Pursuing a Masters - My Journey
By Aimee Dunne, NCEF and University of Limerick Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise & Health Fitness
I have always had a keen interest in sport throughout my youth, particularly in swimming, and I knew from a young age that I would pursue a career in the health and fitness sector. When I initially saw the range of modules offered by the NCEF and the fact it was possible to do parts of the course through distance and part time learning, I knew this was the ideal course as it fitted in perfectly with my work-life balance. I wanted to have the opportunity to gain a qualification while continuing to develop and progress in my chosen field which could only be achieved by staying in employment at my local leisure centre.
In my first year on the NCEF Certificate in Exercise & Health Fitness, I was totally undecided on which specific field I would like to pursue, but my driving force was knowing that I wanted to help people with their physical well-being. The specialist modules Fit for Life Wellness Coaching, Diverse Populations (Yr4) and Active Ageing were modules that really impressed me and gave me a better understanding of the direction I wanted to go. These emphasised the importance of understanding that every individual has different preconceptions and outlooks on physical activity, and also different needs. This is where I began to view health in a more holistic way and subsequently led me to investigate the area of Occupational Therapy to see it was suitable for me in the long term.
By the time you reach your 4th and final year on the NCEF pathway, the Bachelor of Science in Exercise & Health Fitness, you are qualified to instruct in a range of different areas, which I know I will continue to do in the future, as it is a joy to teach something you love. Even though I knew in my final year that I wanted to continue my studies further into a different area, this degree is one that will always benefit me as it allows me to continue to teach and promote health, even if it is part-time.
I chose to take a year out after my degree to continue working and give myself time to study for the HPAT (Health Professional Admissions Test). It is also a prerequisite to have at least a second-class honours in your undergraduate degree if you choose to progress further, which is important to be aware of during your time as an undergraduate.
If it were not for the NCEF and the platform it provided for pursuing my career goals, I would not be in a position to continue in education and study for a MSc in Occupational Therapy with the University of Limerick.