The commitment and cost of college can be intimidating. For some jobs within the exercise science field, you may only need industry certifications to be qualified. So why earn your degree? 

While you can enter the exercise science field without a degree, there are certain benefits to earning your degree in exercise science, specifically when it comes to what you can achieve in your career. 

Career Advancement and Changes

Some exercise science jobs only require certification. However, many advanced positions, or positions within certain organizations, require at minimum a bachelor’s degree, and often a master’s degree. For example, to coach at the youth or community level, it’s not likely you’ll need a degree, but coaching at collegiate levels or above often requires a master’s degree, such as St. Francis’s High Performance Coaching Master’s concentration.  

Additionally, earning your master’s or doctorate degree can qualify you for leadership positions in the field, with private businesses, government or community organizations, or universities. For those seeking to become professors, or conduct their own research, a doctoral degree is typically required. 

Earning a degree is also an excellent way to transition into the exercise science field, even if you have no previous knowledge or foundation in it. Many master’s programs, including the one at St. Francis College, do not require an undergraduate degree in the field prior to entry. Entering the exercise science world with a master’s not only gives you a strong basis of knowledge, but immediately opens you up to upper level exercise science positions. 

Learn More, Earn More

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with some college education but no degree earned on average $877 per week, those with a bachelor’s degree earned $1305 per week, those with a master’s degree earned $1545 per week, and those with a doctoral degree earned $1885 a week. Additionally, the unemployment rate dropped the higher the level of education achieved. 

Higher paying jobs in the field typically require higher levels of education. For example, fitness trainers and instructors earn on average $40,510 per year, according to the BLS, and that position can be obtained with certification. However, a physical therapist earns on average $91,010 per year according to the BLS, and requires earning a bachelor’s and entering a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. 

Gain a Wealth of Knowledge, and Stand Out in the Field

Earning an exercise science degree gives you the strong foundation of knowledge you’ll need to properly advise your athletes or clients from an informed perspective. While you can learn through certification programs, degree programs will give you a wider breadth of knowledge, and will allow you to become a subject expert on specific topics. 

For example, if you want to serve as a personal trainer or health coach, an exercise science bachelor’s degree will give you the background knowledge you need to excel at your career, and a master’s in a specific concentration can give you the knowledge you need to become a specialist in a certain area, such as strength and conditioning or sports nutrition. 

You can become more competitive in positions that don’t necessarily require the degree level you are pursuing by becoming a specialist in an area and having your expertise be backed by a trusted and respected institution. 


About St. Francis College

For 160 years, St. Francis has provided an affordable, quality education to students of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Ninety-seven percent of St. Francis students receive some form of financial aid, including federal and state grants, federal loans and newly increased amounts of institutional scholarships, making St. Francis one of the most affordable private colleges in New York City.

Learn more about our programs.

BS in Exercise & Movement Science

MS in Exercise & Sport Science: High Performance Coaching

MS in Exercise & Sport Science: Sport Psychology

MS in Exercise & Sport Science: Strength and Conditioning

MS in Exercise & Sport Science: Generalist