In a recent online brief, the Health and Well-being major, housed in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, was identified for its cutting-edge degree-certification pathway. The article, by Higher Ed Dive, focused on four-year schools that are embedding industry credentials into their programs to prepare graduating students for the workforce.
“Combining industry certifications and college degrees is advantageous for everyone,” Valerie Wayda, CPASS associate dean for undergraduate education academic affairs, said. “CPASS strives to blend innovation within the college to ensure student success.”
The report outlines how certifications within degree programs can benefit students by giving them skills employers seek, growing their earning potential while in college and expanding their awareness of career pathways.
The CPASS Health and Well-being bachelor’s degree includes the option for students to complete several credentials such as personal trainer and health education specialist certifications. According to the report, recent research suggests that liberal-arts graduates can improve their job prospects considerably if they graduate with even one or two industry-specific skills along with their degree.
“Currently, Health and Well-being students pursing the Bachelor of Arts track have the option to pursue industry certifications as part of their course work at WVU,” Erin Jordan, HWB program coordinator, said.
“For example, with the Aquatic Physical Activity Area of Emphasis, students can earn certifications through the American Red Cross for Lifeguard and Water Safety Instruction. Additionally, students are eligible for the National Swimming Pool Foundation Certified Pool Operator Exam,” she said.
Additionally, Jordan explains that Fitness Area of emphasis students can learn knowledge and skills to prepare them in taking the American Council Certification for Personal Training.
“Currently we are working on integrating competencies for the Certified Health Education Specialist certification through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. NCHEC sets the standards for credentialing in the health education profession,” Jordan said.
According to Jordan, Certified Health Education Specialists can work in various settings such as community health education, business and non-profit health education, academic and university health education, government and health departments, and in health care.
“We believe this certification aligns well with the Health and Well-being curriculum, particularly with the Bachelor of Arts in Health and Well-being track,” Jordan added.The NCHEC offers an overview of health education careers on their site.