Mount Mary’s new exercise science degree will let students earn income and gain real-world experience before graduation, said faculty member Cindy Kidd (left). (Submitted photo)
Students in Mount Mary University’s new exercise science program will not have to wait until graduation to work as health and wellness professionals.
The program, which opens this fall, will prepare students to become nationally certified group fitness instructors, personal trainers and/or exercise physiologists by the end of their second year.
“With three certifications built into the curriculum, students can earn income and gain real-world experience,” said Cindy Kidd, an exercise scientist and faculty member with the program.
“Careers in exercise science have great income potential and are in demand in clinics, hospitals, fitness clubs and wellness centers,” said School of Natural and Health Sciences Dean Cheryl Bailey. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23 percent job growth through 2026.”
The degree also provides a strong foundation for Mount Mary graduate programs such as a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, or an advanced degree in occupational therapy. Other advanced learning options include medical school, or degrees in physical therapy and physician’s assistant.
The program emphasizes wellness for diverse populations; students will learn to optimize performance for all abilities, from coaching athletes to caring for patients in cardiac rehabilitation. Students will use state-of-the-art equipment in a newly renovated fitness center adjacent to the Health Sciences Center, which also opened this year. Additionally, the university is establishing a biometrics laboratory, which will serve not only the exercise science program but other science and health care programs on campus.
“Students have the advantage of learning in a supportive, all-women’s environment where they will develop leadership and professional skills,” Kidd said. “This program prepares them to work in a field that truly makes a difference in the lives of others.”