Types of Physiology
Physiology is a branch of biology that can be broken down into more specific subjects. Those who study physiology observe the organs, cells, and even molecules that make up the systems that allow a living organism to exist. With all the different types of living organisms, then, it’s no wonder that physiology has been narrowed down into subcategories to make the subject easier to study. Just a few of these subcategories of physiology are listed and briefly described in this section below.
Human physiology – study of how molecules and organs make up biological systems that keep people alive and functioning; study of human anatomy in order to contribute to discoveries and treatments in health care
Animal physiology – study of biological systems of animals, including those involved in growth, digestion, reproduction, etc.; often studied as part of animal science, zoology, and veterinary science
Plant physiology – study of how molecules and cells make up systems that allow plants to function; often involved in the study of botany
Physiology in Health Care
If physiology intrigues you but you’re not quite sure if you want to focus your studies on just that, take a look at these subjects that rely in some way to the study of physiology.
Physiology Degree Programs
Colleges and universities across the world have physiology degree programs unique to each school. Choosing the right school for you is a very important process. For assistance, you should consult your high school guidance counselor and, if possible, others who are attending or who have attended a school for physiology. Your guidance counselor can help you choose what courses to take in high school that may prepare you for a further education in physiology.
Australia’s University of New South Wales offers a physiology program in which students can earn multiple degrees with focuses in physiology. As a student at UNSW, you have the opportunity to earn a degree in exercise physiology, or you can major in physiology while earning an advanced science degree. You can also major in physiology to earn a medical science degree, an international science degree, or a science and business degree. While studying physiology, students may also take a closer look at biomedicine. These programs all help students build critical thinking and analysis skills and outstanding research skills while learning the specifics of the different types of physiology necessary to attain their goals for the future.
The Department of Human Physiology at the University of Oregon provides undergraduate and graduate students alike with the opportunities to earn a degree in human physiology. Undergraduates can focus their studies on earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology, during which time they tackle courses the basic sciences–biology, chemistry, physics–as well as human anatomy, biostatistics, and more. Graduate students can earn a Master of Science in Athletic Training, or they may take part in a research-intensive program in which they can earn both a masters degree and a doctorate degree focused on human physiology. Those who choose to study human physiology at the University of Oregon typically plan to enter the health care industry.
Georgetown University has a particularly unique masters program for graduate students looking to further their studies in physiology. The school’s Master of Science in Physiology degree program, also known as the Special Masters Program, allows students to earn their masters degree in just one year in order to advance their chances of acceptance into medical schools. Thus, this program requires students to take various courses with content heavily concentrated in the medical industry. Faculty members at Georgetown University strive to see their students succeed in reaching whatever goals they have set, whether just advancing in the career they’ve already chosen or entering medical school to become doctors of all kinds. The Special Masters Program at Georgetown University is the very first degree program of its kind, and it is also the longest running one-year masters degree program in physiology.
Keep in mind that plenty of schools also offer online physiology degree programs for the convenience of people who are unable to attend on-campus classes on a regular basis due to health issues or other schedule conflicts, including full-time jobs.
Careers in Physiology
While earning your physiology degree, it is important that you also take the time to research the various career opportunities that could become available to you once you have completed the physiology degree program. Choosing a career path that most interests you before graduating from college is highly beneficial, because you will then be able to shape your educational experience around that particular career. This section is meant to help you find a career path that will allow you to use the knowledge and skills you gain through earning your physiology degree.
Entry Level Careers in Physiology
Taking advantage of an internship opportunity will help you build experience before you even finish earning your physiology degree and, in turn, will help you gain the experience necessary to quickly snag a job after you graduate. However, if you are unable to complete an internship during your time in a higher education facility, you may find that you still qualify for one or more of the positions described below after earning your bachelors degree in physiology.
An exercise physiologist just entering the field often assists an experienced exercise physiologist with developing exercise routines, whether for personal health or athletic purposes, for clients in order to boost their cardiovascular systems. He or she may also partake in the evaluating the conditions of a client’s metabolism and cardiovascular health. Exercise physiologists often possess bachelor degrees in everything from physiology to kinesiology. They have outstanding written and verbal communication skills, as well.
Exercise physiologists may earn around $37,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
EchocardiographerAn echocardiographer regularly performs echocardiograms, or sonographies that are used to check the conditions of patients’ cardiovascular systems. Echocardiographers often present the results of echocardiograms to doctors in order to better help diagnose and treat heart problems their patients may be experiencing. Echocardiographers possess excellent written and verbal communication skills in order to accurately communicate with doctors and patients when necessary. Some practices require echocardiographers to complete a training programs that typically last between one and two years in length. Some states also require special certification to practice in addition to training and at least an associates degree, as well. Background studies in physiology are particularly helpful.
Echocardiographers may earn over $40,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Advanced Careers in Physiology
After gaining a few years of experience and/or earning a masters degree in physiology, many more career opportunities are sure to become available to you. Just a few of these career options are described below.
An animal physiologist may spend most of his or her time examining and analyzing the molecular structures and functions of organ systems within a wide array of animals. He or she also considers how the dieting and living habits of various animals influence the performance of their biological systems in an effort to develop new ways to diagnose and treat any medical issues animals may suffer. Animal physiologists often possess master degrees or doctorate degrees in animal physiology, animal science, or other related subjects and work in laboratories, schools, and other environments.
Animal physiologists may earn an annual salary of over $61,000, based on education and experience levels.
A molecular biologist analyzes biochemical systems that occur in living organisms, often to get a better understanding of genetic coding and how newly discovered organisms function. Although entry level positions may require just a bachelors degree in molecular biology or related field, most employers search for candidates with master degrees or doctorate degrees in physiology, molecular and cell biology, or other related fields. Molecular biologists perform duties that are highly detail-oriented, and they possess outstanding analytical and research skills. Good organizational skills are necessary, as well, in order for molecular biologists to accurately record and file new data.
A molecular biologist with a masters degree or higher may earn over $70,000 a year, based on knowledge and experience levels.
Companies that Hire People with Physiology Degrees
Various companies around the globe are looking for people with physiology degrees. With enough knowledge and experience in the field, you just might wind up working at one of the places listed below. This list contains a handful of companies that hire people to fill positions for a number of physiology jobs to give you an idea of places you could find your future job.
Emerson Hospital – located in Concord, MA; hires positions for exercise physiologists, physical therapists, physician assistants, patient care technicians, etc.
Allina Health System – located in Minneapolis, MD; hires positions for exercise physiologists, rehab specialists, physical therapists, clinical training specialists, etc.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory – located in Golden, CO; hires positions for molecular biologists, independent oversight managers, etc.
Southern Research Institute – located in Frederick, MD; hires positions for assistant biologists, research assistants, medical lab technicians, biochemists, etc.
The Medical Center of Aurora – located in Aurora, CO; hires positions for echocardiographers, lab assistants, neuroscience RNs, sterile processing technicians, occupational therapists, etc.
Physiology is a growing field, and companies not just around the country but around the globe are constantly searching for people with physiology degrees of all sorts. Whether you’re intrigued by animal physiology, human physiology, or plant physiology, consider researching more about careers in the physiology industry to get your future started today.