How To Become An Exercise Physiologist - (2023)

Exercise Physiology Certifications & Licensure

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Exercise physiologists have two licensing bodies. The American College of Sports Medicine offers certification as an exercise physiologist for those who have completed a bachelors degree. The requirements to sit for this exam include at least 21 semester or 28 quarter hours of coursework in exercise science.

The ACSM also offers a certified clinical exercise physiologist for those who have completed more training. The requirements to sit for his exam include a masters degree in clinical exercise physiology or equivalent and 600 hours of hands-on clinical experience or a bachelors degree in exercise science-related field and 1,200 hours of hands-on clinical experience.

Both exams cost $279 for ACSM members and $349 for non-members.

The American Society of Exercise Physiologists offers an exercise physiologist certified designation to candidates who have a degree in exercise physiology or in a related field and have completed the required coursework. Candidates must be ASEP members in order to sit for this exam. The cost for the exam is $300. Students who have graduated from an ASEP-accredited program receive a discount and the exam is only $50.

Currently, there are no state licensing requirements for exercise physiologists. However, this can change due to ever-evolving state regulations. Aspiring professionals in this field should check with their state boards to ensure they have the necessary credentials to practice.

Exercise Physiologist Job Description Sample

With this Exercise Physiologist job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Exercise Physiologist role.

Job Summary

Our healthcare facility is currently seeking an Exercise Physiologist to assist with the management of patient exercise programs. These programs are rehabilitative and can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with chronic health issues. In this role, you will conduct intake interviews and develop individualized treatment plans. As part of this process, you will perform cardiac stress tests to better understand the physical limitations facing each patient and set realistic goals. In addition to prescribing a routine of physical activities or stretches, you will demonstrate proper techniques to patients and encourage them to support their efforts with proper nutrition. To qualify for this position, you must have a degree in exercise physiology and an ACSM credential.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans
  • Use exercise testing to determine the physical ability or limitations of each patient
  • Issue exercise prescriptions to help patients work toward their goals
  • Counsel patients on how to properly exercise and support their efforts with nutrition
  • Document test results and patient progress
  • Schedule follow-up appointments

Bachelor Of Applied Exercise Science/master Of Clinical Exercise Physiology

Shaping healthcare.

Join the forefront of two growing disciplines with an education that reflects real-world practice. This program explores the impact of exercise on the body. Youll learn how to use exercise to manage chronic disease, enhance health and improve physical performance. As a future exercise professional, youll play a vital role in building healthier communities.

  • Fees & Scholarships

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About The University Of Florida Online Ms In Applied Physiology And Kinesiology

University of Floridas online Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology was named a top 10 online masters in exercise science by the OnlineU. UFs M.S. APK is also ranked #12 on OnlineUs annual ranking of Most Affordable Masters in Exercise Science Online in addition to being on the best-value lists from Princeton Review, Forbes, Kiplinger, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

The M.S. APK is offered 100% online, and can be completed while working full-time. Students can finish the degree in as little as one and a half years, even while attending school part-time. The program features two optional specializations: Athlete Development and Integrative Strengths and Conditioning Science. In addition, the APK program offers a broad selection of courses, including Biomechanics of Human Motion, Tactical Strength & Conditioning, and Ergogenics Aids.

What Is The Acsm

How To Become An Exercise Physiologist - (1)

The ACSM stands for the American College of Sports Medicine. It is the biggest global sports medicine and exercise science organization, made up of more than 50,000 members and certified professionals around the world. The ACSM is committed to progressing and incorporating scientific research to offer educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine to patients. They are the main certifying agency for exercise physiologists.

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What Does A Physiologist Do

Physiologist duties vary depending on their specialty and their level of education. All physiologists study how the body functions, but the species they focus on and what they do at work may vary based on the type of job they have. However, all physiologists aim to contribute to their field either by researching, performing clinical work or teaching students about physiology.

S To Becoming An Exercise Physiologist

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Choosing a career can be a stressful endeavor, but if you are interested in the human body there are several careers you can choose from. One career that is worth considering is an exercise physiologist.

To become an exercise physiologist, you must acquire a four-year undergraduate degree in exercise physiology. Further studies are not required but are recommended. Furthermore, a person must pass a two-part exam and be admitted into the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.

It is important to understand exactly what an exercise physiologist does before beginning the process to become one. However, the process is straightforward and requires dedication to make it a reality. Read on to discover the five steps to becoming an exercise physiologist.

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What Do Exercise Physiologists Do

An exercise physiologist works with patients of all ages to help maintain or improve their health through physical activity. They often use exercise to treat illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Exercise physiologists analyze their patients’ medical history to determine a regiment to address their health and fitness needs. They also perform fitness and stress tests on their patients using medical equipment and develop individualized programs based on the data resulting from the tests. Exercise physiologists monitor their patients’ progress and maintain and update patient records as needed.

