SUNY Canton Adds Health and Fitness Promotion Bachelor’s Degree

SUNY Canton Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) majors Katie Campbell of Avon, Ct., and Gary Travers of North Bangor monitor Chelsey MacDonald of Massena’s performance on the treadmill. The PTA program will serve as the first two years in the College’s new health and fitness promotion four-year degree.

SUNY Canton’s newest program will lead to careers in the growing fitness industry and offers students a gateway to health-related advanced degree programs, including a doctor of physical therapy.

The College has received approval from the State University of New York and the New York State Department of Education to offer the four-year health and fitness promotion degree.

“The health industry continues to grow and we expect this program to grow quickly as well,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “I can see it expanding as rapidly as our new sports management major, which already has more than 125 applicants for next year.”

The newest offering is a two plus two program that builds on the College’s existing two-year programs according to Deborah Molnar, a doctor of physical therapy and director of the College’s physical therapist assistant (PTA) program.

“One of the first questions incoming students ask about the two-year PTA program is ‘How do I become a physical therapist with this degree?’” Molnar said. “The health and fitness promotion program can close the gap between our associate degree and a doctorate of physical therapy.”

The program consists of student-selected tracks. During the first two years in an associate’s program, students can opt to take PTA specific courses, or other relevant associate degree courses with an emphasis in science and health. During the final two years, students can choose either a science or a business track depending on their personal interests. Students who wish to start a career immediately after college would typically select the business track, while those seeking to continue their education towards a doctor of physical therapy or other health-related degrees can choose the science track.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for fitness workers are expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations. There is rapid job growth in health clubs and other fitness facilities. Employment in the field is expected to grow 27 percent through 2016. Graduates of the program may pursue employment in settings that promote health and wellness including fitness centers, corporate fitness facilities, as personal trainers, with athletic teams, and community and health organizations.

“The benefits of good health and exercise have become increasingly prevalent and integrated into our society,” said Diane Para, Ph.D., an assistant professor and the director of the college’s sports management program. “Fitness is no longer reserved for elite athletes. It is equally important for all members of society as a means of disease prevention and longevity.”

The program will be a complement to the sports management program, according to Para, and will utilize shared faculty members and training resources. Students in the program will utilize the resources in the new “Roos House” Athletic Center scheduled to open later this spring, including the facility’s brand new state-of-the-art fitness center.

Similar to most of SUNY Canton’s four-year programs, courses in the health and fitness promotion program will be offered in face-to-face, hybrid, and online formats. For more information, or to seek admission into the program for the Fall 2011 semester, contact the SUNY Canton Admissions Office at 315-386-7123 or email admissions@canton.edu.

For additional information, view the curriculum Health & Fitness Promotion webpage.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.


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