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New BW master of science in exercise physiology boosts career potential

Classes are underway for Baldwin Wallace's new one-year, hybrid master of science in exercise physiology program that offers recent college graduates and working professionals a pathway to advance their careers in clinical exercise physiology or strength and conditioning.


The program offers two concentrations — applied physiology or strength and conditioning — that provide career professionals with the coursework and practical experiences leading to eligibility to sit for certification by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

The M.S. in exercise physiology program is designed for recent college graduates who have a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, exercise science, human performance or a similar major. Individuals having a degree in a related field may need to take a few prerequisite courses before enrollment. Candidates with a degree in an unrelated field or who do not meet prerequisites may also qualify.*

Exercise physiology degree customized to student interests


Labs are key to student learning. Here, a student conducts a VO2 max test using a mask that collects and measures inspired and expired gases to analyze gas exchange.

"Health and wellness is a growing field that encompasses not only disease prevention and management but also the role of strength and conditioning across populations from all walks of life — from athletes to tactical professionals like police and firefighters to military personnel and to elderly as they strive to maintain physical functionality," said Dr. Jaimy Dyer, program director for BW's M.S. in exercise physiology and professor for the exercise science and pre-allied health undergraduate programs.

"We designed this degree program to be manageable for working students or anyone with additional life commitments," she added. "Graduates of the program can not only boost their employability into new career directions but also can increase their salary-earning potential with their advanced degree and the ACSM or NSCA certification they can earn by passing those exams.

"There are two concentrations. Each one aligns with different career paths and distinct accreditation standards. The applied physiology concentration prepares entry-level exercise physiologists with the knowledge and skills to perform exercise testing and programming for healthy individuals or those managing chronic disease," explained Dyer.

"The strength and conditioning concentration prepares strength and conditioning specialists and sport scientists to apply scientific knowledge to develop safe and effective training and programming with the goal of improving human performance," she added.

"Our goal is to help students reach the next level professionally," remarked Dyer. "They will have a choice in deciding the best immersive experience to assist them with their next step. This could mean conducting a master's thesis, a clinical or field experience, or even an applied project."

Opportunities to Reach the Community


Students in the Movement & Performance Advancement Laboratory place reflective markers on another student. The markers are then detected by infrared cameras in the lab, which allow the computer system to identify and render a three-dimensional skeleton that can be used for movement analysis.

Dyer believes the launch of the program can lead to community services and collaborations like exercise testing and programming for specialized community groups such as firefighters and police and exercise oncology and Parkinson's clients. There also will be opportunities in the future to support both BW and the local community, including athletics and performing artists with performance-specific testing and training.

"The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the demand for exercise physiologists is projected to grow 10% from 2022 to 2032," noted Dyer. "That is a wonderful job-focused statistic. But equally important are daily rewards that make this profession so meaningful from a personal standpoint.

"The health and wellness field is about people and the lives we impact in positive ways. The master of science in exercise physiology is ideal for individuals who are looking to not only advance their careers and earning potential but who also have heartfelt pride in helping others achieve their goals," she added.

*Applicants for the master of science in exercise physiology who have a degree in an unrelated field can be eligible for enrollment with the following experience:

  • Significant work experience in a related field, which will be reviewed from a submitted resume (e.g., NCCA-certified personal trainer, athletic coaching experience, cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation specialist, BSN-prepared nursing professional).

  • Successful completion of the online exercise science basics modules at BW, which are offered the summer before the first semester of the program.

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