Program Spotlight: Exercise & Sport Science

Apply for $2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship

The Exercise & Sport Science program at Dakota County Technical College delivers two different 60-credit degree outcomes—the Exercise Science Transfer Pathway Associate of Science (A.S.) and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.). The program also delivers a 16-credit Personal Training certificate.

The Exercise Science Transfer Pathway A.S. (60 credits) offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an A.S. degree whose course credits directly transfer to designated bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities. The entire curriculum has been carefully designed to guarantee you junior-year status when you have been admitted to a Minnesota State university. You can complete your bachelor’s degree by earning 60 additional credits. You may also transfer to additional four-year colleges.

This transfer pathway allows you to transfer to the following designated baccalaureate degree majors:

The Exercise & Sport Science A.A.S. (60 credits) is designed for students seeking to go directly into the workforce. As a graduate, you will have the knowledge and training you need to work at fitness centers, YMCA/YWCA facilities, corporate fitness centers, collegiate and hospital-based wellness centers, cruise lines and cardiac rehabilitation centers.

$2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $2,500 per year • $1,250 each fall and spring semester

Scholarship can be used for DCTC programs, including Exercise & Sport Science, leading to high-demand careers.



Faculty perspective: Sara Woodward

Sara Woodward

Sara Woodward, MA, CSCS, CPT, serves as head instructor in the DCTC Exercise & Sport Science and Sport Management programs. Sara began teaching at the college when the Exercise & Sport Science program was launched started in 2002. She was recognized as the DCTC Instructor of the Year five years later in 2007.

Sara has a Master of Science (M.S.) in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Exercise Physiology from the University of Minnesota. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a National Strength and Conditioning Association-Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Sara is also a certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant through the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Sara’s industry experience includes:

  • Serving as a personal trainer at the Minnesota Valley YMCA in Burnsville
  • Teaching weight training and provided individual training from 1997–2001
  • Teaching physical activity courses at the University of Minnesota
  • Preparing students for national personal training certifications at the World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S)
  • Serving as the area director for W.I.T.S.
  • Conducting health fairs and grade school educational seminars for the Minneapolis Heart Institute
  • Presented her master’s thesis on women and resistance training in 2001 at the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) national conference in Baltimore, Maryland

“I believe that it is a teacher’s role to facilitate the learning and success of our students,” Sara said, regarding her teaching philosophy. “I support and encourage students to reach their full potential. I believe that all students can be successful if they put forth the effort. My role is to be in partnership with my students with the ultimate goal being their success.”

Working with students is the best part of Sara’s job as a DCTC instructor. “I’ve been blessed to work with a variety of students of different ages, races, and nationalities,” she said. “I learn so much from them and their experiences.”

In her free time, Sara enjoys resistance training and practicing the martial arts.

More about the Personal Training certificate

This 16-credit certificate program provides you with hands-on, practical experience in the area of personal training. All courses in this program are offered during fall semester. EXER2020 Personal Training and Exercise Leadership I is offered in partnership with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). You will be prepared for the ACE Personal Training certification exam following successful completion of the course.

Athletic Trainers

Work to help people avoid or recover from sports-related injuries.

This career pays well above the statewide median of $43,589/year


Median: $50,181/year
High: $58,558/year

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $52,795/year
High: $60,321/year


This career is currently seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 20.5 percent, or well above the statewide average.

There will be a need for about 595 new Athletic Trainers to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Where do Athletic Trainers most often work?
  • Ambulatory Health Care Services
  • Hospitals
  • Social Assistance
  • Educational Services
  • Performing Arts
  • Spectator Sports
  • Related Industries

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Learn more about Exercise & Sport Science at DCTC by contacting:

Sara Woodward, MA, CSCS, CPT
Exercise & Sport Science Faculty
Sport Management Faculty
Assessment of Student Learning Committee Chair

Erin Lund
Academic & Financial Aid Advisor