Exercise Physiology Jobs

exercise physiology

A Comprehensive Guide to Exercise Physiology Jobs

Exercise Physiology jobs are becoming recognized as one of the most promising careers in the future. The roots of this practice can be traced back to Hippocrates and Galen, who believed that exercise can be one of the most important lifestyle components that can help maintain good health and treat specific diseases. They called these beliefs the “Laws of Health.”

These laws became a practice in the early 19th century, and were called “Physical Education.” It later became “Exercise Physiology”, and even today, still uses the same fundamental beliefs that Hippocrates and Galen advocated some centuries ago.

Modern times may have changed and expanded this practice, but at the core of Exercise Physiology jobs lies only one main goal: To study the body’s physiological changes and responses as a result of physical activity and use that to improve the performance of athletes and maintain the fitness level of individuals.

Exercise Physiologist Job Description

There are many occupational titles that Exercise Physiologists may have. You might not be familiar with some of them, but they mostly vary depending on the location that they are in. They include the following:

  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Kinesiotherapist
  • Registered Kinesiotherapist

And while they are all different in titles, their job descriptions are all basically similar in nature. They all work in tandem with a physician, and they make sure that patients follow their exercise regimen on a regular basis. Aside from this, an Exercise Physiology job also performs the following responsibilities within varying degrees:

  • Develop, create, implement, and coordinate exercise programs
  • Perform various medical tests and examinations
  • Explain to patients test procedures and exercise programs
  • Obtains vital statistics and medical histories of patients
  • Measure oxygen consumption and lung performance
  • Checks blood samples for cholesterol levels and glucose tolerance
  • Measures body fat using appropriate instruments
  • Plans exercise programs depending on the patient’s level of fitness
  • Checks out the level of physiological and psychological stress of individuals
  • Demonstrates the correct way of using exercise equipments and routines
  • Teaches stress management and body relaxation techniques
  • Calibrates all the exercise equipments for better accuracy

This is only a small list. An Exercise Physiologist job description encompasses more, especially on the area that these specialists are working on.

Exercise Physiology Jobs: Areas of Expertise

There are two major areas of Exercise Physiology: Clinical and Applied Physiology. Clinical Exercise Physiology jobs work in rehabilitating and creating therapy programs with a doctor or a physician; while Applied Exercise Physiology jobs deal with athletic development and fitness. Job descriptions on each of these two areas may differ slightly from each other, and specialties may or may not converge. For instance, those with doctorate degrees on either Clinical Exercise Physiology or Applied Exercise Physiology can also become professors and perform research studies at universities.

Working Environment

Where do most of these specialists work? They are often found working as:

  • Sports programs as directors and instructors
  • Coaches in professional and educational fields, such as colleges and universities
  • Professors of higher learning
  • Fitness instructors in centers
  • Exercise specialists in rehabilitation programs, such as cardiopulmonary, arthritis, and other specific ailments
  • Fitness managers and directors in the military
  • Researchers for physiological equipment testing
  • Health or fitness supervisors for police, emergency response, fire, and correctional services
  • Sports consultants specializing in metabolism, nutrition, psychology, biomechanics, and athletic training


There are many benefits working as an Exercise Physiologist. Aside from good salary potential, there are also 401(k) options, paid holidays, vacation, life insurance, and even tuition and training reimbursements. They also can enjoy gym or health club memberships.

Outlook for Exercise Physiology Careers

Exercise Physiology JobsThere is a good job outlook for salaries in this field, and many are now accepting the importance of Exercise Physiology in the healthcare professions.

Most of the increased demand occurs in fitness, athletics, and rehabilitation areas, and those who graduated from accredited institutions enjoy diverse areas of specialization.

Researchers for future advancements in this field are also growing, especially in exercise and training equipment’s. 

Education and Exercise Physiology Jobs

A strong factor in getting a good position in this field starts with a Exercise Physiology degree. Professional registration and certification can give you a much better edge in employment opportunities. Clinical Exercise Physiologists can register with the American College of Sports Medicine after they have passed an exam, gained at least 12,000 hours of working at hospitals, and earned a master’s degree title.

They can also be certified if they have acquired a bachelor’s degree (or anything equivalent), gained 500 hours of working at hospitals, and passed the required examination. Another good option is to get certification from the American Society of Exercise Physiologists and pass their examination. Those who have passed all the requirements are also required to take continuing education classes to keep their certifications current.

Typical Salaries of Exercise Physiology Jobs

Aside from education, an Exercise Physiologist salary depends on many factors, such as work experience, strong professional networks, specialization, industry (you’re working for), and employers. However, an average salary usually starts at around $23,000, and can increase to $40,000. Those with many years of experience can enjoy as much as $90,000 to $100,000 in a year.

Exercise Physiology careers can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for the right person. Exercise Physiology jobs are tremendously valuable to a growing number of people, and those working in this field will make a great contribution to individuals and groups who are striving for better health and fitness in their lives.

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.

