So, what can I do with this major? That is a question I get quite often, and quite often I have a difficult time responding. The problem is that Exercise Science is really a professional program without a formal profession. What makes a formal profession? Typically it involves licensure, registry, or certification at the State level. Examples are a Licensed Practical Nurse, a Registered Dietician, a Certified Public Accountant, or a Licensed/Certified Teacher. Louisiana is the only state that currently has a Licensed Clinical Exercised Physiologist although other states are lobbying for licensure of exercise professionals. This has been a difficult task, because in most states, physical therapists have a very strong lobby presence and tend to block state regulation of exercise physiologists. This is primarily due to a fear that these professionals will infringe on their “scope of practice.” This is really an unfounded fear and a good topic for a future blog.
For now though, what do we do with this degree? Fortunately, the health-fitness industry is a vast profession that includes aspects like equipment production, sales and marketing, and management as well as the typical positions like personal training, wellness coaching, and health education. There is a need for fitness professionals in profit and not-for-profit settings including the club, corporate, and healthcare industries. One thing for sure, you must be aggressive and energetic in your job search and have a little entrepreneurial spirit.
Last year, John Ashworth from Madison, WI was the speaker for our annual Miller Lecture series. John (a.k.a. the Fitness Nomad) is indeed a true entrepreneur. He spoke specifically about the use of social media to promote yourself and your business. John keeps a highly active presence on Facebook and other social media. He recently posted the video below about fitness careers and the fitness industry in Facebook. You can also check out his ExerciseCareers.com website.
Finally, I would add that higher education (i.e., a college degree) is not just about job placement. It is more about learning to think more critically, communicate more clearly, and better understand the world around around us through the natural and social sciences. This can be achieved in most college degree programs including Exercise Science. Most degree programs in college are not professional programs, but still provide the wonderful opportunity for intellectual growth. If exercise and the biological and social sciences interest you, Exercise Science may be a good fit. I am confident you will be challenged intellectually.