How to Get a Masters in Exercise Science

If you have a strong interest in human health and exercise, earning a degree in exercise science could be a good career move for you. The field of exercise science is a growing and exciting option where you will have the opportunity to develop innovative exercise and fitness programs that will aid people in improving their health, and recovering from chronic diseases.

Professionals who are skilled in exercise science are in higher demand than in the past; there is more recognition today that preventing people from getting diseases and illnesses can improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs.

Exercise science is defined as the study of movement, and the various functional responses and adaptations involved. A professional who is skilled in exercise science must have an excellent understanding of the physiological responses the body has to exercise.

What Exercise Science Professionals Do

Common types of positions that you can enter into with a master’s degree in exercise science include:

  • Aerobic exercise instructor
  • Athletic trainer
  • Biomechanist
  • Sports scientist
  • Health care specialist
  • Wellness coach
  • Medical fitness specialist
  • Fitness trainer

Another common position that professionals with this master’s degree may do is exercise physiologist. Common duties in this occupation include:

  • Analyze the medical history of a patient to determine the best ways an exercise and fitness program can be designed to meet their fitness goals.
  • Do fitness and stress tests with advanced medical equipment to analyze the data from the patient.
  • Perform measurements of oxygen usage, blood pressure, heartbeat and other patient vitals to best determine their overall health
  • Come up with new exercise programs to boost the health of patients

Exercise physiologists work to boost the overall fitness of the patient. Many patients may suffer from long term health problems that include pulmonary or cardiovascular disease.

Some of these professionals will work with doctors, who often order a certain exercise regimen for the patient. It is then your duty to carry out that fitness program to meet the patient’s specific health and fitness goals.

Exercise physiologists are expected to see 11% growth in jobs by 2024, which indicates that this is a good career path to consider.

Earn Your Master’s in Exercise Science Online With No GRE

If earning an exercise science degree sound like a good option for you, the great news is that you can get your degree online in as little as two years and never have to visit a college campus.

You also can get into many good exercise science programs without even taking the GRE exam. This will save you many weeks of preparation time. Therefore, you can focus your energies on going to college to earn your graduate degree.

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Licensing

Depending upon the exact occupation you enter with your master’s degree, you may or may not need a license to work in exercise science. If you choose to become an exercise physiologist, most states do not require you to have a license.

However, the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) does offer the Exercise Physiologist Certified (EPC) certification. This can be very useful to demonstrate to potential employers that you have advanced exercise science skills.

Accreditation

You should remember that there are two types of accreditation to be thinking about. One is the general accreditation for the university that you should see from one of the US Department of Education regional accreditation agencies below:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

We recommend that you consider the following master’s programs in exercise science:

#1 Liberty University

The Master of Science in Exercise Science at Liberty University will provide you with a better understanding of wellness, health, and human performance for all types of clientele that you may encounter. With this two year online master’s program, you will have a vastly improved knowledge of biomechanics,physiology, sports nutrition and statistics, as well as advanced research methods.

Liberty University offers several specializations in exercise science that will be of interest to professionals with diverse career interests in the field:

  • Clinical
  • Community Physical Activity
  • Human Performance
  • Nutrition

All students in this accredited exercise science program will need to take the following classes:

  • Graded Exercise Testing and Electrocardiography
  • Exercise Prescription for Special Populations – Cardiac and Pulmonary Disorders
  • Exercise Prescription for Special Populations – Chronic Health Conditions
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathology

More information:

  • Campus: Lynchburg VA; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $605 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Exercise Science

#2 University of Mary

The University of Mary Offers an outstanding Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology that is focused on the study of exercise physiology. The clinical emphasis in this graduate program is on exercise for special populations:

  • Cardiac
  • Bariatric
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis and more

Graduates of this two year master’s program typically pursue diverse careers in cardiac and pulmonary rehab; clinical exercise facilities; community and corporate leadership fitness, and higher education.

This degree program is done with most classes online, and you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Earn your degree in a highly flexible program that blends both online and in class instruction
  • Intensive labs every week will provide you with the skills that you need to succeed in exercise science
  • You will learn an innovative curriculum that provides you with hands on clinical experiences
  • Work closely online and in small classes on campus with top tier faculty
  • Excellent research experience in the exercise science field is available to you and many excellent networking opportunities are available with instructors and faculty

Required core classes are:

  • Critique and Design of Research
  • Statistics
  • ECG for Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription
  • Thesis Planning
  • Exercise Prescription and Chronic Conditions
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology I
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology II

More information:

  • Campus: Bismarck ND; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $535 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science Clinical Exercise Physiology

#3 North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University offers a two year Master’s of Science in Exercise and Nutrition Science that will ready you for a career in health promotion, exercise science, nutrition and physical activity.

The department is dedicated to the research and understanding of the long term effects of all types of physical activity as well as nutrition. It also is devoted to translating this research into modern, effective exercise science and wellness for people in all age groups.

This is an ideal master’s degree option for exercise science professionals and athletic trainers who already have a related bachelor’s degree in the field.

Your required core classes are:

  • Seminar Introduction to HNES
  • Introduction to Research Design and Methods in HNES
  • Statistical Methods
  • Graduate Exercise Physiology
  • Nutrition and Wellness

More information:

  • Campus: Grand Forks ND; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $375 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Exercise and Nutrition Science

#4 American Military University

American Military University offers a Master of Science in Sport and Health Sciences that is appropriate for professionals who want to advance their skills in exercise science.

This two year, online master’s program will help you to hone your critical thinking abilities, and will offer you the scientific principles that you need to help all types of people to improve their sports performance.

Topics of the core curriculum in this innovative degree program are as follows:

  • Exercise science and elite human performance
  • Physical rehabilitation, fitness and coaching
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Essential ethical leadership principles for exercise scientist professionals
  • Research design/analysis – qualitative, comparative, and quantitative

More information:

  • Campus: Charlestown WV; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $350 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Sport and Health Sciences

#5 Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers an online Master of Science in Health and Human Performance that is a good fit for exercise science professionals. Graduate students can take most of their classes online on their own schedule, and your exercise science internship in your community will provide you with the hands on skills that you need to fully develop your skills.

Your required courses include:

  • Physiological Analysis of Motor Activity
  • Research in Health and Human Performance
  • Concepts and Objectives of Physical Education
  • Statistical Analysis in HHP
  • Motor Learning or Biomechanics

More information:

  • Campus: Hays KS; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: North Central Association for Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $470 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Master of Science in Health and Human Performance

The field of exercise science is a growing and exciting one, with plenty of demand for well educated exercise science professionals with master’s degrees.

Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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