What Can You Do With An Exercise Science Degree?

bachelors degree in exercise science and kinesiology
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Exercise science is the study of the science behind the human body movement. Most people who earn degrees in exercise science go on to work in rehabilitation centers and exercise gyms, among other businesses that involve physical fitness and wellness. How do you get a degree in exercise science? What can you do with a degree in exercise science?

Areas of Study in Exercise Science

What is exercise science? As mentioned above, it focuses on the movement of the human body. Another term it often goes by is kinesiology. It can be applied to daily workouts and sports and even dancing, as well as daily dieting habits. This subject can help you better understand how exercise and proper nutrient intake can keep the body healthy.

Medical aspects – focus on medications and treatments to assist in the healing of physical injuries

Physical fitness – the study of living healthy, including learning about nutritional diets, how physical activity impacts your body, and other practices to improve or stabilize the health of the human body

Exercise psychology – the study of how psychological elements can affect the human body and its functioning abilities

How to Get Your Exercise Science Degree

Many colleges and universities exist where you can earn degrees in different kinds of health and nutrition, including a concentration in exercise science. Just a few of those colleges and a few of their unique qualities can be found here. Don’t forget: it is wise to apply to at least three higher learning facilities to give yourself options. You never know if you’ll be accepted if you don’t apply!

William Marsh Rice University (Rice University)

Rice University has a fantastic kinesiology department that offers a program in sports medicine and a program in health sciences. Founded in 1912, this private university is located in Houston, TX, and sits on 295 acres of land.

The university’s health sciences program focuses on the promotion of health and the prevention of disease. The university’s sports medicine program is the only program on campus that offers courses that cover detailed human anatomy and physiology while including nutrition, exercise physiology, and more.

Columbia University

This private Ivy League research university’s biobehavioral sciences department has an entire science and education program for students who have already received their bachelor degrees. Graduate students have the opportunities to earn a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education, a PhD in Kinesiology, and many more.

United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy of West Point, NY, also has an outstanding program in kinesiology and exercise science. The department of physical education offers a major in kinesiology in which students learn about exercise psychology, sports medicine, sports nutrition, and more. With classes usually containing between 12 and 18 cadets, students are sure to get the most out of their education. Also, most of the faculty members are military personnel, and all faculty members possess a masters degree in related fields. The student-faculty ratio is approximately 8:1.

Exercise Science and Kinesiology Careers

Exercise science offers many career paths that require physical participation or knowledge of physical fitness, as the subject focuses on physical health and body movement. You will find a few of those career paths listed here.

Entry-level careers in Exercise Science and Kinesiology

With a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, you should have no trouble making your way into the workforce. Just a few entry-level career options are described here.

Fitness and Nutrition Consultant

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Fitness and nutrition consultants blend physical fitness and proper dieting to create health programs for individual clients. Clients can be at any physical fitness level. Fitness and nutrition consultants are willing to help anyone who asks. They are very personable and enjoy assisting individuals to find their ways back to healthy lifestyles to live longer, happier lives.

Fitness and nutrition consultants can make around $52,000 or more each year with experience. Without much experience, people in the same field can make approximately $34,000.

Health Educator

Health educators often work in medical institutions where they give patients more information on their diagnosis as well as treatment methods. Also, they often work with other medical staff members and teach them proper communication techniques for conversing with patients. For this reason, the necessary qualities of a health educator include excellent communication skills, the ability to provide small groups with instructions, and compassion for patients.

The most common salary for a health educator is around $47,000 a year.

Advanced Careers in Exercise Science and Kinesiology

If you further your education or spend enough time in the field to gain exceptional experience, you may go on to advance your career opportunities in exercise science. Just a few options available to you are provided here.

Physical Therapist

A physical therapist’s job is to assist patients in getting back on their feet, sometimes, even literally. They help patients who have been physically injured regain the health and strength needed to carry out day-to-day activities. They show compassion and dedication to their patients in assisting them to recover as best and as quickly as possible.

The need for physical therapists is only projected to grow stronger within the next few years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To become a physical therapist, you are required to obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy, or a DPT, degree.

Physical therapists are known to make around $78,000 annually, depending on experience and business flow.

Medical Doctor (M.D.)

A very common path for exercise science and kinesiology students to take is to become a medical doctor, also known as a primary care physician. If you are willing to dedicate the extended amount of time it takes to complete your education for this field even after obtaining your bachelor’s degree, it has a very reasonable return on investment. Medical doctors are responsible for annual checkups, or physicals, and diagnosing and treating sick patients.

Medical doctors can expect roundabout earnings of $175,000 a year.

Additional Job Opportunities with an Exercise Science Degree

Asking yourself, “What can you do with an exercise science degree?,” but none of the careers above sound interesting to you? Here are some more career options that you can pursue with an exercise science degree.

  • Exercise physiologist
  • Sports therapist
  • Fitness center manager
  • Sports development officer
  • Personal trainer
  • Sports coach
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Sports administrator

Still not finding the right position for you? Well, maybe exercise science isn’t for you, however, there are some positions that you can still look into. There are career options that aren’t necessarily directly related to an exercise science degree, but you can still become one with the degree.

  • Event manager
  • Sport and exercise physiologist
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Outdoor activities/education manager
  • Healthcare scientist (cardiac sciences)
  • Higher-education professor

Companies that Hire Individuals with Degrees in Exercise Science

Have you found yourself wondering, “What can I do with my degree in exercise science?” Many companies around the world regularly hire people with exercise science and kinesiology degrees, including but not limited to physical therapy offices, pediatric offices, and fitness centers. Just a few are listed below.

Planet Fitness – fitness centers across the United States; hires personal trainers, fitness experts, club management.

ATI Physical Therapy – founded in 1996 with various locations in the eastern region of the United States; began as a center for worker’s compensation patients; hires physical therapists, athletic trainers, etc.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – originated in 1929 in Portland, OR; an organization with 62,000 pediatrics specialists; hires researchers, pediatrics specialists, etc.

Holy Cross Hospital – founded in 1963 and located in Silver Spring, MD; hires community health workers, case managers, pharmacy technicians, physician coaches, clinical nurses, etc.

Chinese Progressive Association – founded in 1977 and located in Chinatown, NY; non-profit community-based organization advocating social and economic justice for Chinese Americans; accepts community organizers, community activists and the like

Work Experience Needed

Although an exercise science degree will gain you valuable skills needed for a career in the field, you still may need some work experience before truly beginning your career. Depending on your specialization, look for job opportunities that are related.

For example, if you’re going into sports coaching, try volunteering with a youth sports team. If you want to teach a school gym class, volunteer with the school. Part-time work in a fitness center or lifestyle center can also be extremely beneficial.

Skills Needed for a Resume

There are numerous skills that potential employers will look for in the exercise science field. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Research and data analysis
  • Understanding of information technology
  • Ability to work independently and on a team
  • Customer service
  • Oral communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Written communication skills
  • Time management and planning

Answering the Question: “What Can You Do With an Exercise Science Degree?”

Exercise science and kinesiology bachelor degrees and more can get you all sorts of jobs. Pick a higher education institution and go for the gold. Always apply to at least three institutions, and never be afraid to explore opportunities in physical fitness, nutrition education, and more.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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