When you decided to go to school and wound up with an Exercise Science degree, you have no clue what career path to pursue with it. Having a bachelor degree in Exercise Science can open up many doors, but more doors and lucrative careers can be achieved by going to graduate school. A professor once told me that you will not be able to make any money off a bachelor degree in Exercise Science and he is right to a certain extent. There are various careers you can take with just a bachelors in Exercise Science, but it is highly recommended you pursue graduate school upon completion. Some things to look out for while taking this degree is to make sure you get a high GPA so you can get into graduate school. Also be aware of what minor track you are taking. There are usually three or four tracks which include Business, Health and Wellnes, and Clinical. If you plan on going to medical school or physical therapy school, the clinical track is necessary to meet prerequisites to get into those type of programs.
Careers with Bachelors' in Exercise Science
- Personal Trainer
- Health and Wellness Director/Fitness Director
- Health Insurance Sales
- Pharmaceutical Sales - often require a GPA above a 3.0 and great networking to obtain first job.
Master Programs After Complete Exercise Science Bachelor
- Medical School - make sure you are taking a clinical track in Exercise Science and also are preparing to take the MCAT. The MCAT is a nationwide test for admission into almost all graduate programs if you decide to go to medical school. Also, while you are in the process of obtaining your Exercise Science degree, it is a great thing to start volunteering hours in local hospitals and trying to shadow work as much as you can. This can look great on your application into graduate school and also provide you with great references when needed. In order to get into medical school, a high GPA must be obtained with a suggestion of no lower than a 3.5. You can also major in other areas of study such as Biology and Chemistry for admission into medical schools.
Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy - if you know you want to be a physical therapists right out of high school it is best to find a program and apply to be part of their 5 or 6 years track. If you decide to become a physical therapist 3 to 4 years into your Exercise Science degree, it is still possible. There are many accredited programs that you can obtain your doctorate in physical therapy in a matter of 3 years. When doing your internship during the completion of your Exercise Science degree, it is recommended you find a Physical Therapy office that will allow you to shadow and learn from a professional. This will also provide you a great recommendation, as most physical therapy schools require a letter of recommendation from a physical therapist. They also want to see volunteer hours in a physical therapy setting. The clinical track is also required because the prerequisites for physical therapy programs involve most classes taken within that track. Occupational therapy is different from physical therapy and only involves approximately 2 years of schooling. Salary is very promising with earnings anywhere from 40-70 thousand dollars a year.
Strength & Conditioning Coach - there are a select few who want to become a strength and conditioning coach at the college and even pro ranks. In order to do so you must take the CSCS test, which is a gold standard certification for all college and pro strength coaches. CSCS stands for Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. You should also apply for an internship that involves college athletics. Every semester and summer there are plenty of volunteer internships available throughout the country. This will help you make great contacts because networking in this profession to obtain a job is necessary down the line. Having your Exercise Science degree, internship at a college setting and CSCS certification will set you up well to obtain a graduate assistant position as a strength and conditioning coach at the college level.
Public Health - obtain your Masters of Public Health (MPH) is another route you can take after completing your bachelors in Exercise Science. There are different categories based on the career path you want to take. This includes Health Education, Environmental Health, Bio-statistics, Health Administration and general Public Health.
- Cardiac Rehab - you must receive accreditation through the ACSM and also requires another two years of school with a masters in Exercise Science. This will allow you to work in cardiac rehabilitation centers.
These are just some of the top career paths you can take with your degree in Exercise Science but it is not limited to just this alone. So while you are in school, think about the path you want to take.