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Become An Exercise Physiologist

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Working As An Exercise Physiologist

  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • $45,810

    Average Salary

What Does An Exercise Physiologist Do

Exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help patients recover from chronic diseases and improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility.


Exercise physiologists typically do the following:

  • Analyze a patient’s medical history to determine the best possible exercise and fitness regimen for the patient
  • Perform fitness and stress tests with medical equipment and analyze the resulting patient data
  • Measure blood pressure, oxygen usage, heart rhythm, and other key patient health indicators
  • Develop exercise programs to improve patient health
  • Supervise clinical tests to ensure patient safety

Exercise physiologists, sometimes called kinesiotherapists, work to improve overall patient health. Many of their patients suffer from health problems such as cardiovascular disease or pulmonary (lung) disease. Exercise physiologists provide health education and exercise plans to improve key health indicators.

Some physiologists work closely with primary care physicians, who may prescribe exercise regiments for their patients and refer them to exercise physiologists. The physiologists then work with patients to develop individualized treatment plans that will help the patients meet their health and fitness goals.

Exercise physiologists should not be confused with fitness trainers and instructors (including personal trainers) or athletic trainers.

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How To Become An Exercise Physiologist

Exercise physiologists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Degree programs include science and health-related courses, such as biology, anatomy, kinesiology, and nutrition, as well as clinical work.


Exercise physiologists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree programs also are common. Both degree programs include courses in science and health-related subjects, such as biology, anatomy, kinesiology, and nutrition, as well as clinical work. In 2015, there were about 50 exercise programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

High school students interested in postsecondary exercise physiology programs should take courses in anatomy, physiology, and physics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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

The American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) offers the Exercise Physiologist Certified (EPC) certification, which physiologists can use to demonstrate their qualifications. Certification requires graduation with a relevant bachelor’s degree and coursework, completing the ASEP exam, and taking continuing education courses every 5 years.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) also offers certifications for exercise physiologists: the Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) credential for candidates with a bachelor’s degree and the Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist® (RCEP) for candidates with a master’s degree. Candidates also must have at least 400 or 600 hours of supervised clinical experience for the CEP and RCEP credential, respectively, and pass an exam.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Exercise physiologists work with patients who may be in considerable pain or discomfort. Therefore, they must be sympathetic while providing treatments and developing individualized exercise programs for the patients.

Decisionmaking skills. Exercise physiologists must be able to make informed clinical decisions because those decisions could affect the health or livelihood of patients.

Detail oriented. Exercise physiologists must be able to record detailed, accurate information about their patients’ conditions and about any progress the patients make. For example, they must ensure that patients are completing the appropriate stress tests or practicing the correct fitness regimen.

Interpersonal skills. Exercise physiologists must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to manage difficult situations. They must be able to communicate well with others, including physicians, patients, and patients’ families.

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283 Exercise Physiologist jobs

Duke University
Durham, NC

$45,809 Estimated

Rush University Medical Center
Oak Park, IL
Exercise Physiologist

$46,341 Estimated

Banner Health
Tucson, AZ
Exercise Physiologist

$45,809 Estimated

Washington, DC
Exercise Physiologist

$45,809 Estimated

Munson Healthcare
Traverse City, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$40,000 Estimated

McLaren Health Care
Pontiac, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$39,666 Estimated

Mayo Clinic
Sparta, WI
Exercise Physiologist - Part Time

$45,809 Estimated

Saginaw, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$40,000 Estimated

Murfreesboro, TN
Exercise Physiologist

$33,160 Estimated

Danbury Health Systems
Danbury, CT
Exercise Physiologist

$45,809 Estimated

Premise Health
Georgetown, KY
Exercise Physiologist

$45,809 Estimated

Community Health Systems
Naples, FL
Exercise Physiologist

$37,981 Estimated

McLaren Health Care
Pontiac, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$39,666 Estimated

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY
Exercise Physiologist

$48,000 Estimated

Community Health Systems
Warsaw, IN
Exercise Physiologist

$37,123 Estimated

Ascension Health
Saginaw, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$40,000 Estimated

Munson Medical Center
Traverse City, MI
Exercise Physiologist

$40,000 Estimated

Allina Health Systems
Faribault, MN
Exercise Physiologist

$45,809 Estimated

Austin, TX
Exercise Physiologist

$34,590 Estimated

Brigham City, UT
Exercise Physiologist PRN

$45,809 Estimated

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Real Exercise Physiologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Exercise Physiologist Cello International Tennis Academy Fairfield, CA Aug 19, 2015 $104,350
Senior Exercise Physiologist Bukhman Md PC New York, NY Sep 27, 2013 $93,915
Exercise Physiologist Cello International Tennis Academy Fairfield, CA Aug 19, 2013 $83,480
Exercise Physiologist New York Methodist Hospital New York, NY Aug 01, 2013 $73,045
Exercise Physiologist Bukhman Md PC New York, NY Sep 19, 2013 $73,045
Exercise Physiologist Complete Spinal Physical Therapy and Chiropractic, PLLC New York, NY Jan 05, 2015 $73,045
Exercise Physiologist-Pilates Manager Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center Princeton, NJ Apr 30, 2015 $70,958
Exercise Physiologist Crunch, LLC New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $67,358
Exercise Physiologist McLean Physical Therapy and Rehab Services LLC McLean, VA Sep 01, 2014 $62,610
Exercise Physiologist-Pilates Manager Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center Princeton, NJ May 01, 2013 $62,610
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Top Skills for An Exercise Physiologist


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Top Exercise Physiologist Skills

  1. Heart Rate
  2. Blood Pressure
  3. Pulmonary Rehab
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, & Oxygen Saturation monitoring Teach one on one education and group classes.
  • Administered health risk assessments by providing blood pressures, weights, measurements, and registration for multiple corporate clients.
  • Worked as an integral part of a team to improve patient level of function through cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Prepared EKG, ventilation, and exercise equipment and patients for testing and training.
  • Job duties: Perform basic treadmill stress tests, nuclear stress tests, and chemical stress tests.

Top Exercise Physiologist Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire an Exercise Physiologist

  1. Wellness Center
  2. Becoming Center
  3. McConnell Heart Health Center
  4. RX.Com
  5. Owensboro Health
  6. The Center of Medical Arts Physical Therapy
  7. Department of Defense-DSCC Fitness Center
  8. Air Force
  9. University Hospital
  10. Peninsula Regional Medical Center
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Exercise Physiologist Videos

Defining Exercise Physiology

Thoughts on a Kinesiology and Exercise Science Major

Allied Health Education Video Series:Exercise Physiology