Career Exploration Program


Exercise specialist

Exercise specialists assist with direct patient care and in developing and modifying exercise programs to meet the specific educational and physiological needs of patients. 

These patients can be entered into various rehabilitation programs such as cardiac and/or pulmonary, and work injury or occupational medicine programs.  They also perform fitness evaluations and participate in community-based and employee-based wellness programs.


Exercise specialists work with patients of all ages and educational levels, and must initiate an appropriate plan of care to address holistic, age-specific needs and reflect the patient’s changing condition by using skills related to knowledge of specific age needs and behaviors when communicating with and treating patients. 

They must collaborate with a treatment team to work towards patient progress and must have great interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with patients and their families.


Exercise specialists must be team oriented, and must also work closely with patients of all ages, as well as their families.


An Associate’s degree from an accredited Occupational Therapy Assistant program as well as certification is required.


A Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Science, or an exercise-related field as well as certification.  Certification as a Basic Life Support Provider or CPR is also required.

There are many schools in Oregon that offer programs in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, among them:
Pacific University
Willamette University


Reference: United States Department of Labor