Health Career Center

Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiologists supervise the evaluation, enhancement, and maintenance of fitness, chronic disease recovery, and independent living programs. Additionally, they train and provide professional counseling for athletic trainers and athletes.

Minimal requirements exist to work as a personal trainer, but exercise physiologists are certified with the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) and hold college degrees.

Exercise physiologists perform the following duties:
  • Perform exercise stress tests
  • Evaluate individual health by focusing on metabolism and cardiovascular health
  • Teach clients how to improve flexibility, endurance, strength, and fitness
  • Design training programs for athletes
Working Conditions
Exercise physiologists are employed at hospitals, physical therapy rehabilitation facilities, the military, corporate gyms, fitness centers, universities and colleges, and private clinics. Exercise physiologists are also known as rehabilitation specialists, program coordinators, exercise managers, wellness directors, trainers, coaches, sports directors, and clinicians.

Athletic training and sports medicine centers hire exercise physiologists to develop training programs for athletes designed to reduce injuries and recovery periods. Athletic equipment manufactures employ exercise physiologists to develop new equipment. Many also find clients and manage private clinics.

After individuals are referred to exercise physiologists by physicians, they determine their fitness and health needs and develop an individualized exercise and nutrition plan. Additionally, exercise physiologists design fitness plans for clients desiring to maintain their weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and other health disorders.

Career Training and Education
Many organizations hire EPC certified exercise physiologists with bachelor's degrees. Those specializing in cardiac rehabilitation should obtain a master's degree in exercise physiology.

When choosing a program in exercise physiology, choose one recognized by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP). Most students are required to complete the following courses:
  • Kinesiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Sports nutrition
  • Exercise physiology
  • Psychophysiology
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Exercise testing and prescription
  • ECG interpretation
  • Exercise physiology research
  • Statistics
It's recommended to apply for internships to obtain real-life experience.

Board certified exercise physiologists have demonstrated their proficiency by passing the American Society of Exercise Physiologist's certification exam. This examination tests clinical skills and knowledge. After you're certified, periodically obtain continuing education to enhance your job opportunities and earning potential.
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