American Society of Exercise Physiologists Founded, 1997 Directory
Job Search Strategies
ASEP & HPCAREER.NET
The EPC EXAM
ASEP contact page
Code of Ethics
ASEP Public Forum
Scope of Practice
For ASEP Exercise
Physiologist Certified (EPC)
What is exercise physiology?
Exercise physiology is either an academic major with Bachelor through Doctor of Philosophy degrees in many colleges and universities across the United States or an academic concentration in exercise science with an academic major in kinesiology, human performance, or one of several other possible titles. While the academic major in exercise physiology generally requires more exercise physiology course work and hands-on laboratory experiences than the academic concentration, the significant number of variations in academic programs has resulted in concern as to what constitutes the academic core course work for the emerging exercise physiology profession. The variations in academic offerings are under consideration by the ASEP Accreditation Committee.
Many of the exercise physiology courses encompass classes that concern how exercise, physical activity, and a sedentary lifestyle each influence the human body. A large component of this knowledge base is derived from introductory and advanced classes in exercise physiology. However, additional courses such as sports biomechanics, anatomy, kinesiology, exercise testing, exercise prescription, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, biochemistry, electrocardiography, laboratory procedures, body composition, motor learning, research design, and statistics are integral to the knowledge and skill competencies of the profession of exercise physiology.
Based on an understanding of the information provided above, exercise physiology is more than a course topic, or a branch of physiology. Exercise physiology is an emerging profession that has application to the fitness, allied health, clinical settings, and athletic performance.
What is an exercise physiologist?
An exercise physiologist is a person who has completed at least a bachelor's degree (or emphasis) in exercise physiology (science). As certain individuals complete graduate degrees in exercise physiology (science) without an undergraduate degree in the same field, the title of an exercise physiologist could also apply to this academic preparation so long as undergraduate prerequisites for such graduate degree programs have been completed.
What is an ASEP certified exercise physiologist (EPC)?
An ASEP certified exercise physiologist (EPC) is an exercise physiologist who has graduated from an ASEP accredited (or approved) program, and has successfully completed the ASEP certification examination.
What is the EPC trained to do?
The EPC is a broadly trained and competent professional who can function in fitness, allied health and wellness, clinical work settings, and athletics that require the use of exercise for the purposes of developing and maintaining good health and fitness, disease diagnosis, physiological assessment, rehabilitation, and athletic performance. The knowledge and skills of an EPC include, but are not limited to the:
Where should an EPC be able to work?
- knowledge of how human physiology changes during different types and intensities of exercise
- knowledge of how the human body changes in structure and function in response to exercise training and regular physical activity
- knowledge of the most appropriate methods for fitness and physical performance evaluations, including body composition, flexibility, muscular strength and power, maximal oxygen consumption, and metabolic thresholds
- knowledge to provide professional advice on appropriate modes and intensities of exercise for specific outcomes
- skills to administer graded exercise tests, and monitor blood pressure, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion and electrocardiographic responses during exercise
- skills to prescribe exercise training
- skills to conduct clinical or applied research involving exercise in whatever manner or form.
The potential work competencies of all EPCs are influenced by the level of their terminal degree. The EPC could have either a Bachelor degree, Master degree, or Doctor of Philosophy degree; all with either a major or an emphasis in exercise physiology (science). The employment settings of the EPC become increasingly diverse with the PhD degree that results from first having fulfilled requirements for the BS and MS degrees.
Bachelors degree EPC
The EPC with at least a Bachelor degree is suitably trained to work in the clinical and fitness industries as indicted in Figure 1. ASEP supports the development of a clinical workplace where the EPC is an important component of patient care that develops and performs, under the direction of a physician and support nursing staff, the exercise testing or training of patients from a diverse number of clinical specialties such as but not limited to cardiology, nutrition, pulmonology, endocrinology, nephrology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedics, immunology, pediatrics, geriatrics and hematology. The EPC can function in the use of exercise for the diagnosis, prevention and rehabilitation of diseases, and in the research of diseases or disease processes that can be influenced by exercise. EPCs can also work in the fitness industry, where they can function as either a program director, program coordinator, research technician, and exercise technician involved with the assessment of physical fitness parameters and the prescription and supervision of exercise sessions.
Master degree EPC
The progression to the successful completion of a Master degree enables the EPC to become more employable in each of the employment conditions of the Bachelor degree EPC. In addition, the completion of the Master degree reveals the added knowledge, competency and research inquiry skills that would allow the EPC to supervise other EPC employees, direct exercise programs within the clinical and fitness settings, and be more competent in research. For many Master level individuals with the EPC qualification, employment in many teachers colleges is also possible.
PhD degree EPC
The PhD degree EPC has completed the highest academic degree available. With the advanced training comes employment opportunities in teaching and research within universities, research positions within medical schools and hospitals, and research positions within the private business sector (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, nutrition food and beverage companies, and similar companies).
How does the exercise
physiologist provide professional services?
In short, by acknowledging that the exercise physiologist's primary objective is to serve the public by optimizing human performance. How? By sharing, guiding, counseling, and educating clients, for example, as an exercise physiologist in:
- SPORTS PROGAMS
- Sports director
- Strength coach
- Director/manager of state and national teams
- COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS
- COMMUNITY PRACTICE
- Manage health/wellness programs
- Direct corporate fitness/wellness programs
- Health/fitness club instructor
- Health/fitness director in correctional services and in police organizations
- CLINICAL PRACTICE
- Test/supervise cardiopulmonary patients
- Evaluate/supervise special populations
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Children with heart disease
- Low functional capacity
- Exercise technologies in cardiology suites
- Work hardening
- Occupation rehabilitation
- GOVERNMENT/MILITARY SERVICES
- Fitness director/manager in military, including
- Careers in military services
- Sports management
- Sport psychologist
- PRIVATE PRACTICE
- Personal health/fitness consultant
- Sports psychology
- Sports biomechanics
- SPORTS NUTRITION PROGRAMS
- Exercise nutritionist
- Exercise counselor
- INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS/PRACTICE
- Health/fitness promotion
- Sports consultant
Affliation with international organizations