New undergraduate degree at Brewton-Parker prepares students for careers in fitness, sports and physical therapy


MOUNT VERNON, Ga. – Brewton-Parker College is adding a new degree in sport and exercise science that’s intended to help students prepare for careers in physical therapy, athletic training, health, human performance and coaching.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved the program in early November, just in time for class registration for the spring semester.

The degree will have a pre-physical therapy concentration to prepare students seeking graduate degrees in physical therapy and a health and human performance concentration for those pursuing careers in athletics or fitness.

Several students already have declared a change in major and are excited to begin classes in the spring semester.

This new degree will offer classes that have never been offered at Brewton-Parker, including strength training methods, exercise physiology, anatomical kinesiology and sports biomechanics.

Faculty members Vance Newgard and Keith Barr, who played a large part in the creation of the new program, will serve as instructors for the new courses.

“The transition from a health and wellness management degree formerly in the business division to the new sport and exercise science program in the natural sciences division is a perfect marriage of potential and personnel,” said Brewton-Parker Provost Robert Brian. “Mr. Newgard, who also serves as our Olympic weightlifting coach, and Keith Barr, our longtime health and physical education professor, combine their unique talents and experience in developing this exciting new program under the leadership of division chair Dr. Helene Peters. The marketing data confirms that professional opportunities abound in the current market for SES graduates.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the growing need for healthcare in the United States, job growth over the next 10 years in physical therapy is expected to be 20.5%, 23.4% for athletic trainers, 4.2% for physicians, 9% in nursing, and 10.7% for nutritionists. A student who graduates with a degree in sport and exercise science can qualify for employment as a fitness trainer, strength and conditioning coach, kinesiologist, and numerous other healthcare positions without seeking further education. 

“We are delighted to be able to expand our curriculum in the vital area of sport and exercise science,” said Brewton-Parker President Steven Echols. “This degree program will create future Christian leaders and ambassadors for Christ in the world of athletics and in the medical field. This opportunity represents the fulfillment of our mission to equip our students academically and spiritually for their chosen vocations.”