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Exercise Physiologists Career

Career Description

Assess, plan, or implement fitness programs that include exercise or physical activities such as those designed to improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, or flexibility.

What Job Titles Exercise Physiologists Might Have

  • Bariatric Weight Loss Clinic Manager and Counselor
  • Clinical Exercise Physiologist
  • Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Exercise Physiologist

What Exercise Physiologists Do

  • Develop exercise programs to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning, in accordance with exercise science standards, regulatory requirements, and credentialing requirements.
  • Prescribe individualized exercise programs, specifying equipment such as treadmill, exercise bicycle, ergometers, or perceptual goggles.
  • Interpret exercise program participant data to evaluate progress or identify needed program changes.
  • Explain exercise program or physiological testing procedures to participants.
  • Provide emergency or other appropriate medical care to participants with symptoms or signs of physical distress.
  • Provide clinical oversight of exercise for participants at all risk levels.
  • Demonstrate correct use of exercise equipment or performance of exercise routines.
  • Interview participants to obtain medical history or assess participant goals.
  • Recommend methods to increase lifestyle physical activity.
  • Assess physical performance requirements to aid in the development of individualized recovery or rehabilitation exercise programs.
  • Conduct stress tests, using electrocardiograph (EKG) machines.
  • Teach group exercise for low-, medium-, or high-risk clients to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning.
  • Teach courses or seminars related to exercise or diet for patients, athletes, or community groups.
  • Plan or conduct exercise physiology research projects.
  • Measure amount of body fat, using such equipment as hydrostatic scale, skinfold calipers, or tape measures.
  • Teach behavior modification classes related to topics such as stress management or weight control.
  • Calibrate exercise or testing equipment.
  • Supervise maintenance of exercise or exercise testing equipment.
  • Measure oxygen consumption or lung functioning, using spirometers.
  • Educate athletes or coaches on techniques to improve athletic performance, such as heart rate monitoring, recovery techniques, hydration strategies, or training limits.
  • Present exercise knowledge, program information, or research study findings at professional meetings or conferences.
  • Order or recommend diagnostic procedures, such as stress tests, drug screenings, or urinary tests.
  • Mentor or train staff to lead group exercise.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests of blood samples for cholesterol level or glucose tolerance.
  • Evaluate staff performance in leading group exercise or conducting diagnostic tests.

What Exercise Physiologists Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What Exercise Physiologists Should Be Interested In

  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Exercise Physiologists Need to Learn

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $47,340

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.