Dr. Ernce began his professional career in 1978 as the aquatics program director at Oral Roberts University, and later served as the coordinator for the recreation emphasis from 1981-86. He also was the assistant track coach for two seasons. In 1986, he joined the faculty in recreation studies at Missouri Western State College and was elected chairperson of HPER in 1987 serving in that capacity until 1994. His next assignment was as the director of the School of Recreation and Sport Sciences at Ohio University 1994-1999 followed by two more years as the graduate coordinator. He was hired as the new department head of HPER at Missouri State University in 2001. Dr. Ernce became Director of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Missouri on July 1st, 2005.
In addition, Dr. Ernce enjoys running, backpacking, camping, and playing board games and jigsaw puzzles.