Exercise is an essential element of a person’s overall health. Since doctors recommend including a healthy exercise regiment into their schedule, patients often refer to exercise physiologists for help. As careers in exercise physiology are on the rise, many students are looking toward degree programs to enter this exciting field. So what is exercise physiology, and what career options are available?
What is Exercise Physiology?
Exercise physiology is a specialization in healthcare professionals, primarily in kinesiology. Health professionals study how a patient’s body responds to physical activity. This study also includes how the patient’s body adapts to physical activity over time. While some physiologists work in medical settings, others work in public settings such as gyms. Occupation opportunities in this specialization branch into two main categories, clinical and non-clinical.
- Clinical- In a clinical setting, health professionals care for patients suffering from chronic illnesses and other medical concerns. Cancer patients, clinical obese patients, physical therapy patients all benefit from working with an exercise physiologist.
- Non-clinical- In a non-clinical setting, professionals work closely with healthy patients and athletes. These professionals are useful in fitness centers and sports training centers. They also work with patients who have trouble losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle.
How to Start a Career in Exercise Physiology
If you find working with patients to promote a healthy lifestyle through physical therapy and exercise interesting, becoming an exercise physiologist may be the right career choice for you. Exercise physiologists typically enter their field with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in exercise physiology. While these are very rigorous academic degree programs, you will obtain a rewarding career in healthcare. Core course topics include biology, anatomy, medical terminology, and psychology.
There are many career options in relation to exercise physiology. Entry-level positions may be available for undergraduate students. Yet, graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher will have advantages against other applicants in the hiring process. Amid the most common careers in this field, opportunities include the following opportunities.
- Personal trainer
- Strength and conditioning coach
- Clinical exercise physiologist
- Wellness coordinator
- Clinical research assistant
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise physiologists’ demand will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029. This growth is much faster than the average of other occupations. Employees typically work in medical settings like hospitals and clinics. However, many of these professionals are self-employed. The national average salary for exercise physiologists is over $49,000 per year. Furthermore, experts expect that average to rise within the next ten years. Depending on your career choice, salaries may vary.
There are many exciting career opportunities in this field of study. Likewise, there are also many occupational growth opportunities. Whether you decide to work in a clinical setting or open your own business, you will find yourself working closely with patients on an appointment type basis. Furthermore, patients will look to you for guidance on healthy lifestyle changes. If you are looking for a rewarding career helping people become better, healthier versions of themselves, then exercise physiology may be perfect for you.