September 10, 2015

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program Earns CAAHEP Accreditation

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Exercise Physiology Program has earned initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Dr. LaGary Carter, assistant dean of the School of Health Sciences in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at VSU, said that making the decision to pursue CAAHEP accreditation, which is a voluntary process, “demonstrates our commitment to student preparation, training, and success based on established professional standards and guidelines by an independent agency. It feels great to be recognized in this fashion. It is one of many things that helps to distinguish VSU as a quality institution within the University of System of Georgia.” 

Carter and Sarah Fretti Thomas, program director, began the process of applying for formal CAAHEP accreditation in early fall 2014, after relocating to the new Health Sciences and Business Administration Building. This included gathering information and data to complete a comprehensive self-study review of VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program.

“Of note,” Carter said, “the curriculum for the Exercise Physiology Program has not changed in the last 10 years. The only major improvement to the program has been the state-of-the-art equipment in the Human Performance Laboratory, Fitness Center, and classrooms within the Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.”  

That self-study was submitted to CAAHEP’s Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences on Feb. 27. A representative from the committee visited VSU on May 7, reviewing facilities and interviewing university administrators and program faculty, students, and recent graduates.

With the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, VSU received word that its Exercise Physiology Program had been awarded initial accreditation, effective through July 31, 2019.

“Accreditation serves to academically distinguish accredited programs of study from non–accredited programs,” Carter said. “It represents the presence of internal and external measures, within a program of study, as a barometer to help ensure quality achievement and quality improvement. Valdosta State University and Georgia State University are the only two programs in the state of Georgia that are accredited by CAAHEP. This benchmark represents a commitment on the part of the administration at VSU, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Exercise Physiology Program faculty to student learning and success.”

VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program is one of only a handful of undergraduate programs in the nation that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology (B.S.E.P.). It is recognized and respected as one of the premier exercise physiology programs in the Southeast and strives to be recognized and respected by pertinent professional organizations and employers as one of the premier exercise physiology programs in the United States.

Carter said that receiving CAAHEP accreditation “even further solidifies the strength of the program, particularly in lieu of the fact that it is one of only 44 accredited undergraduate exercise science-type programs nationwide. This recognition should benefit our graduates when applying for their first job or applying to graduate programs in such areas as exercise physiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic medicine, allopathic and osteopathic medicine, physician assistant, and so on.”

Accrediting standards were established by CAAHEP, its Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences, and the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, American Kinesiotherapy Association, Cooper Institute, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and National Council on Strength and Fitness.

Contact Dr. LaGary Carter at (229) 333-5895 or or Sarah Fretti Thomas at (229) 245-6599 or to learn more.

On the Web:

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit to learn more.