Exercise Science Career
I'm very interested in the science of sports. Does an exercise science degree work for me?
In contrast to a degree in sports medicine, which is typically very narrowly focused on the needs of athletes, someone studying exercise science learns a broad and holistic approach to exercise and fitness. This creates career opportunities for graduates of exercise science programs that can include working with both athletes and non-athletes.
The American College of Sports Medicine states that specific exercise science careers cannot be clearly defined, because the focus that a student chooses while studying these areas will determine where a graduate will look for work far more than the degree itself will. This means that a graduate with an exercise science degree can choose coursework with a strong sports medicine orientation but still get the benefit of a program that teaches principles that can be applied to everyone.
What jobs are available with a sports emphasis in exercise science?
Choosing courses that emphasize sports medicine when studying exercise science allows a graduate to look at exercise and fitness from the standpoint of both the athlete and non-athlete. People with associate's degrees in Exercise science often become fitness or personal trainers or group exercise instructors, and many choose to pursue certification in these areas through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or other certification agency. Fitness and exercise trainers can work in settings where the population as a whole needs their expertise, such as health clubs, or they may work for organizations that train people for competition as in triathlon or road biking clubs.
Graduates with bachelor's degrees in exercise science can become fitness directors in company or private wellness programs, and again, certification can be attained in this area. A bachelor's degree paired with a teaching certification allows an exercise scientist to
What kinds of settings would I work in with an exercise science degree?
Work settings are hugely varied for people with exercise science careers. Personal and fitness trainers typically work in health clubs, and these can range from small private clubs to large busy centers that are open to the public. Many larger businesses are responding to recent research that points to the effectiveness of a healthy workforce and are hiring professionals to be on-site fitness directors. This means that someone with a degree in exercise science could find employment in a large manufacturing plant or high-tech software company.
People who use their exercise science degree as the launching pad for additional degrees in physical or occupational therapy have the full array of health care centers available to them, including hospitals, private clinics, rehabilitation centers, as well as sports medicine centers.
Graduates with advanced degrees in exercise science with a focus in sports medicine can also look for careers with athletic programs based in high schools, colleges or professional athletic organizations.
What kind of education do I need for a career in exercise science?
While degrees in the field of exercise science are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's level, the degree a student needs depends on what he or she wants to do. If the professional goal is to be a highly qualified fitness instructor or exercise trainer for the general population, an associate's or bachelor's degree will accomplish this. Students interested in more advanced clinical professions in areas of sports medicine or injury management will need to complete bachelor's or master's programs that may move from exercise science into a specialty area.