If you have a passion for healthy living and physical activity, why not promote public wellness and physical education by training to be a coach, teacher, personal trainer, health facility manager, or recreation director.  Or you can prepare for graduate study in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Fire Science enables you to progress in your career as a firefighter.  Small class sizes mean lots of hands-on, active learning with professors who take a personal interest in their students’ well being and success.  

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Student Experience: Fire Science Program


Exercise Science (B.S.)

Exercise Science degree opens opportunities in both the cardiac rehabilitation and corporate fitness fields, as well as prepares the student for graduate studies in exercise physiology, biomechanics, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other allied health fields. It will prepare students for various entry- to mid-level jobs in the fitness industry, such as training, strength coaching, managerial, directorial and corporate wellness roles. It also can enable students to secure entry-level positions in the healthcare field as an exercise physiologist in cardiac rehab or clinical exercise specialist.

See curriculum guide. 

Health & Fitness (B.S.)

A major in Health and Fitness prepares the student to become a health fitness specialist or a personal trainer and find a career in the hospital, corporate or private fitness industry.  Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercises, resistance training, and stretching.  Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.

See curriculum guide. 

Sports & Fitness Management (B.S.)

Sports and Fitness Management major is for students interested in running a health club or managing a sports team. Individuals working in this industry are concerned with the planning, organizing, managing, and budgeting aspects of a department or organization whose main purpose is related to sports or physical activities. Sports management professionals handle the behind the scenes features, such as finance, marketing, leadership, facility management, and event management. Sports management is applied in nearly all types of levels of sports, including municipal recreation, private organizations, social organizations, government athletic activities, amateur sport, college-level athletics, and professional sports.

See curriculum guide

Physical Education (B.S.) (Teaching Certification)

A major in Physical Education prepare the student for a career in the public or private sector of recreation. Graduates in physical education find career opportunities teaching in public or private educational settings, coaching within the community, athletic programs including coaching at higher education institutions, community sports positions with parks and recreation facilities, and/or local organizations like the YMCA. If interested in coaching at higher education institutions, students are encouraged to maintain a 3.0 GPA to enhance their possibility for acceptance into graduate school to pursue the necessary master’s degree required to coach at this level. Students majoring in physical education will be studying the art and science of human movement, which includes classes in elementary, middle and high school activities; motor learning, physiology and the psychology of human movement; the art of teaching and motivating students; and an appreciation of the individual differences of all people.

See curriculum guide

Fire Science (A.A.S.)

Administered by the Department of Kinesiology, the Fire Science program is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and education to become a state-certified firefighter. As part of the program, students will also receive Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. The firefighting curriculum (FIRS and FIRT courses) is delivered via a mixture of supervised distance education, hands-on practical experience and classroom and lab settings for the on-campus cohort, while the general education portion of the degree will be delivered through traditional courses. Training Division will also provide a two-week on-site boot camp required of all students. Students who complete the program will receive a degree from Southwestern, while certification is offered by the State of Texas upon completion of the state exam.

See curriculum guide

Health & Fitness (A.S.)

This degree will prepare you to become a certified personal trainer and work in hospitals, schools, spas, and in public or private fitness industry.  You’ll become educated in many facets of healthy lifestyles such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, healthy behaviors, etc.  The program includes theory courses, laboratory experiences, and internships in the fitness industry.


Your Future


A degree from the Kinesiology department prepares you for work in a hospital, school, fitness center, gymnasium, or in firefighting leadership.  It also serves as preparation for graduate education in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Additional certifications offered in connection with degrees in the Kinesiology department increase employment opportunities.

Sample Job Titles

  • Physical Therapist
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Trainer
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Recreational Director
  • Athletic Administrator
  • Fitness Specialist
  • Certified Firefighter
  • Fire Inspector
  • Fire Investigator

Expected employment growth of physical therapists 2010 to 2020

Faculty Profiles

Vesa Naukkarinen, MS

Associate Professor

Chad Hutchinson, MS

Assistant Professor

Paulino Santos-Andino, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor and Department Chair

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