Physiologists with a specific interest in the physiology
of exercise are called exercise physiologists.
Their duties include monitoring and assessing cardiovascular
and metabolic effects and mechanisms of exercise, replenishment
of fluids during exercise, and exercise for cardiac and musculoskeletal
Areas of Specialization
They may conduct fitness evaluation, and prescribe exercise programs
for overall health maintenance. Or they may focus on specialties
such as cardiology, sports medicine, respiratory or physical therapy.
This may include risk identification, and rehabilitation in conjunction
with other health professionals who provide rehabilitation programs.
In educational settings they may teach courses for students of medicine,
physiology, and other health related fields.
Exercise physiologists may be employed in extremely diverse settings,
such as community organization venues, or in commercial/industrial
facilities, health clubs, recreation centers; and educational institutions.
Exercise physiologists may also work in clinical settings prescribing
exercise for cardiac, pulmonary, or other types of patients referred
by a physician.
The job outlook is good due to the increasing emphasis on prevention
of illness and on exercise as a means of promoting good health.
Also, there are many opportunities for research on aging, rehabilitation
of muscle injuries, and the health benefits of exercise.
Length of Training/Requirements
The education requirements vary depending on the employment settings;
usually a master's degree in exercise physiology is the minimum
requirement. However, for individuals who plan to hold positions
in organizations or commercial settings, an undergraduate degree
in physical education, exercise science, health science, and nutrition
is helpful. Additional training in physical therapy and kinesiology
is valuable for persons seeking positions in health related settings.
For an academic career in research and/or teaching, a Ph.D. degree
Certification requirements for exercise physiologists in most states
are not well established. However, for those interested in employment
other than an academic career, the certification for exercise test
technologist, exercise specialist, or health/fitness director is
available through the American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM's
highest certification is program director. Continuing education
hours are required every four years for recertification.
According to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, Labor Market Statistics Center, exercise physiologists
earned $43,323 annually in 2009.