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Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology Degree

  • Total Credit Hours: 120
  • Degree Format: Traditional

About this field

Exercise Physiology is the study of acute and chronic adaptations associated with physical activity. Exercise physiologists have a strong background in the scientific basis underlying exercise-induced physiological responses. Applied exercise physiologists manage programs geared toward healthy individuals and those with controlled diseases, while clinical exercise physiologists work with physicians in clinical settings to apply physical activity and modify behaviors based on proven benefits.

 

The Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology (B.S.E.P) degree at Valdosta State University prepares students for three broad career paths (1) an exercise physiologist (2) as a strength and conditioning professional and (3) as a pre-request for advanced schooling including those in the health care industry.

 

Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help patients recover from chronic diseases and improve cardiovascular function, body composition, strength, and flexibility.  Some physiologists work closely with primary care physicians, who may prescribe exercise regimens for their patients and refer them to exercise physiologists.

 

Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Exercise physiologists are also employed as strength and conditioning coaches to help athletes improve their performance or skill in a sport and to prevent and rehabilitate injuries.  Opportunities exist working with high school, collegiate and professional athletes and are employed in high schools, colleges, fitness centers, physical therapy clinics and with professional sports teams.

 

Pre-Professional Health Programs

Many graduates of exercise physiology apply to advanced schooling including those in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, medicine, and chiropractic or continue at the MS or PhD level in exercise physiology or a related area.  The VSU B.S.E.P degree allows for 23 hours (6 to 8 courses) of electives in math, science and psychology to help students obtain the pre-request courses for application to graduate school. A degree in exercise physiology provides transferable knowledge, skills and abilities into many health care professions and advanced degree programs.  Of all applicants accepted into physical therapy school a degree in exercise physiology is the highest of any other major (Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service).

 

To learn more about this field and career of exercise physiology view the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

View the B.S. Exercise Physiology Check List.  

View the B.S. Exercise Physiology Academic Map.

View the B.S. Exercise Physiology Jr/Sr courses.

 

The Valdosta State Difference

The Valdosta State University Exercise Physiology program has a strong history for having quality students, high standards and student centered faculty. The degree program provides hands-on practical opportunities in the college’s Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation (adult fitness program), research mentoring, service outreach, and a 400 hour internship.

The degree program is accredited by CAAHEP – Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (https://www.caahep.org/). Less than 75 undergraduate programs in the world have achieved this distinction of quality.

VSU Exercise Physiology graduates have an impressive first time pass rate that is about 20% higher than the national average - making good on our promise that students who graduate are career ready.  For more information on national certification pass rates click here: https://www.acsm.org/get-stay-certified/get-certified/cert-stats.

VSU’s B.S.E.P ACSM Certification First Time Pass Rate

Exercise Physiologist Certification

Calendar Year Candidates Passed Pass Rate
2016 37 26 70%
2017 20 11 55%
2018 27 25 93%
2019 51 47 92%

 

What You'll Learn

Students in the exercise physiology program at Valdosta State engage in both theoretical and hands-on activities in clinical and non-clinical settings. Students gain knowledge in numerous areas, including anatomy, biomechanics, physiological responses to exercise, nutrition and electrocardiography, and develop the administrative and leadership skills necessary to help various populations. Students are prepared to work in a variety of settings, including cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, corporate fitness/wellness, hospital health promotion and outpatient rehabilitation, human performance laboratories and private practice. Graduates are also prepared for various industry certifications and receive a strong foundation that will allow them to continue their professional studies in areas such as exercise physiology, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy and more.  

Students graduating with a B.S.E.P degree ought to be able to (sample outcomes):

  1. Prescribe exercise, recommend basic health behavior interventions and promote physical activity for individuals with chronic diseases or conditions; examples include, but are not limited to, individuals with cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, orthopedic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, neoplastic, immunologic and hematologic diseases.
  2. Prescribe exercise designed to improve, maintain or attenuate declines in fitness and health in populations ranging from children to older adults.
  3. Provide exercise screening, exercise and fitness testing, exercise prescriptions, exercise and physical activity counseling, exercise supervision, exercise and health education/promotion, and measurement and evaluation of exercise and physical activity-related outcome measures.
  4. Optimize adoption and adherence of exercise and other healthy behaviors by applying effective behavioral strategies and motivational techniques.
  5. Work individually or as part of an interdisciplinary team in a clinical, community or public health setting.
  6. Receive referrals from a referring practitioner to implement exercise protocols.
  7. Be guided by published professional guidelines and standards and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

The B.S.E.P curriculum is hands-on practical experience intensive.  Students have access to the Human Performance Laboratory, where integrated into courses, students can hone their skills using various tools and equipment that is commonly used in health and fitness facilities, medical offices, hospitals, and physical therapy and occupational therapy clinics.  The lab is equipped with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, air displacement plethysmograph, bioelectrical impedance, skinfold calipers, isokinetic dynamometer, balance system, metabolic analyzers, exercise electrocardiogram system, performance treadmills, anti-gravity treadmill, cycle ergometers, timing system, jump height devices, force plates, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, lactate analyzer, pulse oximeters, power rack, weight machines, rowing machines, and various functional fitness equipment.

A 400-hour 12 credit hour senior level capstone internship allows students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom, attain work experience, and clarify career goals.  Students are placed in hospitals, worksites, university fitness centers, athletic departments, commercial facilities, private industry, and government organizations.

 

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for admission into B.S.E.P are as follows:

  1. A declared major in Health Sciences with an Exercise Physiology concentration
  2. Completion of all courses in the Areas A through F of Core Curriculum as it pertains to the Exercise Physiology curriculum
  3. Grade of “C” or better in all area A, D, and F courses, including lab sections
  4. Greater than or equal to a 2.50 cumulative, overall grade point average

 

There is no cap on the number of students admitted into the B.S.E.P Jr/Sr curriculum.  Admission into B.S.E.P is each fall and spring terms (no summer admission).

 

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS

“C” or better in all of the B.S.E.P coursework at the 3000 and 4000 level and a 2.00 cumulative, overall grade point average

Career Outlook

VSU Exercise Physiology graduates have entered a variety of graduate programs including physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, physician assistant, chiropractic, nursing (second degree), exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, athletic training, dietetics, and public health.  Graduates have also secured entry level positions as exercise physiologists in hospitals, worksites, public health departments, government (military bases), community fitness centers, educational institutions, sports facilities, university recreation and fitness centers, and the private sector.  Others have entered into related careers in fields such as wellness coaching, medical and pharmaceutical sales, and research. 

 

Employment of exercise physiologists is projected to grow by 10 percent over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand is likely to rise as hospitals emphasize exercise and preventive care to help patients recover from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and improve their overall health (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The demand for strength-training experts is one of the top five most promising employment trends over the next several years (American College of Sports Medicine).

 

*Careers may require advanced degree beyond exercise physiology.

Careers

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist
  • Dietician
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Health Instructor
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Education Secondary School Teacher
  • Physical Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Wellness Coordinator
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