Clinical Exercise Physiology Degree Program Overviews

Earning a Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology is necessary to become a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist and gain a position within an outpatient clinic, a rehabilitation center, a community agency or an athletic facility.

Essential Information

Enrolled exercise physiology students in a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology program learn about specific human bodily systems that are affected by exercise, including the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and pulmonary systems. Students learn how to develop exercise programs for individuals whose systems have particular weaknesses and strengths. Requirements for graduation include completing mandatory clinical hours and sometimes a required thesis.

Prerequisites for this two-years program include having an undergraduate degree in a field like physiology, biology, kinesiology or exercise studies and competitive scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology

Clinical exercise physiologists work with individual clients to prescribe or develop exercise programs that meet particular health or athletic needs. A master's degree program in clinical exercise physiology places heavy emphasis on research and emerging technologies in the fields of physiology, exercise prescription and general healthcare practices. Many of the core courses deal with particular aspects of human physiology as well as clinical techniques in the exercise prescription field. Some examples are listed below:

  • Metabolic exercise prescription
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise prescription
  • Musculoskeletal exercise prescription
  • Physiology of aging
  • Exercise metabolism
  • Diagnostic tests

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment growth for exercise physiologists at 11%, or faster-than-average, for the 2014-20124 decade. The BLS also reported an annual median salary of $47,010 for these professionals as of May 2015 ( That same year, about half of exercise physiologists were self-employed, and the top paying states were California, Massachusetts, and Arizona.


Clinical exercise physiologists can become board certified through the American Society of Exercise Physiologists, which generally requires the completion of an examination. The American College of Sports Medicine also allows professionals in the field to take an examination and become Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologists. In both instances, individuals must hold a master's degree in clinical exercise physiology before they can apply.

Students interested in how exercise affects various systems of the human body, and how different exercise routines may be used to meet particular health or athletic needs may be interested in pursuing a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology.

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