Exercise Physiologists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Exercise Physiologists include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 57.14% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 32.14% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Essential Tasks

    Demonstrate correct use of exercise equipment or performance of exercise routines.

    Interpret exercise program participant data to evaluate progress or identify needed program changes.

    Recommend methods to increase lifestyle physical activity.

    Explain exercise program or physiological testing procedures to participants.

    Prescribe individualized exercise programs, specifying equipment such as treadmill, exercise bicycle, ergometers, or perceptual goggles.

    Develop exercise programs to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning, in accordance with exercise science standards, regulatory requirements, and credentialing requirements.

    Provide clinical oversight of exercise for participants at all risk levels.

Regular Tasks

    Teach group exercise for low-, medium-, or high-risk clients to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning.

    Interview participants to obtain medical history or assess participant goals.

    Assess physical performance requirements to aid in the development of individualized recovery or rehabilitation exercise programs.

    Measure amount of body fat, using such equipment as hydrostatic scale, skinfold calipers, or tape measures.

    Conduct stress tests, using electrocardiograph (EKG) machines.

    Teach behavior modification classes related to topics such as stress management or weight control.

    Calibrate exercise or testing equipment.

    Measure oxygen consumption or lung functioning, using spirometers.

Occasional Tasks

    Supervise maintenance of exercise or exercise testing equipment.

    Plan or conduct exercise physiology research projects.

    Order or recommend diagnostic procedures, such as stress tests, drug screenings, or urinary tests.

    Mentor or train staff to lead group exercise.

    Evaluate staff performance in leading group exercise or conducting diagnostic tests.

    Educate athletes or coaches on techniques to improve athletic performance, such as heart rate monitoring, recovery techniques, hydration strategies, or training limits.

    Teach courses or seminars related to exercise or diet for patients, athletes, or community groups.

    Perform routine laboratory tests of blood samples for cholesterol level or glucose tolerance.

    Provide emergency or other appropriate medical care to participants with symptoms or signs of physical distress.

    Present exercise knowledge, program information, or research study findings at professional meetings or conferences.

What Tools and Technologies do Exercise Physiologists use?


Whole body air plethysmography systems

Urine analysis equipment

Underwater weighing tanks

Telemetry units

Strength training equipment

Stair climbers


All Tools

Skinfold calipers

Pulse oximeters

Photocopying equipment

Personal computers

Perceptual goggles


Patient weight scales

Oxygen analyzers


Near infrared spectrometers

Muscle strength dynamometers

Multi-line telephone systems


Metabolic carts

Mechanical stethoscopes

Manual blood pressure equipment

Laptop computers

Lactate analyzers

Isokinetic dynamometers

Intravenous IV infusion pumps

Hydraulic hand dynamometers

Holter monitors

Heart rate monitors


Exercise treadmills

Electronic timing systems

Electronic spirometers

Electromyographs EMG

Electrocardiography EKG machines

Echocardiography systems

Dual energy x ray absorptiometers

Desktop computers

Cycle ergometers

Cholesterol analyzers

Bioelectric impedance analyzers

Automated external defibrillators AED

Automated blood pressure measurement equipment

Arm crank ergometers


MEDITECH software

What Skills Do Exercise Physiologists Need to Have?


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Teaching others how to do something.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Management of Personnel Resources

Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Auditory and Speech Abilities › Sensory Abilities › Speech Recognition

Identify and understand the speech of another person.

Everything Exercise Physiologists Should Know…



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.


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.


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.


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.

Real People, Real Stories

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