lifestyle and see if online education suits it better. For example, if you are juggling a job, taking extra classes, or if your family is constantly moving around, an online degree might be the best choice.
Even if you don’t have these particular circumstances, there are benefits to taking your Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree online:
Increased learning ability
Traditional schooling that centers around scheduled lectures and tests might work for some people. Still, it doesn’t always suit a student’s learning style.
For example, people learn at different paces. An online degree allows students to learn at the speed that works best for them rather than forcing themselves to catch up in every class.
Additionally, some students don’t find the classroom environment conducive to learning. At home, they can create a learning space in which they can focus.
One of the best benefits that online education boasts is the flexibility it gives its students. Since most lessons are self-paced, balancing schooling with a part-time job or home responsibilities is much easier.
It also allows students to learn from anywhere in the world. So if travel for work or family is necessary, getting to school is still doable.
Since schools spend less on facilities catering to online students, the tuition fees of online programs are often cheaper. Besides these main expenses, students save tons on supplementary costs such as transportation, housing, and cafeteria food, because they don’t have to leave the house.
Global Perspective & Connections
Online programs can be accomplished anywhere in the world. As a result, international students can receive education from prestigious schools, and universities can recruit top teaching talent from foreign countries.
Both these aspects allow Exercise Science students to be exposed to diverse perspectives, further enhancing their education. Students can also build meaningful connections with international networks, giving them a career advantage upon graduation.
What Will I Learn in an Exercise Science Bachelor’s Program?
Length of Programs
An Exercise Science Bachelor’s program in a conventional college will take 3-4 years to complete. Sometimes, students can “fast track” their graduation by straying away from the school’s recommended course spread and taking classes earlier.
In contrast, choosing an online Exercise Science program may change the length of schooling. Since it’s primarily self-paced, students can sometimes choose to spread their education over a more extended period.
Suppose the length of the course is a concern. In that case, it’s best to contact the university directly to see what you can do to speed up or slow down your program plan.
Exercise Science programs offer specific courses that apply the fundamentals of the natural sciences to the more specialized field of exercise. Notable courses include:
- Sports Nutrition. This course teaches students how to design diet plans that improve athletic performance. Topics include how quantities of the basic macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) can increase energy or muscle growth.
- Sports Neuroscience. Sports neurology is a new but growing specialization in sports science. In these classes, students learn about how brain functions affect your ability to exercise and vice versa.
- Biomechanics. This subject is a branch of physics, as it studies the motion of biological systems. Exercise Science focuses on the movement of bones, muscles, and joints and how they’re all connected.
- Motor Control & Learning. Motor skills are the movements that require voluntary effort from a person. In this subject, students examine how these movements are learned and how motor control may degrade over time.
- Exercise Program Design. The courses mentioned above are applied in this class. Students learn how to create and manage a client’s exercise/rehabilitation program based on their health, available equipment, and budget.
- Sport & Fitness Administration. Students will combine their scientific study of exercise with essential business skills. This course is vital for graduates wanting to start their own practice and market their services.
What Are The Standard Entrance Requirements to Enroll?
Applying for an Exercise Science Bachelor’s degree follows the typical university admission process. If you’re applying for the fall semester of the following year, you may submit your requirements as early as August or September.
This application period can end as late as February of the following year. However, if you’re aiming for early admission, you will usually need to submit it by November.
First-year applicants must possess a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and a minimum GPA of 2.5. While some programs do not require submission of SAT scores, the ones that do ask for scores from the test’s critical reading and math portions. The applicant should have a combined score of at least 1060-1080 in these subjects.
Some programs also require that applicants show competency in specific subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics, wherein they must have averaged at least a “C” grade.
However, these requirements are not universal, and grade requirements may depend on the following variables:
- University Prestige. The more prestigious the university you apply to, the increasingly stringent their grade requirements might be.
- Date of application. Those gunning for Early Admissions must have a higher minimum GPA of 3 or 3.25, as only a few applicants are admitted at this step.
- Transferee Status. These requirements also differ if you’re a transfer student with previously taken college classes. However, there’s more significant variability of prerequisites between programs, so it’s best to read up on your target college.
All bachelor’s degree candidates must submit their high school transcripts. GED transcripts are also available for those who possess the diploma.
Typically, applicants are also asked to prepare letters of recommendation detailing why they are a good fit for the program. Preparing 2-3 letters from trusted teachers and school counselors are suggested.
Most Bachelor’s admissions processes will also ask that candidates provide a personal statement via an essay. While this essay can be about almost anything, it’s best to focus on detailing personal experiences that brought you to your desire to apply. Alternatively, applicants can write about significant life events and goals for their future.
In some instances, colleges will provide a prompt for students to answer in their essays to narrow discussions. Common prompts include:
- Recount a time when you faced adversity. What did you learn from the experience?
- Discuss an achievement that contributed to your personal growth
- Discuss a portion of your identity or background that you find integral to your personal story
Other Necessary Exams
As of this writing, the SAT and ACT are sufficient examinations for applicants to undergraduate courses. However, additional Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) may be required for a Master’s or Certification program.
What is the Career Outlook for Exercise Science?
Field Growth & Salaries
The Exercise Science field is becoming a more significant part of the U.S. Economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of exercise science professionals is estimated to grow by 9% in the following decade, which is notably faster than other occupations. Additionally, approximately 1,700 openings in the Exercise Science industry are created every year.
These professionals have an annual median range of $47,940 as of 2021. This number goes as high as $81,270 for Exercise Science graduates that pursue other medical degrees.
Potential Career Paths & Job Titles
Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree holders have a wide range of careers within their reach. Here’s a partial list:
- Recreational Therapist – uses medically prescribed leisure activities to improve people’s physical and emotional health. Some suggested activities include group exercise, yoga, or dance classes.
- Health & Wellness Coordinator – works with large groups (companies, communities, or towns) to encourage them to care for their health. Advice and recommended programs are given to clients to motivate them to live healthier lifestyles.
- Fitness Technology Engineer – designs fitness equipment to aid in workouts. Engineers with a scientific background in exercise mechanics design software and equipment specific to an activity. Examples include fitness tracking apps, home exercise equipment, and workout clothes.
- Occupational Therapist – helps patients who have pain, injury, or a disability to adapt and regain their movements for everyday activities.
- Strength & Conditioning Coach – works with athletes to increase their competitive advantage. Programs are designed to improve their performance in the specific sport they have.
- Sports Development Officer – can work with schools or cities to organize sporting events and increase participation. These professionals aim to promote a healthy lifestyle by making sports accessible to their clients.
These careers can be both rewarding and lucrative. If promoting health aligns with your passions, an Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree may be the right choice for you.