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Old 07-11-2007, 08:11 AM   #11
Ken Urakawa
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I'll throw in my $.02:

I received my MS from ASU (which was the top-ranked graduate Exercise Science program at the time, tyvm) 7 or 8 years ago. Damn, I'm old. Anyway, I would certainly count my time there as worthwhile, but not necessarily directly leading to my making more money. The fact that I have letters after my name doesn't make me a better trainer. Although the same could be argued about certifications--I've met plenty of certified personal trainers that couldn't coach their way out of a wet paper bag.

That being said, the knowledge base that I developed while there has been invaluable. Not only the classroom info, but also just interacting with a lot of REALLY smart and passionate people. I had many informal discussions with other students and/or faculty that really shaped my ideas and approaches. Sort of like this forum, but with actual beer. Having the academic background enables me to evaluate and integrate new ideas and training theories more effectively. I think I have a greater appreciation of the how's and why's than the average gym-goer.

I wouldn't trade the experience, and if finances permitted I would love to go back and get a PhD.

BUT, I'll be the first to admit that I've learned more practical, applicable, info from Mr. John and Mr. Wolf than I did from school. Being introduced to CrossFit shaped the way I do things. From a day-to-day perspective, the alphabet soup after my name doesn't really seem to affect how much money I make.

Robb and R. Alan both have great points--consider well where you want to end up, and then choose your path accordingly.
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:27 AM   #12
Neal Winkler
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Yeah, I think I'm pretty much going to forego the masters in exercise physiology, based on what I had been thinking and what everyone has said here. I'm really just ready to get my life started. I'm actually an old fart because I spent four years going for a degree in computers (I was going to graduate in five) only to drop it because I hated it, but I stuck with it because that's what everyone said was thing to go into (its the future blah blah blah). Since exercise phys. and computers are totally different basically only my first year of general eds applied and some electives, leaving me to start pretty much over. Besides, I've always felt that I learn better when studyng the things I want - I've never felt I was really made for college.
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:32 AM   #13
Mike ODonnell
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The degree gets you your first job working for someone else....after that it's all what you want to make of it. Like said before some paths (like coaching a sports team) would require more credentials than saying being a trainer at the local gym (where some may only have a HS diploma). Out working you will learn from the good trainers what they do right....and from the bad ones on what they do wrong. Good people skills and sales is always a plus...but in the long run get your clients results and to look like greek gods....well you will have people talking all about you and getting others lining up at your door...and you don't need a masters to do that. The people who "look the part" essentially have people thinking "well he must know how to get me in shape"....I laugh when I hear..."Yeah this guy is a really great trainer because he used to play pro football"....Ummmm yeah so he worked out for 3 hours a day and had his own strength coach telling him what to eat and do.....but he's a good trainer?
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:40 PM   #14
Yael Grauer
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You can always look up the bios of coaches at the schools (or wherever) you want to work at. I looked up U of A coaches once and iirc while there were some people with advanced degrees, there were as many in business and secondary education as there were in applied kinesiology or sports psychology. But almost everyone had coached a ton of teams in different schools (probably easier to do if you go to one.)

It's always such a tough call. I decided to get my teaching certification through a community college post-bacc program instead of going back to school to get another Bachelor's or a Masters in Education. I think it was about 10% of the price if that, plus I did the majority of my classes online. The whole two jobs and school thing was stressful, but I took out no loans. I also got hired in a district that has tuition reimbursement, so I can eventually go back--and I know people who have actually gotten their degrees through distance learning from accreddited institutions while working full-time. Although it's possible I don't think distance learning would be a good option for degrees where you would really benefit from seeing/interacting with people, however.
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:36 PM   #15
Eva Claire Synkowski
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i think robb touched on this.... but definitely dont overlook the possibility of fellowships and research assistantships to pay for everything. he's right, "salary" isn't more than what you would be making in the "real world" - but it's an opportunity for some quality research experience, and to make future networking connections. if you have some flexibility in school location - you can likely find the funding for a science MS.

more so than undergrad application process - it's super important to research your potential mentor, their # of pubs, their funding, etc. - which will make or break the experience more so than the university name.
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