KEYSER — Students seeking a career in exercise physiology, one of the nation’s fastest-growing job opportunities, can now begin their journey at Potomac State College.
The school is launching a new major in the field, which can lead directly to professional schools in Morgantown or elsewhere.
The associate of arts degree in arts and sciences with a major in exercise physiology through Potomac State is the 1st 2 years of a 4-year bachelor-of-science program in exercise physiology. The major is designed to transfer into the BS program on the Morgantown campus, but it can also be used to transfer into bachelor’s programs at other schools. This major replaces the former pre-physical-therapy major.
The AA program includes courses in science, anatomy, physiology, nutrition and exercise physiology.
Vicki Huffman, who chairs the science, technology, engineering and math division at Potomac State College, says the major provides students with two career options.
“I encourage students to pursue this major because it offers immediate career options upon graduation,” Huffman said. “Students graduating with a BS degree in exercise physiology can begin careers as an exercise physiologist, a personal trainer, a wellness coordinator, a strength and conditioning coach, a clinical research assistant or other related jobs.”
Additionally, students graduating from the BS program in Morgantown are prepared to meet the knowledge, skill and aptitude eligibility requirements to take the American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness national examination and the National Strength and Conditioning Association certified strength and conditioning specialist examination.
Students who then earn a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology can apply to physical therapy and physician assistant programs or medical, dentistry, pharmacy and occupational therapy schools, exercise physiology and other graduate and professional schools, Huffman said.
Students will also participate in health, disease and nutrition clinical applications providing hands-on experiences in their third and fourth years on the Morgantown campus.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment of exercise physiologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand may rise as hospitals emphasize exercise and preventive care to help patients recover from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and improve their overall health.