Cardiac rehabilitation relies on exercise and nutrition plans to stave off cardiovascular disease. Students in exercise science master's programs learn to assess patients, prescribe exercise plans and conduct workshops in physical education. They also explore the basics of human physiology, exercise science, nutrition and cardiovascular disease. Programs may include 36 credit hours of coursework, a field internship and a thesis. Enrollment in these programs requires students to have a baccalaureate degree with courses in human anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and exercise physiology.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Graduate Programs
In addition to classroom lectures in physiology and nutrition, master's degree programs in exercise science consist of laboratory courses, clinical experiences and field exercises. Some examples of courses might include:
- Advanced exercise physiology
- Clinical aspects of physiology
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Exercise, nutrition and physical activity
- Fitness law
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a master's degree in exercise science are eligible to obtain careers within cardiac rehabilitation programs at medical facilities. The positions available include:
- Cardiac rehabilitation specialist
- Exercise physiologist
- Cardiac stress testing specialist
- Exercise specialist
- Health improvement director
Career and Salary Info
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that exercise physiologists made a median annual salary of $47,010. PayScale.com reported the median salary for cardiac rehabilitation specialists to be $45,774 in January of 2016.
The American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) offers certification for entire cardiac rehabilitation programs, not just for individual employees. Specialists looking for employment in the field should seek out a cardiac rehabilitation program that is certified by the AACVPR. The organization also offers continuing education opportunities for professionals in the field.
A master's degree program in exercise science with a specialization in cardiac rehabilitation trains individuals to work with patients who suffer from cardiovascular, metabolic, orthopedic and even neurological disorders.