Best Exercise Science Degrees 2021

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Becoming an Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists work with patients to develop a custom-tailored exercise program. They do so by interviewing patients, measuring vital signs, and recording progress. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earn a median $49,170 annual salary, approximately 25% more than the average U.S. worker.

Bachelor’s in exercise science programs train students for a fulfilling career. Learners select either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. Some schools refer to the latter as a bachelor of applied science. The main difference between the two options involves their academic focus. BA degrees emphasize the liberal arts, while BS programs include additional career-focused education and training.

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Leveraging a Degree in Exercise Science

  • Q. What can you do with a bachelor's in exercise science?

    Online exercise science programs train students for careers as an exercise physiologists. Related jobs include athletic trainer, fitness instructor, and recreational therapist.

  • Q. Is a BA or BS in exercise science better?

    The answer depends on students’ plans after graduation. Learners interested in graduate school prefer a BA, while degree-seekers training for a career earn a BS.

  • Q. How long is a bachelor's in exercise science?

    Online exercise science degrees take full-time students four years to complete. Learners with an associate degree or who enroll in an accelerated program can graduate sooner.

  • Q. What is the difference between exercise science and kinesiology?

    Kinesiology concerns the study of how motion affects health. A kinesiology subfield, exercise science focuses specifically on exercise’s impact on health.

Asynchronous Curriculum
Many online exercise science degrees feature an asynchronous curriculum. Students view lectures and complete coursework around their busy schedules.
Cost Savings
Online students may pay the same tuition as their on-campus peers, but they save money on commuting costs and housing. Schools may exempt them from specific fees, as well.
Different Careers
Graduates select from multiple career opportunities, including occupational therapist, physical therapist, and physician assistant. These and other careers may require additional training.
Positive Impact
Exercise physiologists make a positive impact on patient’s lives by helping them increase mobility, reduce pain, and regain strength. These and other positive outcomes improve patients’ lives significantly.
Continuing Education
Exercise science professionals dedicate themselves to lifelong learning. Organizations such as the Clinical Exercise Physiology Association offer continuing education courses at an affordable price.

How Much Does an Exercise Science Major Make?

Besides exercise physiologist, popular careers for graduates include athletic trainer, recreational therapist, and fitness trainer and instructor. They earn a median $40,390-$48,440 annual salary. The BLS projects the need for these workers to grow 8-16% in 2019-2029, significantly faster than the rate for all U.S. careers.

Exercise science alumni earn more by continuing their education. Although physical therapists need a doctorate to practice, their median salary approaches $90,000 annually.

Bachelor’s in Exercise Science Program Requirements

Application requirements for bachelor’s in exercise science programs include high school transcripts or GED scores. Many schools recommend, but do not require, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and a personal essay. Unique graduation requirements include practica in which students observe and work under an experienced exercise physiologist.

Bachelor’s in exercise science degree-holders may wish to continue their education. Master’s degrees in exercise science allow students to specialize in subfields including sport science, nutrition, and tactical strength and conditioning. A master’s degree may qualify graduates for additional career opportunities, a higher salary, and professional certifications. These and other benefits make a graduate education a valuable investment.

Accreditation and Online Colleges

Courses in an Exercise Science Bachelor’s Program

Bachelor’s in exercise science programs emphasize the knowledge and skills needed to improve patients’ mobility and overall health. Typical courses include exercise physiology, anatomy and physiology, and sport nutrition. Other curriculum highlights feature coursework in biomechanics and movement in health and exercise.

Not all online exercise science programs require or offer the following sample curriculum. Please contact an academic advisor or visit a program’s website to learn more about the student experience.

  • Exercise Physiology

    Exercise physiology concerns the numerous biological processes taking place when people exercise. Course topics may include cellular respiration and metabolism. Students build on this knowledge by analyzing how disorders such as diabetes, depression, and osteoporosis affect exercise and overall health. Professionals use what they learn in exercise physiology to help patients with different medical backgrounds.

  • Anatomy and Physiology

    Anatomy and physiology courses introduce students to the human body’s different structures, including the skeletal, muscular, and nervous system. Other topics include cellular and molecular function. Although the course focuses on many biology topics, it emphasizes the knowledge learners need when assessing patients and creating treatment plans.

  • Sport Nutrition

    An elective, sport nutrition concerns athletes and active individuals’ unique dietary needs. In class, students analyze nutrition fundamentals, such as how the body consumes, absorbs, and stores energy. Degree-seekers use what they learn to create dietary plans meeting athletes’ short- and long-term nutritional requirements.

Scholarships for Exercise Science

Although online bachelor’s in exercise science degrees help students save on college costs, some learners need additional financial aid beyond institutional and government grants. Scholarships like those below accept applications from exercise science degree-seekers in 2021. Please use the embedded links to visit each award’s official website.

  • AICA's Chiropractic Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Full-time students preparing for a career in the healthcare field apply to this competitive scholarship. Application materials include proof of enrollment and a 500- to 800-word essay. AICA uses an April 16 deadline.

    Amount: $500

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  • American Quarter Horse Foundation Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: AQHF awards six scholarship opportunities to student members majoring in any field. Prospective applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. The next application window opens Aug. 1.

    Amount: $500-$5,000

    Explore Here

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: NSCA members majoring in exercise science or a related field apply to the organization’s nine annual scholarship opportunities. Although application requirements vary by scholarship, all use a 3.0 GPA cutoff.

    Amount: $2,000

    Explore Here

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