Exercise Physiologist Salary

exercise physiology salary

Learning More about Exercise Physiology Salary

Many people are interested in getting more information about exercise physiologist salary, especially since the profession has been gaining tremendous demand not only in the US, but in all parts of the world as well.

This comes to no surprise: it is predicted that positions in this field will increase by 20 percent or more by 2018, and according to SimplyHired Job Search Trends, the number of job advertisements related to Exercise Physiology jobs has increased by 29 percent since 2008.

Many researchers believe that this number will increase in the future, since more and more rehabilitation programs are now placing a lot of importance on exercise and fitness for patient recoveries and rehabilitation. Not only that, but there is also a growing trend of institutions that are incorporating exercise as an integral part of maintaining good health—a likely trend that will further increase the need for exercise specialists.

Average Exercise Physiologist Salary by City

Exercise Physiology Salary

Exercise Physiology careers have two branches: clinical and applied. Clinical exercise physiology professionals work in therapeutic or rehabilitation programs together with physicians. Applied exercise physiology, on the other hand, leans towards athletic development, like athletic trainers and fitness directors.

Exercise Physiologist Salary: A General View

A clinical exercise physiologist salary, especially those in the physical therapy industry, has the highest salary — around $24,000 to $51,000 in a year. Those in the health care industries receive around $30,000 to $49,000; while exercise physiologists who work in fitness clubs earn from $30,000 to $49,000.

Applied Exercise Physiology salary, on the other hand, earn from $24,000 to $55,000 (BS), with the median salary of an estimated $29,000. Those who have their Master’s degree in exercise physiology (with experience) earn around $29,000 to $50,000, with a base median of around $34,000.

These figures, however, are only an estimate. A salary exercise physiologist can vary, depending on other factors, such as location, experience, employer, industry, and education.

Exercise Physiologist Salary: A Detailed View


The average salary exercise physiologists make in the US. is approximately $45,000, although this might not be the case all the time. For example, if you live in Alabama, the salary might be around $43,000, but in the New York area, it may be more than $53,000.

In the United Kingdom, entry salaries are around $32,000 to $43,000 (£21,000 – £28,000); while accredited physiologists earn from around $34,000 to $53,000 (£22,000 – £34,000).

Exercise Physiologist Salary


Just like with most kinds of profession, the amount of work experience is directly proportional to the salary of the exercise physiologist. This means that the greater the experience in this field, the higher the salary that can be received. For instance, a new graduate often earns around $20,000 to $50,000 every year, while those who already have four years experience in this field earn an estimated $60,000.

Those with ten years receive salaries worth $70,000, while exercise physiologists with more than 20 years of experience enjoy salaries higher than $60,000. As of April 2010, a clinical exercise physiologist salary falls under the $60,000 to $100,000 bracket.


There are various employers that exercise physiologists can work for. They include the following:

Non-profit organizations- salaries range from $29,000 to $41,000 every year.
Government- salaries range from $42,000 to $53,900 (federal) and $38,000 to $52,000 (local).
Hospitals- salaries range from $29,000 to $45,000.
Fitness Industry- salaries range from $28,000 to $43,000
Physical Therapy- salaries range from $25,000 to $53,000

Education and Certification

The level of education (exercise physiology degree) is highly important when it comes to determining the salary ranges. Normally, those who are paid more than the average salary rate have master’s degrees in various fields related to exercise physiology degree, earning around $30,000 to $60,000.

Many of these master’s programs ask the students to choose between its two main branches: applied or clinical exercise physiology. However, regardless of specializations, both of these studies often include various coursework and research in statistics. Topics also include body mechanisms, cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular systems; and the programs often allow the students to choose between passing an examination or just completing a thesis.

Those who have bachelor’s degrees, on the other hand, earn around $32,000 to $50,000 annually.
Its curriculum often includes nutrition, fitness, and kinesiology, together with a course on cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Post-secondary programs are also available. The College Navigator recognizes over 400 post-secondary programs in exercise physiology, exercise kinesiology or exercise science in the U.S., and an estimated 50 of these programs can take only two years or less to complete.

Also, the American Society of Exercise Physiologists has given five programs an accreditation status:

Bloomsburg University
• College of St. Scholastica
• Long Island University, Brooklyn
• Marquette University
• University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

However, it is important to note that aside from gaining degrees and post-secondary programs, those who have earned certifications from different organizations have increased their pay rate to half the original figure. For instance, physiologists who earn around $12,000 can increase their rates from $29,000 to $59,000. Most of the certifications are provided by the American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine.

There are two ways you can be certified by the American College of Sports Medicine:

• You can get a master’s degree, pass their exam, and gain at least 12,000 hours of experience working in a hospital, or
• You can have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience, pass their exams, and gain 600 hours of hospital experience.

Take not that the certification needs to be updated by taking continuing education classes regularly. There is a lot of available information that you can use to help you gain a more in-depth knowledge about Exercise Physiology on the internet. A good place is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (Exercise Physiology), which offers links to career associations, and certifying organizations.

