Skip to main content

Accessibility menu

Skip to main content Skip to footer

Clinical Exercise Physiology

A page within Clinical Exercise Physiology

Student works with LEHP participant

Become a clinical exercise physiologist

Join a growing profession with a graduate degree in clinical exercise physiology!

A Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) is a healthcare professional who develops evidence-based exercise programs for patients with chronic diseases where exercise training has been shown to be of therapeutic benefit. Patients include those with cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, cancer survivorship, metabolic and other chronic diseases.

UWL offers an internationally-recognized Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology program, which prepares students to sit for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) examination.

What does a clinical exercise physiologist do?

A CEP works closely with patients and their medical providers during the rehabilitation process to develop individualized treatment plans. CEPs typically work in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, cancer rehabilitation, stress testing, health education, or wellness centers.

These professionals use evidenced-based practice to create individualized exercise plans for patients and then work to monitor and supervise patient progress on those plans. CEPs provide crucial help and support during one of the most vulnerable times of their patients' lives. It is very rewarding to help a patient return to the activities of daily living. 

Why UW-La Crosse?

A key to the success of the UWL CEP program is the practical experience that students receive during their training. In addition to working in the on-campus La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, students work in close cooperation with the two area medical facilities: Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare. This cooperation gives students an opportunity to become involved in clinical aspects of exercise testing and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation not available at the University.

A major goal of the program is to prepare students to sit for the ACSM CEP examination at the end of the program. Our students are eligible to sit for the exam based the 600 hours of experience they accrue within the 15-month program. Over the past 30 years, the first time pass rate for La Crosse graduates has exceeded 90%. Approximately 85% of our graduates enter clinical positions, with the remaining 15% attaining positions in adult/corporate fitness settings or going on to obtain additional degrees (e.g., PT, PA, PhD).

The UWL CEP program was the first graduate program in the country to prepare students to work specifically in the field of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. UWL has a reputation for excellence and enjoys a national and international prominence unmatched by any other program. Faculty and alumni of UWL have served in prominent positions within the field, including as Presidents of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).