When choosing what degree to pursue in college, it can be difficult given how many options and potential career paths there are to take. As a degree can usually cost a lot of money, you want to make sure you’re making the right choice for a stable future. If you like sports medicine, health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition, then choosing to get an exercise science degree may be a great option for you.
What Is An Exercise Science Degree?
Exercise science is the study of how the human body, movement, fitness, longevity, and holistic wellness, all connect together.
In a time where most people rely on a traditional doctor when they are not feeling well, exercise scientists can help. That’s because while the advancements in medicine can certainly help people heal, they don’t always get to the root of the problem or help people live a better quality of life overall.
With an exercise science degree, you can learn the skills and gain the experience necessary to explore and learn about the structural and functional changes that occur on various physiological and biological levels, and how you can help those you work with address them.
What Can You Do With An Exercise Science Degree?
An exercise science degree is an excellent option if you want flexibility when choosing your career in the fitness, health, and wellness fields. Some of the most well-known occupations for those holding an exercise science degree are: personal trainer, health coach, athletic director, and physical education teacher.
You can also, of course, continue your education after earning your exercise science degree.
Understanding Where This Degree Will Take You
A good first step when deciding which degree is right for you is to understand where this degree can take you. While an exercise science degree offers a lot of potential, know that it is not a professional degree that can lead you directly into a career path.
Typically, you will have to further your training and/or education, or take some certification tests that will allow you to work. That being said, because this degree is so broad (which is one of the reasons it does not lead you directly), means that you have options in terms of exploring what career paths feel like a good fit.
Exercise Science: A Way To Build A Foundation
Unlike other degrees, such as a teaching degree or a nursing degree, a degree in exercise science is not as rigid. Though it can teach you a wide range of information and skills that will make you very versatile, it’s best to look at an exercise science degree as a stepping stone into a more specific career path.
Choosing an exercise science degree, therefore, can be a good way to explore different options while still earning a degree and getting prepared for the workforce.
Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay
What Are Your Degree Options In Exercise Science?
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in exercise science, then know there are several types of degrees that you can get.
1. Associate Degree
An associate degree in exercise science is a two-year degree that will give you the foundation you need for exercise science, and may be enough to open up doors to a job in fitness or other entry-level positions in the exercise science industry.
Some examples of associate degrees in exercise science are:
- Associate of Science Degree in Exercise Science
- Associate of Applied Sciences in Exercise Science
2. Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree in exercise science is a four-year degree where you will take more liberal arts and science courses than you would with an associate’s. You may also be able to take more hands-on courses, and like any bachelor’s degree, you’ll be a more desirable candidate than those who only possess an associate degree.
If you go this route, you may have the opportunity to choose a specific career track — for example, one in human performance, fitness training, or even corporate wellness.
There are two umbrella bachelor’s degrees you can get in exercise science, but the program you choose may have a different variation of the name. For example, University of the People offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.
- Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science
- Bachelor of Art in Exercise Science
3. Graduate Degree
If you want to continue your studies, you can earn a graduate degree in exercise science. This may be more appropriate if you want to become educated in a specific area of exercise science, and want to go on to teach the subject or to be eligible for a senior administrative position in healthcare and/or fitness.
One example of a role you could have is a chief administrator in a health wellness department of a hospital.
- Master of Science in Health and Exercise Science
- Doctor of Philosophy in Exercise Science
What Career Fields And Top Jobs Exist For Exercise Science Graduates?
If you’re considering pursuing any degree in this industry, it’s important to know what career fields and top jobs exist in exercise science, so that you can decide if there’s something that interests you.
With a degree in exercise science, careers usually fall within fitness, nutrition, wellness, therapy and rehabilitation, and medical and nursing.
Top Jobs In Fitness
- Personal Trainer
- Fitness Center Manager
- Health Coach
Top Jobs In Academic Environments
- Physical Education Teacher
- Athletic Trainer
- Athletic Director
Top Jobs In Corporate
- Wellness Program Manager
- Wellness Director
- Healthcare Consultant
Top Jobs In Community And Nonprofit
- Camp Director
- Nonprofit Program Director
- Recreation Director
Top Jobs In Healthcare
- Occupational Therapist
- Exercise Physiologist
- Physical Therapist Assistant
Other Exercise Science Careers
Remember that a degree in exercise science can open you up to a whole word of various career paths and job options. There’s a long list of potential career paths, though keep in mind with further education and training, there can be even more options.
Also, because a degree in exercise science is so broad, you can always use it to transition into another career in health that’s more specific, like becoming a nurse or physical therapist. In the meantime, some other jobs are:
- Activity Specialist
- Aerobics Instructor
- Athletic Therapist
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist
- Community Program Director
- Gym Manager
- Healthcare Aide
- Massage Therapist
- Orthopedic Technician
- Osteopathic Physician
- Personal Trainer
- Recreation and Sports Director
- Recreation Therapist
- Spa Manager
- Sports Facility Manager
- Sports Nutritionist
- University Professor
How Much Money Can You Make With A Degree In Exercise Science?
The amount you can earn with a degree in exercise science really depends on what career you go into.
For instance, according to CalU, fitness trainers in 2019 made a medium yearly wage of $40,390, while similarly, an exercise physiologist made $49,170 as a medium yearly wage the same year.
Of course, this number can increase as you gain more experience in the industry or if you pivot to another career within exercise science. A healthcare consultant’s salary, for example, is $77,486, according to Payscale.
The Bottom Line
If you think that a degree in exercise science is right for you, then it may be worth pursuing a degree in Health Science at UoPeople. UoPeople is the only tuition-free accredited American university, and we are 100% online. Though it may not be the same as a degree in exercise science, you’ll get a well-rounded education that will be your ticket into this industry, which overlaps with jobs and careers in exercise science. And the best part is, you’ll be able to do it all on your own time!