Exercise Science Degree Readies Grads for Expanding Wellness Field

Published 06.08.2015

Nursing & Health Sciences

This fall, Pennsylvania College of Technology will introduce its associate degree in exercise science, which grew from its former physical fitness specialist degree.

The exercise science major provides an education in exercise physiology and human movement theory – or how the body responds to exercise. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, fundamentals of human performance, fitness nutrition, general psychology, and organization and leadership of fitness programs, as well as 215 hours of field work.

Penn College student Roberto Garcia Jr., who earned an associate degree in May, tracks a client’s performance using a V02 max calculator. The college’s exercise science major educates students in exercise physiology and how the body reacts to movement.“Hands-on skill labs prepare students to work with real clients,” said Emily B. Miller, exercise science department co-head and instructor of fitness and lifetime sports/physical fitness.

Exercise science professionals assign, design and implement exercise and fitness programs; evaluate health behaviors and risk factors; conduct fitness assessments; write exercise prescriptions; and motivate individuals to modify negative health habits.

“The nation as a whole has become more wellness focused,” explained Sharon K. Waters, associate dean of health sciences at Penn College. That has led to expanded opportunities for graduates in the field, she said, most notably in corporate wellness programs.

“Employers are increasingly interested in the well-being of their employees,” Waters said. “And employees have increased productivity with better health.”

In addition to corporate wellness programs, graduates may find work in such settings as wellness centers, health care agencies, fitness centers and rehabilitation centers. They might also work as personal fitness trainers, health/fitness instructors, fitness facility owners or business managers.

Graduates of Penn College’s exercise science major are eligible to sit for the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s certified personal trainer exam. The major is one of only 12 associate degrees in the U.S. – and the only one in Pennsylvania – that is educationally recognized by NSCA.

To learn more about the exercise science major, call 570-327-4519.

For information about Penn College, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.