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Lakeland College's Exercise Science and Sport Studies program offers comprehensive pre-PT track

January 26, 2015 In Lakeland University Blog
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Lakeland College’s Exercise Science and Sport Studies bachelor’s degree provides interested students with comprehensive preparation for graduate study in physical therapy.

College students who plan to become physical therapists must earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT), which has become the required degree to enter this increasingly popular – and competitive – field. The DPT track is “four-plus-three,” which means students earn a bachelor’s degree, generally natural-sciences based, then apply for and complete three years of DPT school. The Exercise Science and Sport Studies major is recommended as a pre-physical therapy track at Lakeland.

William Ebben, Lakeland’s first-year associate professor of exercise science, has vast experience and a track record of success when it comes to helping undergraduates apply for and gain acceptance into professional programs for physical therapy. Ebben, previously an assistant professor at Marquette University and an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, estimates he has helped about 400 students get into DPT programs.

“The personal attention students will receive here at Lakeland is really beneficial,” said Ebben, who holds a doctorate from Marquette and two master’s degrees (one from UW-Madison and one from Northern Michigan University).

“From the moment they walk on campus, we will work with them on a career development plan, and help them understand all the things it takes to reach their goal. We can help them optimize their chance of being accepted into a DPT program. In terms of courses, we offer 100 percent of the prerequisites for acceptance into a DPT program.”

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life.

Ebben explained that earning excellent grades in classes like chemistry, biology and physics, as well as exercise science and sports studies classes such as kinesiology and biomechanics and physiology of exercise, is just one facet of gaining an advantage over the many other students around the country who are seeking admittance into DPT programs. He is a strong proponent of student-driven research, writing and presenting work at conferences, and has plenty of experience with all three. Ebben has written more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters.

“Those are some of the things that distinguish the students who are accepted into DPT programs from those who are not,” he said.

Ebben’s impressive background includes serving as head strength and conditioning coach at Marquette, strength and conditioning coach at UW-Madison, strength and conditioning coordinator at the United States Olympic Education Center and strength and conditioning assistant for the Green Bay Packers. He has won numerous awards and mentored several students who received prestigious awards.

Ebben’s plans for Lakeland’s exercise science and sport studies programs include helping bring high-end physiological equipment to the program, with hopes for a new exercise science research lab.

Lakeland’s exercise science and sport studies major can lead to many other outstanding careers and graduate and professional school paths. A few of these include:

  • Physician’s assistant
  • Physical therapy assistant
  • Occupational therapist
  • Athletic trainer
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Cardiac rehabilitation specialist
  • Corporate wellness director
  • Personal trainer
  • Strength and conditioning coach

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