The study of physiology is a branch of biology that delves into the systems necessary for the functioning of living organisms. So, what can you do with a physiology degree? This article provides a look at some of the basics of physiology, gives examples of schools where you can earn a degree in physiology, and explores just some of the many career options that will become available to you once you earn your Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in physiology. If you’re looking for something to help you decide whether physiology is the right path of study for you, take a look at the information provided here.
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 – the study of how molecules and organs make up biological systems that keep people alive and functioning; study of human anatomy to contribute to discoveries and treatments in health care. There are different branches of this, such as cardiac physiology or circulatory physiology.
Animal physiology – the 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 – the 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 upon the study of physiology.
Physiology Programs And Concentrations
Below are some top graduate and undergraduate physiology programs you can consider pursuing. You can find a more in-depth analysis of these three concentrations at the end of this article.
- Medical Physiology Degree
- Anatomy And Physiology Degree
- Exercise Physiology Degree
Schools That Offer Physiology
Your guidance counselor can help you choose what courses to take in high school that may prepare you for further education in physiology. Colleges and universities across the world have physiology degree programs unique to each school. Choosing the right school for you is a critical process. For assistance, you should consult your high school guidance counselor and, if possible, others who are attending or who have attended a physiology school.
University of New South Wales
You can obtain a physiology degree at Australia’s University of New South Wales, where 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 obtain 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.
University of Oregon
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 on 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 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 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 regularly due to health issues or other schedule conflicts, including full-time jobs.
What Can You Do With A Physiology Degree?
While earning your physiology degree, it is vital 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.
Careers in Physiology
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.
Job Outlook: Good
Salary: $30,000 – $75,000
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.
There are also other options besides an internship, especially if you’re already graduated college and already obtained your physiology degree, but are struggling to find a job. It may be good to first find a job that’s related to the field that you want to enter into. An excellent option for this is a hospital placement.
You are able to do this while in college, where they set it up for you, but you can also do this yourself. Visit hospitals or apply for different placements. This will give you valuable knowledge and experience that you didn’t have before.
Other options would be lab work or other part-time or volunteer work. It doesn’t need to be a paying position — even volunteering can gain you valid experience that gives you a leg up to a potential employer.
However, if you are unable to complete an internship or other experience during your time at 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 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 to better help diagnose and treat heart problems their patients may be experiencing. Echocardiographers possess excellent written and verbal communication skills to accurately communicate with doctors and patients when necessary. Some practices require echocardiographers to complete a training program that typically lasts between one and two years in length. Some states also require a 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.
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 to boost their cardiovascular systems. He or she may also partake in the evaluating of 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.
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 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 different 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 highly detail-oriented duties, and they possess outstanding analytical and research skills. Excellent organizational skills are necessary, as well, 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.
Additional job positions to look in to
There are some other job positions that directly relate to a degree in physiology. These are worth looking in to, especially if none of the above options sound like something that you’re interested in.
- Biomedical scientist
- Research scientist (medical)
- Clinical research associate
- Healthcare scientist, audiology
- Healthcare scientist, physiological sciences
Still not finding anything? There are additional career options for someone with a physiology degree. Now, these may not directly relate to your degree. However, your degree gives you a huge advantage and knowledge in these areas.
If nothing has sounded good so far, then you probably aren’t interested in something directly related to physiology, anyway. Maybe teaching it would be a good option for you, or one of the other options listed below.
- Healthcare scientist, cardiac services
- Therapeutic radiographer
- Medical sales representative
- Secondary school teacher
- Science writer
Companies that Hire People with Physiologists
Various companies around the globe are looking for people with physiology degrees. With enough knowledge and experience in the field, you 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 several physiology jobs to give you an idea of places you could find your future career.
Emerson Hospital – located in Concord, MA; hires positions for exercise physiologists, physical therapists, physician assistants, patient care technicians, 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.
U.S. Government positions – located all across the country; hires for exercise physiologists, animal scientists, biological science lab technicians, medical records technicians, etc.
Popular and Growing Fields Of Physiology:
Two of the more prominent fields of Physiology include Exercise Physiology and Medical Physiology. We will explore these concentrations more in-depth.
1. Exercise Physiology Degree
Exercise or Sports Physiology is the study of how fitness, workouts, and exercise function and/or alter the body, such as those of performance athletes.
What jobs are offered for an Exercise Physiologists?
Clinical and non-clinical positions. You can work with professional athletes or help fight chronic diseases. Clinical and higher-paying positions will likely require a master or doctorate.
Can you earn a bachelors or masters degree in Exercise Physiology online?
You can earn a bachelors or masters degree in exercise or sports science online, but an online exercise physiology degree is going to be challenging to find. If you plan on going into the field, it is better to have real-world, hands-on experience. You can start with basic online courses for physiology related to health or Exercise Science.
2. Medical Physiology Degree
Medical Physiology concentrates on the human body from the molecular, cellular, and systematic levels. These professionals understand and study the biological and medical treatment of their patients depending on their concentration (glands, brains, immune system, etc.)
What type of jobs can you do with a Medical Physiology degree?
Endocrinologists, Neuroscientists, and Immunologists are just some of the career paths you can consider with this degree.
Can you earn a bachelors or masters degree in Medical Physiology online?
Medical Physiology is an extremely intensive field of study that typically requires a doctorate. Therefore, finding this online is highly unlikely. However, there are general science degrees you can receive in undergraduate courses related to this field. Trident University also has an online path to receive a Ph.D. in Health Sciences.
Online Exercise Physiology, Medical Physiology Degree, And General Resources
Even with a good job outlook and great experience, you always want to make sure you have a leg-up on the competition, no matter what field you go into. College is expensive, so it is crucial to have the reassurance that the work you put in now will be worth the reward in the long run. Below are some of the resources to help you figure out what you want to do, along with affordable and efficient ways to make it happen, and tools to make you stand out above the rest.
Common Skills Among Physiologists
Do you need some help tweaking your resume, but aren’t sure what skills you have? Here are some common skills found among physiologists, and ones that employers will definitely be looking for you to have.
- Analytical and problem-solving
- Persistence and resiliance
- Judgement and decision-making
- Communicate information and data accurately and effectively
- Planning, organization, and time-management
- Computer, math, and statistics
College And Career Building Digital Resources
1. Search jobs you can get with a degree in Exercise Physiology, Medical Physiology, or related Physiology field on Indeed or Monster
This page only contains some of the various fields and careers you can consider with a degree in physiology. Explore more options in your area, or where you plan to work, on a reputable job site like Monster or Indeed.
2. Resume assistance for ANY student or graduate, not just those with an Anatomy and Physiology degree
Find resume templates online.
Is A Degree In Physiology Right For You?
Physiology is a growing field, and companies not just around the country, but around the globe are always 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.