Professional Exercise Physiology
for EPC Candidates: Guide
[The first "certification"
for Exercise Physiologists]
Editorials, Policy, and Call for Papers
Web Sites: Updated
of Exercise Physiologyonline
of Exercise Physiologyonline
in starting a Student Chapter at your institution, then contact
Robert Robergs at 505-277-1196 or Dr.
Tommy Boone at the ASEP National Office (218-723-6297). The Student
on the Internet. NEWS: Just received the good news that West
Virginia University STUDENTS have
started an ASEP Student Chapter. CONGRATULATONS
of Exercise Physiologyonline
"first-ever" exercise physiology electronic journal, Be sure to click
on the APRIL
2000 issue of JEPonline.
article can be printed either in HTML or PDF format, and can used in your
work or as part of your classroom assignments. As an author of an
article in ASEPNewsletter,
you can list the work in your Resume' and other important documents.
There are no page charges to publish in the three ASEP internet documents.
ASEP meets the costs of publishing your work. What about copyright?
Both e-journals and the newsletter are listed with the Library of Congress
via their own ISSN numbers (International Standard Serial Number).
are an organization of professionals.
become a member, print the
Membership Application and forward it to the ASEP
National Office, or call an ASEP representative at (218) 723-6297.
Visit additional web sites for more information, click on the ASEP Table
of Contents. Current
weather at the ASEP National Office, Duluth, MN.
is seeking guest editorials -- brief commentaries on a wide variety
of issues. Everyone involved in: health, fitness, rehabilitation, sports,
including medical, business, management, psychology, teachers, and students
-- is welcome to share insights, concerns, points and counterpoints on
any issue that impinges upon the exercise physiology profession. Send
EDITORIALS to the Editor: ASEP National Office, c/o Tommy Boone,
PhD, MPH, FASEP, Department of Exercise Physiology, The College of St.
Scholastica, 1200 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811
of Exercise Physiologyonline (PEPonline)
presents "1" article about professionalism.
you run across an interesting exercise physiology site? If you have
and would like it to be posted, please let me know via my email.
Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH, FASEP
Professor and Chair
Director of Exercise Physiology
Department of Exercise Physiology
College of St. Scholastica
“This article is dedicated
to all those students who are passionate about exercise physiology, and
who are also the hope and future of exercise physiology.”
THE NEW CENTURY IS HERE,
and life goes on! Changes are as constant as before, and exercise
physiology is no different than other professions. The profession
isn’t recognized by all exercise physiologists, but the vital part of the
process is that it is accepted by those who understand the need for professionalism.
Change brings with it new ideas, and those prepared to work on behalf of
the emerging professional are faced with demands more so than their college
professors. Students understand this point extremely well, especially
with the emphasis placed on reading research articles. Yet, they
also understand the challenges of getting an exercise physiology job outside
of the university system. Those who have persevered have developed
the necessary skills to successfully compete with other professionals.
They understand what it means to be competent, and have taken steps to
demonstrate their credibility through different certifications. Most
of these professionals are still not happy with the circumstances before
them. They are concerned about the lack of an academic focus beyond
theoretical concepts to realistic inroads into the healthcare system.
The purpose of this article
is to present an overview and synthesis of the important issues and trends
that are basic to the development of professional exercise physiologists.
Unfortunately, there are few to no courses that cover this material, so
this article would be useful for execise physiology students. Students
need to read and think about what it means to be a profession, and the
importance of their own professional organization. What is accountability,
and what does professionalism have to do with exercise physiology?
Why haven’t academic exercise physiologists integrated their classroom
presentations with the concept of critical thinking and how it might be
used in exercise physiology? What is the “true” history of exercise
physiology, and why haven’t the academic exercise physiologists initiated
changes in the curriculum before now? What are the implications for
the continuation of exercise physiology if things were to stay as they
have been for decades?
A second purpose of this
article is to stimulate the reader’s thinking and, perhaps, improve his/her
sense of what is exercise physiology and how it is changing in hope of
preparing new professionals. It is important to express my thanks
to the administrators of the College of St. Scholastica who have acknowledged
the importance of a professional organization for exercise physiologists
and, hence the web site space and support that is dedicated to the American
Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP). This article, the
ASEP presence, and the electronic journals (including the ASEPNewsletter)
would never have been presented without their support, encouragement, and
understanding of the importance of professionalism.
Since the time of the Harvard
Laboratory, where it is said that among a few other places, exercise physiology
emerged, each generation of exercise physiologists, in their own way, has
helped to set the stage for professional development. The development
of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) into a multi-group of
professionals wasn’t without some struggle. Much of the work was
done by exercise physiologists who were dedicated to the idea that doing
research and having a place to present it was important. This idea
has been with most exercise physiologists for decades, and most understand
the primary goal of the ACSM’s leadership. Yet some exercise physiologists,
both inside and outside of exerccise physiology, question if sports medicine
is right for the professionalization of exercise physiology.
It is only recently, in the
past five years, the question of professionalism has taken on significance
and meaning. The idea of having one’s own organization raised hope
that, perhaps, exercise physiologists were not destined to be technicians
and/or researchers without belonging to and practicing a profession.
Whether exercise physiology can be viewed as a profession lies with the
public. But, the public is not likely to have a good image of exercise
physiologists if they aren’t in agreement on specific criteria that raises
what they do above that of an occupation.
