The importance of physical well-being – and its ties to psychological wellness – have become so mainstream that millions of people want to make changes that benefit their health. For those who want to spend their careers helping people reach that goal, as well as working with athletes to reach their potential, a four-year degree provides a proven path to success.  

Graduates from a Bachelor’s in Exercise and Sport Science program acquire skills that qualify them to work in many different areas of sports science. Jobs range from a strength and conditioning coach working for a college football team to physical trainers helping disabled clients improve their mobility and ability to manage daily tasks. 

A Growing Field in Healthcare 

Exercise and sport science is a growing field that offers a rewarding and challenging career. For example, the number of exercise physiologists is expected to grow 13 percent by 2030, according to federal data. It also offers an average pay of $54,030, with the top 25 percent in the field earning more than $60,780. 

 The field is also growing in stature as the importance of exercise becomes more well-known throughout the general population. A recent study from researchers at the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, noted that “maintaining health in a preventative manner may be a more appropriate medical approach than treating patients at the doorway of disease.”  

 Noting that behavioral patterns impact mortality rates, the researchers added that “exercise can be considered a medication,” and encouraged physicians to treat physical activity as a prescription they can recommend to patients. 

What You Learn in an Exercise and Sport Science Program 

At Marian University, students in the BS in Exercise and Sport Science program engage with coursework and experiential learning with the option to create a collegiate experience that helps prepare them for the type of career that matches their interests. 

Learning outcomes for students in this program include the ability to:  

  • Effectively use evidence and research findings in professional decision-making 
  • Select, prepare, and conduct appropriate exercise assessments for diverse populations 
  • Create effective exercise prescriptions and training programs based on client needs, goals, and abilities 
  • Identify and critically evaluate psychosocial determinants of health and performance 
  • Provide information/interventions that promote various components of wellness 

 Coursework in an Exercise and Sport Science Program 

A well-rounded education helps graduates become problem-solvers who can work in many different areas of sports and exercise. All students take common courses such as interpersonal communication, ethics, and argumentative and research writing, as well as courses that focus on creative, humanistic, scientific, social scientific, and theology topics. 

Students also take foundational health courses that include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, general physics, and bioethics. Within the Exercise and Sport Science program, students study nutrition and metabolism; exercise testing; health, exercise, and sports assessment; biomechanics; exercise physiology; and sociology in sports. 

Students can also select where they want to focus their studies by choosing from a variety of electives. They include strength training and conditioning, weight management, personal and group wellness, and outreach and health promotion. At Marian University, students also participate in a required internship of 150 hours of hands-on experience in their final two years of college. 

 Careers With an Exercise and Sport Science Degree 

Where can this education and experience take graduates? One of the best aspects of becoming a student in a BS in Exercise and Sport Science program is that students can choose their career direction. The skills and knowledge they acquire are transferable to many different jobs. 

Some students choose to focus on therapy, which helps clients address a physical deficit caused by disability, chronic condition, or injury. If they want to work with the general population, this could lead to a career in physical or occupational therapy. With athletes, they could work as athletic trainers. 

Another area is performance enhancement. In the general population, this includes jobs such as personal trainers or wellness coaches. When working with athletes, this degree could lead to careers as a strength and conditioning coach for a sports team. It’s important to note that some of these careers may require additional schooling. 

Sports teams increasingly invest in personnel with expertise in exercise and sport science, according to the Mayo Clinic study. Because of the huge popularity of sports and the amount of money invested, the study noted that “it has become a priority for the leagues to keep their players healthy.” 

The majority of people in this field work as consultants or independent contractors, such as a personal trainer who works one-on-one with individuals. However, many organizations and institutions hire exercise and sport science program graduates, including: 

  • Schools 
  • Sports teams 
  • Fitness centers 
  • Government agencies or nonprofits that promote health and fitness 
  • Senior living facilities 
  • Insurance companies 
  • Community clinics 
  • Hospitals 
  • Physical therapy clinic 
  • Gyms 

 The Marian University BS in Exercise and Sport Science prepares graduates for work in these different areas, allowing students the flexibility to focus their education on areas of interest. Working with university faculty and advisors, every student creates their own plan of study to achieve the learning outcomes they desire including areas of study and extracurricular activities. 

The commitment to earning a degree in Exercise and Sport Science can prepare graduates to achieve their goals no matter which career path they choose to follow.