Health and Fitness Science Program Train Students for Careers

Health and Fitness Science Program Train Students for Careers

The Health and Fitness Science Program at Gaston College prepares students for careers in this burgeoning field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the rate of employment for health and fitness professionals is increasing at a much faster rate than the average for all occupations, due to HFS2_Huston Shepparddemand attributed to an aging U.S. population and growing concern over health issues.

Subject areas in the dynamic Health and Science Fitness Program include:

  • The science behind physical fitness and high-level wellness
  • Nutrition and Kinesiology, as each impacts upon fitness and wellness
  • Facility and personnel management
  • Development of Corporate Wellness Programs
  • One-on-one coaching and training experience
  • Fitness program development, including assessment, injury prevention and care and goal setting
  • Group exercise leadership experience

Students will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Health and Fitness Science degree plus certifications in Health/Wellness Coaching, Personal Fitness Training, and First Aid, CPR/AED. They also will have hands-on experience in Group Exercise Instruction.

The Gaston College Health and Fitness Science Program can boast of many student success stories. Wanda Flowers enrolled in the Health and Fitness Science Program at Gaston College in 2011 after a long-term job ended. While studying for her Associate of Applied Science degree, she was required to get her ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Personal Trainer certification and to have two semesters as an intern. “The internship was what I needed,” she said. “It provided hands-on experience in all the things I had been taught in class.” Flowers received a Gaston Health and Fitness College Health and Fitness Science Leadership Award and when she graduated on the College President’s list in 2013, she had already been offered a job with CaroMont Health.

After Gaston College, Flowers completed her Bachelors in Exercise Science from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., graduating in 2014 with highest honors. In 2015, she received three scholarships from CaroMont Health that have helped her as she pursues a Sports Management graduate degree from Liberty University. She is scheduled to graduate in the summer of 2016.

Flowers is still employed by CaroMont Health, where she is a personal trainer for the CaroMont Health and Fitness Center and, contracted through CaroMont, is also the Wellness Coordinator for A.B. Carter, a manufacturing company in Gastonia. She received the Health HERO award in 2015, which recognizes CaroMont employees who help make a difference in the lives of clients or patients.

“Without the foundation of the education I got from Gaston College, continuous outpouring of help from the professors and staff, and the hands-on structure of the Health and Fitness Science program, I would not have been given these great opportunities,” said Flowers. Dr. Leonard Martineau, Health Promotions Instructor, and Jacob Surratt, Associate Dean of Health and Human Services, are two of the instructors Flowers credits for her success. “Both of these men live what they teach and have inspired me to pay it forward. I feel so blessed to have been part of such an awesome program,” she said. “I want to continue to help people become more aware of healthy living, and to help them learn how to stay strong and to keep moving!”

Another 2013 graduate of the Gaston College Health and Fitness Science Program, and a recipient of the College’s Health and Fitness Science Leadership and Excellence Awards, is Huston Sheppard. While studying at Gaston College from 2011 to 2013, he had the opportunity to work with the Gastonia Fire Department, designing workout programs specific to the firefighters’ regimens and fire prevention and firefighting duties. His Associate of Applied Science degree and ACSM Personal Trainer certification led Sheppard to a position with the CaroMont Health and Fitness Center, where he is a personal trainer, teaches classes and interacts with people with disabilities and doctors’ referral patients. He intends to continue his education to become a physical therapist assistant.

“Dr. Martineau, Mr. Surratt, and Health and Fitness Instructor Dr. Jesus Medina helped me in any way they could to ensure my success in the Health and Fitness Science Program,” said Sheppard. “The education I attained through Gaston College enables me to offer my clients better professional service. The program had all the components I was looking for to get a strong education in the fitness arena.”

For more information about the Gaston College Health and Fitness Science Program, contact Leonard Martineau, Health Promotions Instructor, at 704-922-2271 or or visit Click on Find a Program and Health & Human Services.

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