The “catch 22” is that an
occupation can’t be considered a profession without the public’s belief
that the members of the occupation are in the position of some independence,
power, and can earn high incomes. Here, you can see the problem,
that is, if non-academic exercise physiologists continue to earn relatively
low incomes, what they do can’t be recognized as being part of a profession.
But, exercise physiologists can’t earn high incomes without the public’s
belief that they belong to and practice a profession (such as medicine,
law, and politics). At least with this view, exercise physiology,
today, is obviously not a profession. On the other hand, if a profession
is defined by its intellectual level, individual responsibility and accountability,
specialized body of knowledge, activities that serve the public, a code
of ethics, a strong identity and commitment to professionalism grounded
in a well-organized organization that oversees a scope of practice, then,
without question, exercise physiology is a profession.
Exercise physiology meets
most of the criteria identified by experts who have written about what
constitutes a profession. Obviously, two decades ago exercise physiology
could not be identified as a profession. Most of what was taught
was totally outside the control, development, and influence of exercise
physiologists. Today, however, it is different. There are departments
of exercise physiology with comprehensive academic programs. Most
of the programs and the graduates are leaders among the academic programs.
They offer the baccalaureate degree as the entry-level exercise physiologist.
However, until all exercise physiologists are committed to the profession,
identify with it as a profession, and dedicate themselves to empowering
exercise physiology, achieving professionalism will be difficult to achieve.
But, like all things, few
ideas are absolute. The power to influence is essentially untested
when presented via the Internet. It follows logically that with world-wide
exposure, the capacity to influence, teach, and motivate other exercise
physiologists holds great rewards. It is probably the focal point
for the source of power from which to influence professional unity, political
activities, accountability and professionalism, and networking. In
fact, the development of the Internet has allowed students and faculty
to compare academic programs virtually with hands-on sensitivity and analysis.
As might be imagined, they have come to realize these academic degree programs
are plagued with problems.
The obvious problem is the
lack of uniformity in course offerings. Without consistency from
one program to the next, it is difficult to know exactly what the graduate
is prepared to do. Whether the graduate has sufficient technical
skills is a major concern. Most of these programs are a hybrid mixture
of courses from diverse departments rather than an academic degree in exercise
physiology. This lack of uniformity in curriculum depth and length
remains unresolved today, except for the “bachelor
of exercise physiology” degree that fulfills the criteria that defines
it as a professional degree. The question that concerns the exercise
physiologist with a degree in exercise physiology is whether or not an
individual prepared as an exercise physiologist with a degree in kinesiology,
human performance, or physical education has enough knowledge to be a professional
exercise physiologist. If the answer is no, then these academic programs
need to be renamed or upgraded. Numerous universities have recognized
this problem and the trend is to tailor their programs to meet the academic
needs of the students and the profession.
The ASEP position on the
preparation of exercise physiologists is to ensure high-quality exercise
physiology professionals by fostering high academic standards.
To achieve the goal of furthering professional advancement, the ASEP took
responsibility for establishing the first scope of practice for exercise
physiologists. The educational level of the undergraduate students
will also be increased as universities adopt the ASEP Accreditation Guidelines
for educational reform. The rationale for the accreditation document
is to stress the importance of an agreed upon set of courses and laboratory
experiences that are considered imperative for the development of the profession.
Imagine what the quality
of exercise physiology would be if any one could call him- or herself an
“Exercise Physiologist”. Well, that is exactly the problem that faces
the profession. This situation isn’t good, and for professions that
compete for similar types of work within the public sector, their licensure,
certification, and organizations help ensure their success. Exercise
physiologists must evolve from yesterday’s thinking to the 21st Century
view of reality. Credentialing for exercise physiologists is imperative.
Without it, there is no way to ensure competency. Without sound credentials,
there is also little reason to expect the public sector to acknowledge
exercise physiology as a profession.
Aside from accreditation
issues raised for the first time in the history of exercise physiology
by the ASEP Board, and soon to be implement by the ASEP Board of Accreditation,
there is “certification”. To be certified as an exercise physiologist
is to acknowledge that an individual has achieved a level of ability higher
than any one else without the certification. At the present time,
the ASEP Board believes that a certification designed to make the bachelor-prepared
exercise physiologist accountable to the profession and the public sector
is imperative. This type of certification will be implemented during
the 3rd ASEP Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM during the latter weeks
in September, 2000. It will include both a written exam and
an applied exam. Information necessary to sit for the exam can be
located at the “Exercise Physiologist Certified”
(EPC) web site. In some cases, the granting of a certification to
members of a professional organization is considered a step higher than
the requirements for licensure, the EPC exam is expected to have a significant,
positive impact on the profession (until some years from now the individual
associations will be in a better position to obtain licensure). For
some time to come, the ASEP certification of exercise physiologists will
be the primary method of granting professional credential to demonstrate
that an individual is qualified to provide safe and effective instruction
and counsel to the public.
Fortunately, even with the
lack of uniformity that exists in exercise science – exercise physiology
programs in the United States, exercise physiologists now have a professional
organization. The establishment of the American Society of Exercise
Physiologists is the “one” most important defining characteristic of a
profession. The door is now open “with one voice” to represent the
beliefs, concerns, and needs of all exercise physiologists. In numbers
there is strength, the power to create, and to make a difference.
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