I have $60,000 in student loans. I thought when I re-entered college in 2007, that I would be able to earn an average income of $40 – $50,000 per year upon graduation as an exercise physiologist or personal trainer. I received two job offers after my graduation. One was for $9/hr as a physical therapist technician, which really came out to $8/hr because of the way hours and breaks were calculated. The other was for $9/hr as well in which I quickly was offered a managerial position at a locally owned health club. This job could have secured me a higher income but when my mother became fatally ill with cancer and I needed to be with her, the local club couldn’t make ends meat and shut down. They were hanging on by a thread in this economy when I started and I believe they offered me that job as a last attempt at saving their business. I now blog and am an Amazon.com Associate and recommend healthy products for others, but that income is near zilch. I have a ton of education but the education I got does not give me sufficient license to get a job in that field. My bachelor’s in Exercise Science is great as a pre-medical degree but doesn’t offer much for those who stop at B.S.
What are your thoughts on encouraging colleges to offer specific licenses more often, such as with my degree? I feel that for the amount of money I borrowed to pay for those classes, I could have come out with something a little more “ready to go.”
For example, I took a class that taught straight out of the ACSM’s guide to being a certified Health Fitness Specialist, I paid tuition for that class, but the certification test that the professor could have proctored as a final exam was not included. Instead I would have to pay a separate $300 to the American College of Sports Medicine to receive that certification. Health Fitness Specialists aren’t licensed to do much but they can at least administer ECG‘s, perform stress tests, and work with people at higher risk than most personal trainers; like people with heart disease and diabetes (under the supervision of a physician). It seems those jobs are available in very small numbers while personal training gigs are a dime a dozen… as long as you agree to be paid on a draw, and in this economy that turns personal trainers into hardcore salesmen. Since most people pay for the quickest and easiest things, a trainer with less education who recommends potentially dangerous exercise habits and supplements will get the clients. It is sad how many people in my area are walking around very “pumped up,” but are in awful health.
It seems that the college system is just yet another money-making machine that is getting out of control. A public institution should have a little more responsibility to the public and the public loans through the federal loan programs could demand more value out of the educations they fund. Just some thoughts…