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Exercise Science Careers

Career Prospects
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS), the career outlook for those with an exercise science degree is promising and varies slightly depending on the career path of the individual. Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 13% over the next decade, and the BLS predicts a 9% growth in opportunities for exercise physiology jobs. With an obesity epidemic and host of other health issues plaguing our nation and healthcare reform underway, the need for individuals closely allied with the medical profession appears to be emerging. With an exercise science degree you can help to fill this demand, while achieving career success.

Wide Range of Career Opportunities
At Mount Union, an exercise science major will expose you to the effects of physical activity on children, young adults and geriatric populations. Careers in the allied-health field include an array of exercise science degree jobs including commercial, corporate and community wellness programs, cardiac rehabilitation programs, coaching and secondary education. Courses expand upon information provided in basic science classes and will prepare you for certification exams offered in a variety of areas.

  • Exercise technologist: Exercise technologists evaluate patients’ fitness levels and body compositions through safe fitness testing as a means of providing exercise prescriptions to improve overall health and wellness.
  • Exercise specialist: Exercise specialists conduct health screenings, exercise tests and strength, flexibility and body composition tests for both healthy and ailing patients and clients.
  • Program director: Exercise Program directors provide day-to-day supervision and administration of the fitness center.  Supervise and coordinate group exercise classes, health promotion activities, youth fitness programs, youth and adult athletic enhancement classes, and wellness lectures and screenings.
  • Exercise leader: Exercise leaders guide safe and effective exercise in group settings or individually.
  • Health/fitness instructor: Health and fitness instructors lead efforts toward the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors on the part of both healthy and ailing clients.
  • Health/fitness director: A health/fitness director oversees all operations, staff and programs offered through a health/fitness program.
  • Advanced personal trainer: Advanced personal trainers work with both healthy individuals and those with health challenges seeking to pursue independent exercise, improve physical fitness levels and performance, manage health risks and promote lifelong behavioral changes.
  • Certified strength and conditioning specialist: Certified strength and conditioning coaches use exercise prescription to help clients improve athletic performance, prevent injury and apply the proper mechanics of their sport.

The exercise science major is designed for students wishing to further their careers by continuing on to graduate study. The curriculum meets many of the graduate-level admissions requirements for a master's degree in exercise science or kinesiology. Students wishing to go into physical therapy or occupational therapy are encouraged to review the specific requirements of the program/school to ensure that all requirements are met. Other graduate programs that the exercise science Graduate Track will prepare you for include, but are not limited to: physician assistant (PA), chiropractic, nutrition, exercise physiology, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist and biomechanics. Students wishing to pursue a medical degree should seek guidance to ensure fulfillment of pre-med prerequisites.

Exercise Science Majors’ Salary
The BLS reports that the current median income for exercise physiologists is upwards of $48,000, and fitness trainers and instructors bring in a median salary of approximately $31,000 per year.