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Career profile Exercise Physiologist

Also known as Bariatric Weight Loss Counselor, Certified Exercise Physiologist (EPC), Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Exercise Physiologist, Exercise Scientist, Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant

Exercise Physiologist

Also known as Bariatric Weight Loss Counselor, Certified Exercise Physiologist (EPC), Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$36,070 - $78,170 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
Core tasks
  • Develop exercise programs to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning, in accordance with exercise science standards, regulatory requirements, and credentialing requirements.
  • Provide emergency or other appropriate medical care to participants with symptoms or signs of physical distress.
  • Demonstrate correct use of exercise equipment or performance of exercise routines.
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What does an Exercise Physiologist do?

Exercise Physiologists 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 kind of tasks does an Exercise Physiologist perform regularly?

Exercise Physiologists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Develop exercise programs to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning, in accordance with exercise science standards, regulatory requirements, and credentialing requirements.
  • Provide emergency or other appropriate medical care to participants with symptoms or signs of physical distress.
  • Demonstrate correct use of exercise equipment or performance of exercise routines.
  • Recommend methods to increase lifestyle physical activity.
  • 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.
  • Provide clinical oversight of exercise for participants at all risk levels.
  • Explain exercise program or physiological testing procedures to participants.
  • 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.
  • Teach behavior modification classes related to topics such as stress management or weight control.
  • Conduct stress tests, using electrocardiograph (EKG) machines.
  • 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.
  • Evaluate staff performance in leading group exercise or conducting diagnostic tests.
  • Teach group exercise for low-, medium-, or high-risk clients to improve participant strength, flexibility, endurance, or circulatory functioning.
  • Calibrate exercise or testing equipment.
  • Teach courses or seminars related to exercise or diet for patients, athletes, or community groups.
  • Measure amount of body fat, using such equipment as hydrostatic scale, skinfold calipers, or tape measures.
  • Mentor or train staff to lead group exercise.
  • Perform routine laboratory tests of blood samples for cholesterol level or glucose tolerance.
  • Supervise maintenance of exercise or exercise testing equipment.
  • 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.
  • Plan or conduct exercise physiology research projects.

The above responsibilities are specific to Exercise Physiologists. More generally, Exercise Physiologists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

What is an Exercise Physiologist salary?

The median salary for an Exercise Physiologist is $50,280, and the average salary is $54,020. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Exercise Physiologist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Exercise Physiologists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Exercise Physiologists earn less than $36,070 per year, 25% earn less than $42,550, 75% earn less than $62,600, and 90% earn less than $78,170.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Exercise Physiologists is expected to change by 13.3%, and there should be roughly 1,500 open positions for Exercise Physiologists every year.

Median annual salary
$50,280
Typical salary range
$36,070 - $78,170
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
13.3%

What personality traits are common among Exercise Physiologists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Exercise Physiologist are usually higher in their Social, Investigative, and Realistic interests.

Exercise Physiologists typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Exercise Physiologists typically have strong Investigative interests. 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.

Lastly, Exercise Physiologists typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Exercise Physiologist tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Exercise Physiologists very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Exercise Physiologists very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Exercise Physiologists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Exercise Physiologists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, integrity, and concern for others.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Exercise Physiologists, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Exercise Physiologists need?

Many Exercise Physiologists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Exercise Physiologists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Exercise Physiologists

  • 0.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 2.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 3.6% completed some college coursework
  • 5.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 24.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 56.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 7.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Exercise Physiologists

Exercise Physiologists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, medicine and dentistry, or therapy and counseling knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Exercise Physiologists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
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.
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.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Important Abilities needed by Exercise Physiologists

Exercise Physiologists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Exercise Physiologists need abilities such as problem sensitivity, oral expression, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Exercise Physiologists, ranked by their relative importance.

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 that there is a problem.
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.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Exercise Physiologists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Exercise Physiologists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Exercise Physiologists, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Speaking
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.
Instructing
Teaching others how to do something.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.