New Kinesiology Degree Prepares Future Phys. Ed., Health Teachers

Wellness Center

Kinesiology is the study of human movement, and one of the new degree programs offered at Elizabeth City State University. And according to Dr. Kacey DiGiacinto, program coordinator, the creation of this program is a game changer for students looking at a career in education.

“For the first time, the physical education and health component is going to be able to certify students to be physical education or health teachers,” said DiGiacinto. “In the past, they could only be certified in physical education. So now they can get certified within their four-year degree. We’re better preparing them.”

DiGiancinto says there are three concentrations under the degree: fitness and wellness, physical education and health, and exercise science.

“Those are in addition to our separate sports management degree,” she said.

DiGiancinto said offering these three concentrations, along with revising the existing curricula, will help students with employment placement after graduation. She added that students will be able to sit for eight national accreditation exams while working on their degree at ECSU.

“Making them more marketable in the job market,” she said.

Currently, there is a wellness center on the ECSU campus, but DiGiancinto says there will also be two new exercise physiology labs created for the program. She said she is currently working with Provost Vann Newkirk on the development of the labs.

“He’s working very hard on the funding for that,” said DiGiancinto.

DiGiancinto says there are currently 40 students enrolled in the program. She said, however, there is a likelihood that the number will grow during the coming semester.

“We have students who are going to be sophomores and juniors and can elect to go into the program,” she said.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for a physical education and health teacher is good and growing stronger. The Bureau reports that the job market for these teachers will be strongest in inner cities, and rural areas.

Also according to the Bureau report, teacher employment is expected to grow by 13 percent through 2018. In North Carolina, the need for teachers is at an all-time high.