Sports Science Salary

What is an exercise scientist?

Exercise scientists -- sometimes called exercise physiologists -- study the impact of exercise on human health, and help create fitness programs for patients recovering from certain diseases. Exercise scientists aim to improve patients' cardiovascular functions, body composition and flexibility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), exercise scientists also analyze patients' medical histories before establishing a regimen, perform fitness tests and other medical evaluations, and supervise clinical tests to ensure patient safety. They tend to work closely with patients' primary care physicians.

What is an exercise scientist's salary?

Bls.gov reports that in 2012 exercise physiologists earned more than the national median salary for all U.S. workers. Earnings tend to vary from one position to the next, however, depending on a number of factors. For example, bls.gov notes that these professionals must earn at least a bachelor's degree in exercise science or a related field, but some choose to earn master's degrees instead. Since earnings often increase with education, pursuing the higher degree may result in better earnings. Experienced exercise scientists may also earn more than their junior colleagues. Location can drive earnings, too, since salaries tend to increase with cost of living and regional demand for qualified workers.

Job TitleBottom 10% Annual WageAnnual Median WageTop 10% Annual Wage
Exercise Physiologists-U.S.$34,250$49,090$78,410
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is it difficult to find a job as an exercise scientist?

Demand for exercise physiologists will grow about as fast as the average for all professions between 2012 and 2022 according to bls.gov. Hospitals' and physicians' continued emphasis on exercise and preventive care as a key part of patient treatment will help sustain exercise scientists' numbers, though competition for open positions is expected to be fierce.

Job TitleProjected Job Growth Rate
Exercise Physiologists-U.S.12.9%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is there room for advancement as an exercise scientist?

Exercise scientists with some business training may assume management roles that allow them to mentor less experienced colleagues. Some alternately choose to eventually specialize in athletics. According to bls.gov, athletic trainers earn the same type of degrees as exercise scientists, but go on to meet other state-specific licensing criteria. Though athletic trainers earn just slightly less on average than exercise scientists, bls.gov projects that they may be in significantly greater demand over the next decade.

Do exercise scientists need to be licensed or certified?

As of 2014, only a few states require exercise physiologists to be licensed, but according to bls.gov, several more are considering legislation that could establish licensing requirements soon. Most states that do require licensure accept national certificates like the American Society of Exercise Psychologists' Exercise Physiologists Certified certificate, which requires one to earn at least a bachelor's degree, pass an exam and complete continuing education courses periodically. The American College of Sports Medicine also offers certifications for exercise physiologists, including the Certified Clinical Exercise Specialists for bachelor's degree holders, and the Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist for master's degree holders.

Athletic Trainers and Exercise Physiologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,

The American Society of Exercise Physiologists,

The American College of Sports Medicine,

Exercise Science Schools