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Licenses Certifications And Registrations

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Louisiana is the only state that requires exercise physiologists to be licensed, although some states have pending legislation to create licensure requirements.

Employers typically require exercise physiologists to have Basic Life Support certification or Advanced Life Support certification, both of which include training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation .

The American Society of Exercise Physiologists offers the Exercise Physiologist Certified certification, which physiologists can use to demonstrate their qualifications. To be eligible for certification, candidates must pass the ASEP exam and hold ASEP membership. In addition, candidates must have either a bachelors degree in exercise physiology or a bachelors degree in a related field, and they must have completed specific coursework requirements. To maintain certification, candidates must complete continuing education courses every 5 years.

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Exercise Physiologist Job Responsibilities

Whether helping cardiovascular disease patients lower their heart rates or working with athletes regaining strength after surgery, exercise physiologists teach patients how to use fitness and exercise to their advantage. They also customize their approach to meet each patients needs.

Exercise physiologists have a range of job responsibilities, including:

  • Closely analyzing a patients medical history to assess any potential risks that exercise may pose
  • Performing fitness and stress tests on patients to determine their strengths and limitations, as well as the most appropriate starting point for a fitness program
  • Measuring and monitoring patient vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythms, and oxygen levels
  • Educating patients about their injuries and health conditions, such as lung disease and diabetes, and providing information about how to stay healthy
  • Teaching patients how to perform exercises safely and effectively

What does an exercise physiologist do? An exercise physiologist assesses patient fitness levels and designs specific treatment plans that help them reach optimal health. This role might entail creating fitness regimens that help diabetes patients control blood glucose levels or tailoring exercises for injured athletes to reduce recovery time and lower the risk of reinjury.

Choose An Undergraduate Program

As mentioned earlier, most exercise physiologists have a bachelors degree in Exercise Science, sometimes known as kinesiology. These programs commonly include coursework in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and other sciences. Some programs also offer internships or research opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the field.

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Online Exercise Physiology Vs Exercise Science

There are a few differences between these two types of courses. For one, online exercise physiology focuses on applying knowledge, while exercise science focuses more on research.

Additionally, online exercise physiology programs are typically shorter, completed in as little as two years.

On the other hand, exercise science programs tend to be four years or longer. Additionally, online exercise physiology programs typically dont require students to complete an internship, while most exercise science programs do.

Is It Worth Being An Exercise Physiologist

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Yes, being an exercise physiologist can be very rewarding. Exercise physiologists help people improve their overall health and quality of life. They have the enjoyment of knowing they are making a difference in the lives of others.

Additionally, exercise physiologists are primarily self-employed. Therefore, one can establish their working schedule based on their priorities.

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Exercise Physiologist Specializations & Degree Types

Exercise physiologists generally have obtained a bachelors degree in exercise science, exercise physiology, or a related health science field such as kinesiology. Often the programs will include concentrations such as human performance, strength and conditioning, or sports medicine.

Masters degrees are also an option and they can be clinical or applied .

Earn A Master’s Degree

Many exercise physiologists hold a master’s degree in exercise physiology, exercise science or a related field. Completing a master’s degree can help you advance your skill set and knowledge, allowing you to treat your patients more effectively. Earning a master’s degree can also help you prepare for the board certification exam. It’s becoming more common for healthcare facilities to require exercise physiologists to hold a master’s degree.

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Complete Your Clinical Hours

Clinical hours are also a requirement for most exercise physiology certifications. During this time, you may work in a clinical setting under the supervision of a certified exercise physiologist. Refer back to your research on different certification programs to understand how many clinical hours they require before applying to those training programs.

Workplace And Clientele Of An Exercise Physiologist

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Exercise physiologists can work with clientele who have medical conditions, functional limitations, chronic disease, and other conditions that impact their life. You can work in fitness development, research centres, and other workplaces that improve client lives. Some exercise physiologists decide to open their own practices.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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Explore Your Personal Attributes

An exercise physiologist will have a complex set of personality traits that will help you get hired to excel in this nurturing career. You’ll be:

  • Compassionate. Candidates in this role routinely work with patients who are in pain from an accident or injury. Therefore, you must be sympathetic, kind, and caring to their needs while you provide the necessary treatments and exercise programs so they can recover.
  • Good at decision-making. As a practicing exercise physiologist, you must be able to make sound decisions that affect the health and well-being of your patients.
  • Detail-oriented. People who work in this field keep extensive patient records. Therefore, you must be detail-oriented to ensure you maintain accurate information about each patient’s condition and progress.
  • Interpersonal. Exercise physiologists work very closely with others. It’s essential that you possess strong interpersonal skills so you can manage difficult situations. You’ll also need to communicate your findings and treatment plans with others, including physicians, patients, and family members.

