Olympic leap into USC top 3 for Clinical Exercise Science | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Olympic leap into USC top 3 for Clinical Exercise Science

An exercise degree has leapt into the top 3 courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast, reflecting a strong rise in the program’s popularity for 2022.

The Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology joins Nursing Science and Occupational Therapy as USC's most sought-after degrees for 2022, after an almost 10 percent rise in QTAC offers to study the program in Semester 1.

New student Jasmine Walker, who enrolled with an ATAR of 97.05, said she was initially interested in the course due to the wide variety of work opportunities for graduates.

“There are so many different types of work for clinical exercise physiologists and I like to keep my options open,” said Jasmine.

“When I found out my ATAR, I was very surprised and thought I could’ve had a shot at a degree like medicine, but I still preferred exercise physiology because it combined my desire to help people and my passion for exercise.”

Program Coordinator Associate Professor Suzanne Broadbent said the degree’s popularity boost was likely due to strong rates of graduate employment, national interest in healthy ageing, growing opportunities in mental health, and interest in exercise science with South East Queensland hosting the 2032 Olympic Games.

“Nearly 100 percent of USC graduates are getting jobs soon after graduation. Many graduates have been offered employment during their final practicum placements,” Dr Broadbent said.

“That's largely due to our focus on broad, practical skills and compliance to meet industry standards, as well as wide experience with practicums in metropolitan and rural and remote areas, in public and private hospitals and rehab settings.”  

She said the profession had grown enormously during the past 10 years with a focus on oncology, sports and surgical rehabilitation, and broader opportunities to specialise in treating metabolic, cardio-pulmonary, cancer, women’s health, orthopaedic, neurological, and now, mental health conditions.

"That’s partly because people are living longer and trying to live healthier lives, and older people are staying in their homes for longer and trying to stay active,” Dr Broadbent said.

"The National Disability Insurance Scheme is another big driver, particularly in neurological and mental health fields over the past five years. A further challenge will be working with clients post-COVID, who have ongoing symptoms such as fatigue.

“And with the Olympic Games, exercise science in general has seen a jump in enrolments as people get enthusiastic about the opportunities it is likely to bring.

“USC is really well-placed to meet this need, being close to metropolitan areas, with a High Performance Sport program on site, and with an expanding and ageing population on the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions.” 

Dr Broadbent, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, said Clinical Exercise Physiology also has parity with physiotherapy and occupational therapy in terms of pay and opportunities across private and public health.

Details of the degree are at: Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology.

Other programs in USC’s top 10 that have experienced big jumps in QTAC offers are Social Work, Social Science (Psychology)/Criminology and Justice, Business and Primary Education.

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