According to your biography, you indicated that the
Masters program at CALU improved your knowledge base in your current career
With that being said, do you think the following career
paths are possible with this degree with someone who has no educational
background in the subject matter?
I have my CPT with NASM & National Strength Professional
Association & a BS Degree in Business Marketing, but with my full-time job I
find it hard to gain any hands on experience.
1.Starting my own performance enhancement business for high school / collegiate
2.Working in the private or government sector as a
occupational physiologist or owning / working in a corporate wellness business.
3.Coaching sports / Strength Coach/Working with
4.Working in a hospital as a rehabilitation specialist.
In addition, was the MS in Performance Enhancement challenging/difficult?
How would you compare this program to other exercise
The reason I'm asking so many questions is because I'm a
little nervous with making a transition from a career with a great salary to the
unknown is a bit discouraging. However, I'm very passionate about sports
and exercise and feel that this is my true calling.
Any advice or recommendations would be greatly
Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS
Most masters programs in exercise science related fields are very
specialized. The fact than the MS program in Exercise Science:
Performance Enhancement & Injury Prevention was more generalized was something
that turned me on to it.
I believe that any personal trainer that trains the general population must
be well rounded and a MS program that dealt with something like aerobic capacity
in athletes is way too specialized for the people I want to work with.
I'm not saying the program is not good for training athletes I'm saying it
applies to everyone. Most of the concepts I learned in the program were
almost completely independent from what I learned in my BS in exercise science.
Functional anatomy was a real eye opener as was much of the material.
The way the MS is designed really makes you think and opened my mind to allow me
to expand my past knowledge in many directions. I don't see too much of a
problem with entering the MS program without a exercise science degree.
Since you already have your NASM-CPT it shows you can learn the concepts in the
Your Questions about Cal U Masters Degree and...
1.Starting my own
performance enhancement business for high school / collegiate athletes.
To be honest, your degree in business marketing will go
a lot further in becoming a better business owner than a kinesiology degree
would have. The MS in combination with the relevant certifications (NASM-PES
is course in the MS program) will give you more than enough on-paper
qualifications than you would need but without the hands-on experience having a
good team would be the key to your success.
2.Working in the private
or government sector as a occupational physiologist or owning / working in a
corporate wellness business.
Again, your business education will help you with all
the paperwork aspects and your MS studies are directly related to performance
enhancement and injury prevention which will make you qualified to run a
corporate wellness program.
3.Coaching sports /
Strength Coach/Working with professional athletes.
This depends more on your previous experience in the
sports which you wish to train athletes. Again, going into a business by
yourself may be a bit difficult but if you assemble a team that compliments each
other, the Cal U MS will give you the credentials you need for this type of
Rob Williams a colleague of mine who works as a strength
and conditioning trainer for the supplement company EAS.
He completed the same Cal U MS program in performance
enhancement and has trained the likes of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady
Quinn and $100 million man Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald
4.Working in a hospital as a
I'm not familiar with all the rules and regulations in
hospitals but I think rehabilitation specialists in hospitals are licensed
physical therapists which is a whole other animal and requires a specific
physical therapy program and license. I have known trainers working in
hospital gyms, not as physical therapists but this is something you should
research yourself on hospital job postings.
Changing Career Paths
Congratulations for at least considering changing careers to something more
fulfilling. Making money is one thing but doing it while you are doing
something you love and are passionate about is priceless.
Whether or not you will be able to make the change depends on many factors
mostly depending on your financial obligations such as wife, kids, house
payment, etc. Starting your own business in the fitness field is not
something which will pay anything comparable to your salary job at the outset.
It takes time to build up a business whether that business is simply your
clientele at an independent training facility or your own training business.
If you do decide to try to change careers I would recommend you try to make a
As I stated in my review of the Cal U MS program in
Exercise Science: Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention, being
able to apply the new concepts you learn on a daily basis is very important.
In addition to giving you more hands-on experience it helps learn the new
information and appreciate the science behind it.
Just like any education you get during your life, some
things are forgotten, some are used from time to time and some learned knowledge
you use on a daily basis. If you are involved in a training job while you
are completing your MS program you will be more likely to retain what you learn
as well as being able to apply it better.
Since the Cal U MS program is administered 100% online
you can still work a job or 2 if that's the route you decide to take.
Whatever you decide, good luck with your possible career change and business