A career in exercise physiology can be fulfilling for the right person. By combining passion, skills, and a supportive work environment, it will be much easier for anyone to unlock the potential of an exercise physiologist salary as a means to a rewarding life ahead.

Exercise Physiology Careers

exercise physiologist career

A Guide to Understanding Exercise Physiology Careers

Exercise Physiology Careers are fast becoming one of the most in-demand jobs today. It will most certainly be a good career prospect in the future, especially when these two factors come into play:

  • The level of health care has prolonged many lives, which means that the elderly population will have a much longer life span. They will need a special type of exercise to help keep their bodies in tip-top shape.
  • Modern lifestyle has put tremendous pressure pressures on people, which has given them too little time to exercise. Consequently, they develop diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, diseases which can easily be controlled by the right form of exercise.

The Path to Exercise Physiology Careers 

Knowing how in-demand this career will be might inspire you to take the same road as well. And while an Exercise Physiology career can be an exciting and fulfilling job for the right person, you have to make sure that it is something that you want to do. A good way to do this is to understand what it is all about.

A Crash Course in Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology is the study of a body’s response to physical movement and activities. It believes that exercise is a form of medicine, and doing the right kind of exercise for one’s body will result to better health. It mostly covers topics in the field of energy transfer, energy expenditure, and effects of physical activity on the body’s organs, particularly the Endocrine, Cardiovascular, and Musculoskeletal systems.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

An Exercise Physiologist is an expert in analyzing the body’s reactions to physical activity. It has three primary areas of specialization: Fitness, Rehabilitation, and Education / Training.

  • Exercise Physiologists specializing in Fitness work closely with athletes who want to manage their fitness level. These practitioners are also private consultants of clients who want to lose weight.
  • Exercise Physiologists specializing in Rehabilitation are the ones who help patients recover from chronic sickness, such as lower back pain or Arthritis. Often, these patients were referred by other physicians who want to include exercise as part of their patient’s recovery or treatment.
  • Exercise Physiologists who specialize in Education teach the subject to Medicine, Physiology, and Sports Science students. The teacher’s primary goal is to prepare the students to get Exercise Physiology careers in the future.

Work Environment 

What is an Exercise PhysiologistExercise Physiologists are employed in various settings, ranging from educational institutions, recreation centers, health hubs, community organization venues, industrial or commercial health clubs, and private exercise consultation offices.

They may also be in clinical settings, creating and prescribing exercise strategies to patients with pulmonary, cardiac, and other related diseases that were referred by other doctors.

An Exercise Physiology Career is a bit similar to a Sports Medicine career, although the difference is that an Exercise Physiologist career focuses more on the exercise and technological aspect of Sports Science; while a Sports Medicine career often focuses more on diagnosing and healing.

They do however, overlap in some duties, including the following:

  • Creating benchmark information that helps develop an athlete’s performance.
  • Advising coaches and athletes about hydration strategies, heart rate monitoring, recovery, overtraining, and many other techniques to help in training
  • Providing regular monitoring and assessment of an athlete’s training regimen.
  • Creating a detailed profile of an individual to assess their level of fitness
  • Helping patients recover from physical injuries


Many people often ask what is an Exercise Physiologist compared to a Personal Trainer. The truth is, anyone can call himself a Personal Trainer, and it doesn’t even require a college degree to do so. Exercise Physiologists, on the other hand, are required to pass the ASEP Exercise Physiologist Certified Exam, and are held accountable to the ASEP Code of Ethics and the Exercise Physiologist’s Standards of Practice.

Salary Range

Salaries of Exercise Physiologists will depend on their experience, location, and certification. The median base of a Sports Medicine salary is around $61,000 while the salary requirements of an Exercise Physiology career can be around $45,197.

Getting an Education: Requirement for Exercise Physiology Careers 

Exercise Physiology Degree

Exercise Physiology CareersThose who plan to have an Exercise Physiologist career should take a four-year degree course in Exercise Physiology.

The course mostly includes the following areas:

  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Biomechanics
  • Physiology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Fitness

There are courses that don’t offer an Exercise Physiology degree; however, other relevant courses can be used as substitutes, such as Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Applied Science.

Also, the American College of Sports Medicine offers certification for Exercise Test Technologist, Exercise Specialist, Program Director, and Health / Fitness Director.

Credentials Needed for Practice

Aside from education, Exercise Physiologists are required to pass an ASEP examination that focuses on testing the examinee on the practical aspects of laboratory and knowledge skills in physiology. Once they pass, those who practice their Exercise Physiologist careers must also maintain continuing education credits for recertification every four years.

Exercise Physiology career can be one of the most financially and personally rewarding careers you can ever have. Aside from its expanding employment opportunities and diverse specializations, you are able to help other people become fitter and healthier through exercise. You also become a “support system” for people seeking to improve themselves.

And nothing is more rewarding than seeing people’s lives change for the better.