How to Become an Exercise Physiologist

How To Become an Exercise Physiologist

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

Employers prefer bachelor prepared exercise physiologists who have completed an accredited program. These programs are continually improved and held to stringent guidelines in order to train students on the most current knowledge and methods of the field.

Certain programs are geared toward leading students directly into a graduate program, so having an idea in place as to which specific position you want may be useful. If unsure, it is best to enroll in a graduate-focused undergraduate program to leave options open.

The preparation timeline below outlines the suggested courses:

Grade Level Example Courses
  • Chemistry I & Lab
  • Chemistry II & Lab
  • College Algebra
  • Statistics
  • Introduction to Kinesiology
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I & Lab
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Foundation of Physical Conditioning
  • Nutrition I
  • Applied Kinesiology
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Exercise Science Organizations
  • Exercise Physiology Foundation
  • Exercise Physiology Application
  • Principles of Strength & Conditioning
  • Exercise Testing & Lab
  • Humanities Requirements
  • Electives
  • Pharmacology I
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Biomechanics
  • Weight Management & Behavior
  • Seminar
  • Remaining Requirements & Electives

2. Earn a Master's Degree (2 Years)

Following graduation from college, students can take part in an ASEP exercise physiology program that is accredited by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.

The academic coursework in such programs usually include biomechanics, sports nutrition, exercise testing and prescription, statistics, psychophysiology, ECG interpretation, kinesiology and other related areas of study.

These programs are not required for entry into the field, but may be necessary to qualify for certain positions. For example, high-level clinical and research positions will likely required a master's or doctoral program completion for qualification.

3. Earn an Exercise Physiologist Certification

A master's degree is not required to become certified. The American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) offers the certification exam for the field.

The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions with 4 options each and lasts for 4 hours total. Each question is comprised of factual data or the described situation (the stem) and 4 answer choices, one of which is correct.

The exam is broken down as follows:

Section % of Exam
Exercise Physiology 36% (72 questions)
Cardiac Rehabilitation 18.5% (37 questions)
Exercise Metabolism & Regulation 11.5% (23 questions)
Kinesiology 10.5% (21 questions)
Research 6.5% (13 questions)
Sports Biomechanics 6% (12 questions)
Environmental Exercise Physiology 6% (12 questions)
Sports Nutrition 5% (10 questions)

Learn More About the EPC Examination