Minot State University is offering a new exercise science and rehabilitation degree starting in the Fall 2020 semester. The new bachelor’s degree falls under the kinesiology department.
“There’s seven options that can go off of the degree. They can do exercise science with a certification, pre-athletic training, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-physician assistant, pre-chiropractic, and pre-med, so there’s lots of different things they can do,” said Heather Golly, director of athletic training education.
One reason the new degree was created is that the large baby boomer population will need more health assistance.
“Baby boomers are becoming older so the generation now needs to be able to work with that population. Being able to work with young kids and then also all the way up to retirement and the old age generation, we’re going to train people to work throughout their lifespan with a diverse population,” Golly said.
Baby boomers will all be over the age of 65 by 2030, which means one in five U.S. citizens will be of retirement age according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For the first time in history, older people will outnumber younger people, making it more of a necessity for this generation to have access to a rehabilitation-focused degree.
“Consumers aged 50-plus consume 52% of personal health care products, 55% of physical therapy sessions, 57% of health club memberships, and 82% of home healthcare usage,” Golly explained.
Another reason for the addition of this degree is the change of athletic training now requiring a master’s degree, which Minot State does not offer. This new degree will prepare students who want to continue in that field.
“We’re transitioning from athletic training to this because athletic training is going to a master’s program. This will set people up if they want to do that, but also with the new interest in strength and conditioning, that becomes an option as well,” Golly said.
The main focus of this degree is the rehabilitation aspect. The new curriculum is focused on rehab along with other areas of the health field.
“We have a lot of new classes that are rehab-based, we’ll offer three rehab classes and programming classes, like programming a strength and conditioning workout. Also, graded exercise testing: how to do an EKG, and how to do cardiac evals, and that type of stuff,” Golly stated.
With the new degree available to students, more career paths are created and accessible to MSU graduates and the department will have a more diverse field.
“If they want to go into a clinical setting, hospital-based type of stuff, they have that option. There’s also strength and conditioning coaches or fitness instructors,” Golly said.
Golly and the rest of the professors in the department are excited to see what this new degree brings to Minot State and how it can make MSU students more successful in their chosen career paths.