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UNT Health Science Center looking to add master’s degree on lifestyle coaching, the 1st of its kind in Texas

UNT Health Science Center looking to add master’s degree on lifestyle coaching, the 1st of its kind in Texas

UNT Health Science Center looking to add master’s degree on lifestyle coaching, the 1st of its kind in Texas
June 01
10:30 2018

The UNT Board of Regents passed a motion for the Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas to offer a Master of Science in Lifestyle Health Sciences and Coaching — the first of its kind in Texas. Students in this program will take classes through the School of Health Professions when it’s offered in Spring 2020.

The program provides students with the skills needed to give lifestyle coaching on healthy behaviors. This will prepare students for the coaching certificate exam and careers in clinical and non-clinical settings.

“The purpose of this new masters of science degree program is to prepare graduates to provide lifestyle coaching to promote healthy behaviors for both the prevention and management of chronic diseases,” School of Health Professions dean Claire Peel said.

The Health Science Center has to get approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Board. Director of media relations at the Health Science Center Jeff Carlton said they would not comment until that process is over.  

Peel said better lifestyles leads to less chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, students will learn about the health care system and different health care professions.

“The whole purpose is to help people adopt healthy nutrition, healthy diets, healthy physical activity patterns and help people change to be able to stick to those patterns forever,” Peel said.

The School of Health Professions requested $172,000 from the Board of Regents to help with the startup of the program in 2019, according to the board briefing in the Board of Regents meeting book. Estimated second-year costs will be around $105,000. The costs will be offset by revenues from the program’s third year.

The coursework includes 36 credit hours over 13 months in a blended format. Most of the program will be delivered online, and 15 percent of the courses a residential component on campus.  The program will also have a capstone project involving coaching and a presentation.

According to he meeting book, graduate students – through the program — can find jobs with hospitals, clinics and community organizations. The United States Bureau of Labor found that health educator employment will increase 16 percent from 2016 to 2026.

The board briefing stated, “Students will develop their emotional intelligence, leadership, professionalism and communication skills, which will increase their success should they choose to pursue future studies in a specific discipline in health care.”

Monica Martinez, an early childhood education senior, said she does not know if students will participate in the program but can recognize the importance of it. Martinez said it is important to teach people how to be healthy and make right choices in terms of exercising and eating.

“I think that would be helpful to some people wanting to live healthier lifestyles but don’t know where to start,” Martinez said.

While there is not a lifestyle coaching master’s degree in Texas, Texas A&M offers a graduate certificate program in health coaching. Nationally, Creighton University, California University of Pennsylvania and the University of Utah offer similar programs.  

Featured Image: UNT’s Master of Sceince in Lifestyle Health Sciences and Coaching will be online and in residences at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. May 29, 2018. Anna Engelland 

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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