B.S. in Exercise Science & Health Promotion

The exercise science and health promotion major prepares students to work in fields related to health education and promotion of health programs, exercise science, nutrition, and lifestyle management, corporate wellness, or to continue to a graduate program of study. A student will be immersed in a practical environment as a sophomore/junior through service as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor in the Otterbein OtterFit Faculty and Staff Health and Fitness Program. The senior year culminates in an internship in a corporate, community, university, commercial, or clinical setting of a minimum of 344 field hours.

Why Exercise Science & Health Promotion

Students choose this major if they desire to work in public or community health, as a strength and conditioning coach at the high school or collegiate level, as an exercise specialist in a clinical setting, as a group fitness leader/personal trainer in a corporate or commercial fitness center, or in development of health programs in a wide variety of settings. The faculty academic advisor will work with you to determine the direction in this field that might be best.

Earn the Degree

The coursework prepares one to take fitness assessments, prescribe exercise programs commensurate with the client’s needs and goals, and educate people about basic nutritional concepts. The major will be able to lead individuals with chronic disease in programs to improve their health and fitness. Students will be exposed to the organization and management of a worksite wellness program through presentation of health fairs, lunch and learn presentations, and health coaching. The anatomy and physiology of the human body will be followed by exposure to kinesiology and exercise physiology. This knowledge will permit the student greater understanding of strength and conditioning.

There are required classes to prepare a student for certification as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and group fitness instructor. At a minimum, students graduate with the American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer certification (ACSM cPT) and the American College of Sports Medicine Group Exercise Instructor (ACSM GEI). Students are encouraged and supported in adding other professional credentials before graduating including the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA CSCS) or Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F), or USAW Sport Performance Coach Certification.

The Exercise Science and Health Promotion major is recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as an Education Recognition Program in Strength and Conditioning. Only four other institutions in Ohio are so recognized.

The goals for every major in Exercise Science and Health Promotion is to:

  • Have the content knowledge to work in the field.
  • Have at least an ACSM personal trainer certification and a certification as a group exercise instructor.
  • Have over 500 hours of practical experience in one-on-one and group settings in working with individuals on their physical goals/needs.

Course Checklist/Four Year Plan

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science & Health Promotion Checklist (PDF)
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science & Health Promotion four year plan (PDF)


Career opportunities are numerous and include fitness/wellness programs, cardiac rehabilitation, YMCA/YWCA’s/private health and commercial fitness clubs, government or private agencies, college and university athletic teams, recreational facilities and community recreation centers, health departments, and strength and conditioning programs, and church youth programming.


Otterbein University requires all seniors in Exercise Science & Health Promotion to complete an internship. This opportunity allows the student to integrate the formal academic preparation with a semester-long practical work experience. The goals of the internship program are:

  • To enhance your professional growth.
  • To further your understanding and appreciation of the role, duties, and responsibilities of a health or sport professional.
  • To further the development of a central core of values, attitudes, skills, and information related to the world of work through experiences outside the classroom and campus environment.
  • To add depth and relevance to your classroom work.
  • To enable you to gain a sense of different career fields and of specific jobs within each of these fields.
  • To improve your job-search and interviewing skills.

To learn more check out our Exercise Science & Health Promotion Internship Manual (PDF).

How long does the internship last?

The internship is a minimum of 344 hours of contact in the student-chosen setting. The hours are satisfied over the 15-week semester or 23 hours per week.

What are the benefits of interning through Otterbein?

It’s all about location, location, location. Columbus, the capital city of Ohio, and its surrounding communities offer many opportunities for a student to gain access to a wide variety of work settings including government, corporations, commercial, recreational, and public and private agencies.

Where do Otterbein students intern?

  • Cooper Fitness Institute in Dallas, Texas
  • Emblem Health in New York City
  • Infinity Fitness, SOAR Fitness, Columbus Fit Life
  • Summit Vision
  • Ludas Magnus
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • University of Notre Dame at South Bend, Strength & Conditioning
  • The Ohio State University, Strength and Conditioning
  • University of Louisville, Strength and Conditioning
  • Youngstown State, Strength and Conditioning
  • Ohio University, Strength and Conditioning
  • University of Southern Florida, Strength and Conditioning
  • University of Houston, Strength and Conditioning
  • SPIRE Institute, Geneva, OH
  • Florida Atlantic University, Strength and Conditioning
  • The Ohio State University-Wexner Sports Medicine
  • Knox County Health Department
  • McConnell Heart Health Center
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Hylant
  • Verizon Wireless Corporate
  • Wendy’s International Corporate
  • Westerville Community Center
  • Worthington Community Center
  • Vineyard Church
  • Google Headquarters, Mountain View, CA


Student Learning Outcomes University Learning Goals (KMERI*)
1. The student demonstrates the knowledge and skills of a health and fitness practitioner. Knowledgeable, Inquisitive
2. The student assesses the needs and wants of individuals or groups in order to determine priorities for health and fitness programming. Multi-literate, Engaged
3. The student plans effective physical activity and nutritional programs for individuals/groups and health programs for clinical, corporate, community, commercial, and/or university-based organizations. Multi-literate
4. The student practices their decision-making and critical thinking and analysis skills in practical opportunities. Engaged, Responsible
5. The student applies both oral and written communication skills and organizational abilities when working with individuals and groups in practicum settings. Multi-literate
6. Student will demonstrate mastery of knowledge related to anatomy and physiology and human movement. In addition, students will display competence in their knowledge of the effect of exercise on the physiological systems. Knowledgeable

*NOTE: KMERI refers to Otterbein's learning goals. It stands for KnowledgeableMulti-literateEngagedResponsible, and Inquisitive. To learn more about KMERI, visit our University Learning Goals page.