The University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology have been awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
CAAHEP is a national organization that assesses the quality of health sciences education programs. Accredited programs undergo a rigorous review to ensure they are preparing students for careers as health professionals.
“This accreditation signals to students that our programs meet a gold standard,” says Kelli Davis, associate professor of practice at Pitt Education and program director of the MS in Clinical Exercise Physiology. “It lets students know that we are teaching them the things they need to know for their certification exams and future careers.”
Pitt Education’s programs are taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields with diverse research agendas and specializations which include applied, clinical, and community engagements.
The exercise science program trains students to apply exercise science for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and conditions, to improve human performance, and to enhance health and well-being. The CAAHEP accreditation includes an add-on for strength-and-conditioning to support students pursuing athletic and clinical roles. Pitt Education is one of only 15 undergraduate programs in the country with this add-on.
The clinical exercise physiology program prepares students for clinical, applied, or research careers focused on preventing and treating chronic health-related conditions. The graduate program is one of just 13 in the United States that is accredited by CAAHEP.
“Being accredited by our field’s most highly regarded association indicates that students will receive the highest-quality training that will best prepare them for health-fitness and clinical careers related to exercise science,” says Elizabeth Nagle, associate professor of practice at Pitt Education and program director of the BS in Exercise Science.
The job outlook for the exercise and health sciences is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the exercise physiology field is expected to grow by 9% by 2031.
Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine’s certifications for exercise physiologists and clinical exercise physiologists will require students to graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited program beginning in 2027.
“More jobs are requiring certifications now,” says Nagle. “We want to give students the knowledge and tools to successfully earn them.”
Anna Moser (BS ‘21, MS ‘22) knows how important certifications are for graduates.
A graduate of both the exercise science and clinical exercise physiology programs, she is preparing to pursue her clinical exercise physiology certification.
“As a student at Pitt, I not only learned about different clinical populations but also how to perform clinical skills, such as exercise prescription, graded exercise testing protocols, and EKG interpretation,” Moser says. “Having a variety of experienced faculty who worked clinically in the field, and who took this certification, helps students understand how all this information is applied in a clinical setting.”
Moser says the CAAHEP accreditation will help Pitt graduates to further stand out in the professional world.
“This accreditation will show that our students are adequately prepared to work with clinical populations in any setting,” Moser says. “Also, being accredited will help students be prepared for the certification examination if they desire to take it. I believe this is a huge step for this program and is happening at a great time as this field continues to grow.”