By Published On: May 26, 2021

Theresa Miyashita, Program Chair for Exercise Science at Concordia University ChicagoConcordia-Chicago has launched a new Exercise Physiology concentration within its Master of Science in Applied Exercise Science program, with classes slated to begin in August 2021. To learn more about this new concentration, we sat down with Dr. Theresa Miyashita, Program Chair for Exercise Science at Concordia University Chicago, to understand what a career in exercise physiology has to offer.

What is exercise physiology?

Exercise physiologists work with general populations to perform exercise testing, prescription, and management, to improve the physical wellbeing and performance of individuals.

Our program is designed to provide students with the education they need to become exercise physiologists, from learning the foundations such as kinesiology and biomechanics, to learning more job-specific information, such as exercise prescription and testing.

Our exercise physiology students will learn how to work with special populations — cardiovascular patients, geriatric patients, and patients with metabolic conditions — in specialized healthcare environments. They’ll gain knowledge in a variety of areas that will enable them to select assessments, interpret results of that assessment, and then develop an exercise prescription.

What kind of career will this concentration prepare me for?

Our Exercise Physiology concentration is designed to prepare you for a future career as an exercise physiologist.

The concentration is aligned with ACSM’s Certified Exercise Physiology requirements. The courses within this concentration are designed to meet the eligibility criteria for students to sit for this exam.

Exercise physiologists can work in a variety of settings. Many choose to work as cardiac rehabilitation specialists, helping individuals with cardiac conditions proactively and retroactively improve their heart health. Most exercise physiologists work as a member of a medical team, working alongside physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, or physicians to help patients reach their physical health goals.

Some work in hospitals or clinics, while others may work in a gym setting, while others choose to work in hospitals or clinics.

Why should students complete this master’s degree?

While students with an undergraduate degree in exercise science are eligible to sit for the exam, they must meet curriculum requirements for the exam. Those coming from a health sciences or athletic training background may not meet requirements, and this degree will help prepare those individuals for the exam.

This degree has two tracks. Which should I choose?

The Exercise Physiology concentration offers two tracks for individuals with different backgrounds in exercise science.

Track 1 is for people who do not have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or who have not attained 21 semester credit hours (or 28 quarter credit hours) in specific areas of exercise science. This track then fulfills the exercise science curricular requirements to sit for the American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Physiology Certification (ACSM-EP) exam.

Track 2 is for students who do have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or who have attained 21 semester credit hours (or 28 quarter credit hours) in specific areas of exercise science, which meets ACSM requirements to sit for the ACSM Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP) Certification exam.

What makes exercise physiology different from kinesiology or human movement science?

Along with foundational courses such as kinesiology and biomechanics, students will take courses around health risk appraisal, exercise testing and prescription, and testing and prescriptions for special populations. The program dives into the nitty gritty of what an exercise physiologist does.

While students in the Human Movement Science concentration learn about movement compensations, students in the Exercise Physiology concentration are going to be learning more about how to formally assess different populations and what those assessments mean, and then design a training program to help based on those results.

Want to learn more about exercise physiology? Don’t miss our article, “What Is Exercise Physiology?”

About Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago has been educating students for over 150 years. When you enroll in our online programs you earn the same campus-quality degree. Ready to advance your career in health and fitness with a degree in exercise science? Contact one of our Admissions Advisors to learn more or contact us.

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