Exercise Physiology Degree

exercise physiologist degree

Which Direction To Take – Exercise Physiology Degree

Human Anatomy
Getting your Exercise Physiology degree is the first step towards a great new sports medicine career.  A degree in exercise physiology can be obtained either online or through traditional campus studies.  In this article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both online and campus based studies.

We will cover the basics of the challenges you will face in your studies and a few key elements to watch for your choice of degree programs.

Should You Study for Your Exercise Physiology Degree on Campus or Online

It is very tempting to pursue an online exercise physiology degree, but before you make the leap it is important to understand a few important elements which might be missing.  To start off with you may discover finding an online undergraduate course for exercise physiology difficult.  Many of the popular online colleges offer programs in Exercise Science, but do not offer a degree in exercise physiology directly and possibly with good reason.

Here are a few of the elements they would have a difficult time providing to you:

  • Hands-on labs
  • Internship programs
  • Access to practice partners
  • Equipment for measuring the effects of exercise on the body

The study of exercise physiology is highly oriented around observing, measuring, and modifying programs of exercise.  Without access to the proper equipment and lab environments you can still learn the concepts but will not gain the hands-on skills which will help you succeed in your career.

If time constraints are your biggest concern then you may want to look in a different direction for reducing the number of hours on-campus.  Top universities offering exercise physiology graduate programs often offer many of their courses in distance education or online formats, but require you attend labs on campus.  Researching this avenue for your studies can lead to your best opportunities for getting a complete education while still reducing cost and time spent in class.

Exercise Physiology Degree Programs

Check with local universities in your state to see if they offer these options.  Most universities offer at least core study courses in an online format.

These can include classes like:

  • English
  • Math
  • Algebra
  • Psychology
  • Anatomy

Other classes will be almost guaranteed to require attendance in a lab setting either on the main campus or through an outreach program.

These courses may include:

  • Chemistry
  • Exercise Sciences
  • First Aid and Emergency Care

As your course work starts moving into the advanced course in your exercise physiology program you will almost certainly be required to spend more time in labs and in the classroom.  Once these courses begin you will be happy you are in a lab setting rather than trying to understand the techniques through online imagery only.

You can expect some of your advance courses to include:

  • Strength and Conditioning Methods
  • Introduction to Exercise Physiology
  • Nutrition and Exercise Assessment
  • Electrocardiography, Medications, and Procedures
  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

You will quickly learn most of these advance courses will require time in a laboratory or exercise setting.  Exercise physiology is based upon the idea of monitoring, measuring, and assessing results in order to modify exercise and nutrition plans to optimize performance.  Without in depth practice in the lab you will not have the necessary skills to work in the field.

Preparing for Your Career as an Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiology careers are based completely on working with people.  This is one of the reasons all of the top programs from schools like the University of Miami, West Virginia University, and Washington State University require internship hours in their programs.  They realize without practical experience in a live working environment your chances of landing top paying exercise physiologist salary are greatly diminished.

As you evaluate colleges and universities look at their recommended curriculum and see if their program requires an internship.

Exercise Physiology FactorsIf you do elect to work with an online college for receiving your degree in exercise physiology check to see if they partner with a local sports medicine college on lab sessions, internship programs, and access to equipment.  Many online universities have forged partnerships which allow them to simulate on-campus programs.

Another factor to watch for as you evaluate programs is the number of general, sports, and exercise psychology courses they have in their curriculum.   These psychology courses will aid you in dealing with the wide variety of personalities and difficulties you will encounter during your career of helping others.  A few course titles you should watch for could include:

  • Elements of Sports Psychology
  • Elementary Statistics in Psychology

Nutrition plays a critical role in exercise physiology.  The best programs include courses which will prepare you to recommend dietary changes and to work efficiently with a dietitian in creating meal plans for your clients.  Watch for courses on nutrition similar to these:

  • Foods with Application to Physical Activity
  • Macronutrient Metabolism
  • Sport Nutrition
  • Applied Nutrition for Health and Performance

You may discover you are more knowledgeable about how food plays a role in optimum performance than a dietitian who is usually focused on health and wellness, and not on optimum benefits.

The Exciting Variety of Education in Your Exercise Physiology Degree Program

As you are beginning to see your educational courses are diverse, focused, and interesting.  At the end of you studies you will be an expert in how to help athletes and common people to achieve their physical goals.  You will possess the knowledge to design an exercise and nutritional program to help them achieve optimal performance.  You will not be leading them down a blind path, either.  Your skills will allow you to quantify and measure their results and then modify their programs to help them push their limits even further.

One of the greatest rewards of a career in exercise physiology is being able to help people achieve their dreams.  Seeing people achieve goals they believed were unobtainable will give you great personal rewards and lead to higher financial success in your career.

The starting point is choosing the right program for obtaining your exercise physiology degree.