UM-Flint's College of Health Sciences adds four new programs in growing fields

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UM-Flint's College of Health Sciences will offer four new undergraduate programs in fall 2023.

The University of Michigan-Flint's College of Health Sciences is adding four new programs in fall 2023, giving students additional options to prepare for in-demand careers and to meet employer needs in a quickly growing and changing health care industry.

The new programs are:

Exercise Science and the accelerated pathways offer learners three new ways to prepare for UM-Flint's graduate programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy.

The innovative accelerated programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy will allow students to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree in health sciences in three years instead of four and apply to begin the doctorate degree one year sooner than the traditional path, saving significant time and money.

Exercise science is another great option for students interested in applying to a graduate program in physical therapy or occupational therapy. It also allows students to get certified as an exercise physiologist and a strength and conditioning specialist.

The completely online Health Information Technology degree is ideal for students who are interested in technology and want to impact patient care by managing vital health care data. 

"The College of Health Sciences is committed to meeting changing health care needs. We are excited to launch new programs that address those needs and give students more options to train for fulfilling health care careers in both patient care and behind the scenes," said Donna Fry, dean of the College of Health Sciences. "We are also proud to give aspiring physical therapists and occupational therapists a path to eliminate an entire year of training and earn two degrees for a significantly lower cost."

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Accelerated Pathways

Students in the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Accelerated Pathway programs will take health sciences courses, general education courses and graduate school prerequisites in their first three years and are then eligible to apply to start one of UM-Flint's three-year doctoral programs in either physical therapy or occupational therapy during their fourth year.

With these 3+3 programs, students can earn the doctoral degree in six total years instead of the traditional seven years, thereby getting students into in-demand and high-paying careers sooner.  Students will complete a bachelor's in health sciences during their first year in the doctoral program. 

UM-Flint's Occupational Therapy Doctorate was the first in Michigan and the accelerated pathway is the only program of its kind in the state. The accelerated pathway in physical therapy is just the third of its kind in Michigan.

Occupational therapists help patients with an injury or disability perform daily activities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for occupational therapists will increase 14% through 2031 and pay a competitive median salary of $85,570 per year.

Jobs for physical therapists will increase 17% through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary is $95,620 per year.

Exercise Science

The Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science is designed for students interested in the science of movement and physical activity and its impact on health. Students in the program receive meaningful preparation for graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, athletic training and kinesiology.

Upon completion of the degree, students will be eligible to seek certification as an exercise physiologist and/or strength and conditioning specialist. With those national certifications, graduates can work as an exercise physiologist and develop exercise programs to improve patients' health and help people recover from injury and disease.

Demand for exercise physiologists is projected to grow by about 9% through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other possible careers include cardiac rehabilitation therapist, fitness center manager and personal trainer.

Health Information Technology

The 100% online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Technology is designed to meet the growing need for professionals to manage medical records and other important health care data. Graduates will be prepared to take the Registered Health Information Technician exam and find work in a field that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to grow 17% through 2031, with a median salary of $55,560 per year.

To learn more about UM-Flint's College of Health Sciences and its four new programs, visit its webpage.

Martha Pennington is the communications specialist for the College of Health Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].