UMass Lowell adds Exercise and Fitness Management degree option
A new UMass Lowell degree program for students interested in pursuing a career in fitness and sports management is already proving to be a popular option.
Students enrolled as an exercise science major at UMass Lowell’s Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences are now given a choice of two academic options. The first provides the coursework and clinical experience required to become a physical therapist, medical assistant, or other naturopath. A new option in Sports and Fitness Management (EFM) combines courses in science with business, public health, and psychology to prepare students for careers as sports coach, sports and fitness management managers, and more.
Westford-based Michael Hines, who enrolled in the Exercise Science program prior to taking the new option, was one of the first students to find his way to the EFM option. As an accomplished basketball player, the new option combines his two passions: business and sports. As he prepares for graduation in May, he’s not sure if he wants to do a PhD in physical therapy. But he knows that one day he will want to run his own sports training or physical therapy business.
“I’ve always had this entrepreneurial spirit,” said Hines. “I want to work with athletes. I would also like to work with younger children because at this age I hiked a bit and want to give them guidance. “
According to Kyle Coffey, assistant professor of physical therapy and kinesiology who leads the Exercise Science program, Hines is the type of student the EFM option was designed for.
According to Coffey, the academic pathway for the EFM option was developed by Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences and the Manning School of Business by UMass Lowell to provide enough business electives for students to complete a business minor. If they choose, they can get an MBA, Coffey said.
“The program is growing as we say, ‘Here’s what you can do with it,’ and as the business school says, ‘If you’re into exercise and fitness, do it as a student and then get an MBA,” said Coffey.
It’s also a great choice for students who start out with the clinical option and then find that they want to explore other career opportunities.
“We have the only public physical therapy degree program in the state. This is a big draw for students. Along the way, some of them realize they don’t want to be a practitioner but want to stay in the fitness and spa and they can get into the EFM option, ”Coffey said, adding that EFM graduates may continue to work in country jobs Areas from health management to biotechnology.
According to Coffey, EFM is especially exciting for students pursuing a career in college or in professional athletics.
“To do that, you have to understand budgets, management, and organizational behavior – all of the things that go into a college or pro program, which can be intense,” he said.
Hopkinton soccer player Gabrielle Weilding said she took the EFM option before the end of her freshman year after learning all the different things she could do with graduation.
“With exercise and fitness management, there are so many options,” she said. “I’ve been an athlete all my life, so I always wanted to stay in the sport. Sports marketing, sports management – there are so many jobs I would be interested in. “
Coffey hopes to add a for-credit internship to the program, similar to the experience students must have in the clinical option.
Hines already has a head start. With the help of Coffey, he received an internship at Athletic Evolution in Woburn, which combines athletic strength and fitness at a high level, physiotherapy and general fitness under one roof, he said.
Hines is already working with the certified strength and conditioning trainers. He will also spin through the business operations and the physiotherapy department, giving him insight into various aspects of the operation.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “You’ve coached some players who actually made it into the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and Major League Baseball. You currently have soccer players training for the NFL as well as many high school athletes looking to attend D1 schools. “