September 26, 2019

Certification Rates for VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program Greatly Exceed National Stats

(L-R) Exercise physiology students Kurel Wright, Cameron Freeman, Alanna Lewis, Susan Sprosty, Courtney Martin, Hannah Dickerson, Kyrsten Giebeig, Leah Akins, Austin Stewart, Imani Conner, and India Jackson in VSU’s Human Performance Lab

VALDOSTA — Students graduating from Valdosta State University’s Exercise Physiology program are standing out from their peers across the country by having significantly higher pass rates for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification test.

ACSM certification is “the most recognized, rigorous, and respected certification in the profession,” according to Dr. Mark Kasper, director of VSU’s Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology degree program, and since 2016, VSU students have consistently exceeded national pass rates by large margins. 

In the last two years, 93 percent of VSU’s exercise physiology students received ACSM certification on their first attempt — compared to the national pass rates of 71 and 73 percent for the same two years, respectively.

“We strive for this, and we expect it,” said Kasper, who added that VSU’s Exercise Physiology program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs since 2016. “We demand this level of excellence from ourselves and our students.

“Employers want professionals who can take the science and apply it to exercising adults in a variety of settings. Graduating from VSU and earning the ACSM Certification assures graduates and employers that our students have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enter the workforce as competent exercise physiologists.”

Kasper attributed the high pass rates to a high-quality program built and sustained by a variety of factors. 

“We have passionate professors, outstanding facilities, and small class sizes,” he said. “Students have many opportunities to hone their skills. Our curriculum and courses are dynamic to reflect worksite demands and best practices, and internship sites favor our students because they are prepared like an employee and not an intern.” 

VSU offers both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in exercise physiology. The programs prepare students to work in a variety of settings, including cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, corporate fitness/wellness, hospital health promotion, outpatient rehabilitation, human performance laboratories, and private practice. The degrees also allow students to continue their professional studies in areas such as exercise physiology, medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more.

While at VSU, exercise physiology students have numerous opportunities to apply their education in clinical and non-clinical settings within the state-of-the-art Health Sciences and Business Administration Building. They have access to academic labs where they perform cardiac rehab programs for training and research, along with a Human Performance Lab that houses equipment for work related to cardiopulmonary assessment and body fat analysis. Students can also gain extensive hands-on experience by working and learning in VSU’s Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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