Complete The Degree Program

After completing an exercise physiologist degree, it is mandatory to complete a clinical internship or residency program. This experience allows students to work with patients and learn how to apply the knowledge of physiology in a real-world setting. After completing the internship or residency, one must pass a national certification exam to practice as an exercise physiologist.

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Where Do Athletic Trainers Work

Many jobs for athletic trainers are sports related, although there are non-sports related jobs available, too. Athletic trainers work in colleges and universities, high schools, fitness centers, professional athletic organizations, and health care organizations. Many athletic trainers work in educational facilities, such as secondary schools and colleges. Others may work in physicians offices or for professional sports teams. Some athletic trainers work in rehabilitation and therapy clinics, in the military, or with performing artists.

Exercise physiologists work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and university laboratories. They may also work in fitness centers and with health care organizations.

For athletic trainers and exercise physiologists who work in health care settings, hours and schedules may be more structured. For those who work in fitness centers, sports settings, or with sports teams, their schedules may vary greatly, with longer than eight-hour days sometimes, and some nights and weekends required.

For more information on projections of athletic trainers and exercise physiologists by New York State labor regions, 2014-2024, click here.

Earn A Graduate Degree

How To Become An Exercise Physiologist - (3)

Most physiologists also earn either a master’s or doctoral degree in their field. Certain positions, such as exercise physiology, may only require a bachelor’s degree, but earning a master’s may increase your chances of getting a job or advancing in your field. Other types of physiologists, such as medical or cellular, may need a doctoral degree to qualify for a clinical or research position.

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Education And Training Requirements

Most employers require a candidate to have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be an exercise physiologist. However, many exercise physiologists specializing in cardiac rehabilitation also have a master’s degree. Most academic programs will require some hands on training in the form of an internship or practicum. It is advisable to pursue a certification from one or multiple professional societies such as American College of Sports Medicine, American Society of Exercise Physiologists, National Strength and Conditioning Association and/or the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

What Skills Do You Need To Be An Exercise Physiologist

There are skills required to succeed in every role, and this one is no different. Strategic knowledge of the follow skills will be required: Administer Therapeutic Treatments, Exercise Physiology. Your ability to stand out from the competition depends on these skills, as well as your resume, interview, and other factors.

The specifics of an exercise physiologists job will depend on whether they work in a clinical or nonclinical setting, but will generally involve daily patient interaction and extensive experience with fitness programs and cardiac diagnostics.

The specifics of an exercise physiologists job will depend on whether they work in a clinical or nonclinical setting, but will generally involve daily patient interaction and extensive experience with fitness programs and cardiac diagnostics.

Armed with at least a bachelors degree plus relevant certifications, exercise physiologists also need the following skill set to be successful, regardless of the industry or employer.

Knowledgeable in fitness medicine exercise physiologists, in their varying roles, should be knowledgeable in medical terminology, cardiac fitness, diagnostic testing, and relevant physiology and anatomy.

Medical response during any patient or client interaction, exercise physiologists must be attuned to their subjects response to the program or test being administered.

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Salary Range For Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists earned a median annual income of $49,170 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics . The lowest 10% of earners in this category made less than $34,990 annually, while the top 10% made more than $78,310 annually. Higher salaries tend to correlate with additional work experience and advanced levels of education.

Differences Between Exercise Physiology And Other Careers

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Exercise physiologists help patients with chronic diseases by providing them with an exercise regimen designed to improve their overall health. This may appear similar to the job descriptions of other careers, such as that of a personal trainer or athletic trainer. What sets an exercise physiologist apart from a personal trainer or athletic trainer?

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Exercise Physiologist Education Requirements

Most exercise physiologists have at least a bachelors degree. The type of degree can vary, but the coursework that they complete often includes kinesiology, anatomy, biology, kinesiology, and nutrition.

Masters degrees are sometimes required for certification, and education requirements may also increase in the future. For example, Louisiana requires a masters degree to become a licensed clinical exercise physiologist, and other states have begun working on legislation to implement similar licensing requirements.

Pursue A Masters Degree

Some exercise physiologists pursue a masters degree in Exercise Science or Kinesiology. With these majors, students can specialize in a particular area of interest and conduct research in the field. A masters degree is not required to practice as an exercise physiologist. Still, it may give one advantage when searching for a job.

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What Is An Acsm Exercise Physiologist Certification

The American College of Sports Medicine is the worlds largest sports medicine and exercise science organization. They offer a variety of certifications, one of which is for exercise physiologists.

A bachelors degree is mandatory to become certified. Students must also pass anatomy, kinesiology, and exercise prescription exams.

After earning the certification, one must renew their certification every three years by completing continuing education credits.

An ACSM certification can help advance their career and give one a competitive edge when applying for jobs and provide the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the field.

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