Copyright ©1997-2003 
American Society of Exercise Physiologists. All Rights Reserved.
Vol 7 No 6 June 2003 
ISSN 1097-9743
Editor: Jesse Pittsley

Dues Renewal Notice
Purpose -ASEPNewsletter
Editorial Policy
Submitted Papers


Licensure Update June 2003
Matt Wattles, MS

THE NEED FOR LICENSURE of the exercise physiologist again comes to the forefront of the profession.  I have stated it many times in the past, the profession will not move forward until we obtain licensure!  Licensure of the exercise physiologist must come from ASEP affiliated state associations as ASEP is the only governing body exclusive to the exercise physiologist.  Can exercise physiologists learn from there failures?  Many times in the past, exercise physiologists (not represented by ASEP) have tried to obtain licensure from individual state legislatures and have failed because they could not prove that they were governed by an association exclusive to exercise physiologists.  Again, we are seeing the profession divided and not unified.  I believe that exercise physiologists who are trying to obtain licensure without the support and backing of the ASEP organization are simply not aware of the issues.  As history has demonstrated in the past, these attempts will fail.  At this time, I feel it is necessary to revisit the need for an exercise physiology licensure bill and exactly how we will eventually obtain state licensure. 

The profession of Exercise Physiology has grown tremendously in the last decade. Exercise physiology, in general, has moved from a research-oriented profession to a profession that provides medically monitored exercise in the management of diseases and maintenance of healthy populations. Exercise is the major intervention component of this profession, but is certainly not the only component emphasized in the training related to or application used an Exercise Physiologist.  Due to the development of the profession into a diverse field of intervention in the management of all aspects of health and wellness, it is necessary to specify and differentiate the qualifications necessary to the profession of Exercise Physiology.

Due to the lack of legal and professional standards in the field of Exercise Physiology, other professions (physical therapy, nursing, and athletic training, and respiratory therapy) and individuals with little or no educational preparation are practicing in public and healthcare settings. Interest in developing some type of regulation is due to the expansion of clinical practice related to populations serviced and the expanding medical technology used in the medical profession today.  The term “exercise physiologist” has come to be applied as a universal term to numerous fragments and tangent practices in the field. 

The cost savings to society that exercise therapy provides is immense.  Compressed convalescence time decreases short-term disability needs.  Improved physical retraining returns people to work who would otherwise have been permanently disabled.  Reduced incidence of and early detection of reoccurring or chronic disease lessens medical expenses over the long term.  The resources required to provide exercise therapy are next to nothing when compared to the costs involved for interventions like by-pass surgery, angioplasty and hospitalization.  Exercise therapy is cost effective and provides positive health outcomes for the nation’s leading chronic diseases.

Today, the costs of medical treatment continue to skyrocket and those who pay these expenses understandably try to limit these expenditures.  In an effort to control cost, some payers have gone as far as denying payment for prescribed services.  One such alarming trend is to deny payment for exercise therapy on the grounds that “the 'therapy' was not provided by a licensed therapist.”  Should this happen with any kind of regularity, cost effective programs would soon begin to disappear.  The end result would be poorer patient outcomes and dramatically increased medical costs associated with more hospitalizations and surgeries.  Licensure of exercise physiologists will, therefore, provide for continued, quality, cost effective care for appropriate patients (while at the same time protecting the medical consumer from fraudulent or unqualified care givers who may provide injurious or even potentially deadly treatment).

Today’s student of exercise physiology undertakes a challenging curriculum of study, including courses such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and various medical classes.  Yet, there are those who would capitalize on the hard work of these professionals, claiming expertise where they have none and valid credentials which, under closer inspection, reflect at best a weekend seminar and an application fee.  There are currently over 200 organizations that certify exercise professionals.  This creates an issue of public safety because there is no guarantee that the exercise professional is truly qualified.  There are also those who feel that because of their professional training, which may include some overlap with the Exercise Physiologist, they are qualified to provide the quality of medical care.  Interestingly, at times, this may be true but more often it is not true.  Clearly, for the sake of quality patient care, some form of regulation needs to be imposed.

It is stated that the profession of Exercise Physiology should have uniform preparation to guarantee the quality and continuity of care.  The professional progression and emphasis of care should include a wide spectrum of patient populations and guarantee the highest standards possible in educational background and practical application.  It is also noted that exercise is the primary intervention technique employed in the profession of exercise physiology.  The field has developed to a point where the exercise physiologist must be prepared through a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum.  Exercise therapy requires a strong emphasis in disease prevention and management strategies as well as patient education.

There are specific steps necessary before ASEP state associations may precede with licensure.  A Federal report entitled “A Proposal for Credentialing Health Manpower” (1977) recommends six criteria should be used by state legislators to determine if a licensing bill is worthy of proceeding through the legislative process.  The six criteria are:

1. The unregulated practice of an occupation will harm or endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the potential for harm is recognizable and not remote or dependent upon tenuous arguments.
2. The practice of an occupation requires a high degree of skill, knowledge, and training, and the public requires assurances of initial skill and continuing occupational competence.
3. The functions and responsibilities of the practitioner require independent judgment and the members of the occupational group practice independently.
4. The scope of practice of an occupation is distinguishable from other licensed and unlicensed occupations.
5. The economic impact on the public by regulating this group is justified. 
6. There are no adequate alternatives to regulation (i.e., statutory certification or registration) that will protect the public.
The licensure committee will be working this summer on each of these steps.  The immediate goal of the committee is to create an in-depth licensure bill.  Then, with each area addressed, we will be ready to move forward with licensure.  I believe if we can learn from past then we can be triumphant in the future.  Exercise physiologists who can not learn from the past will continue to make the same mistakes of the past and be doomed to fail. 


American Society of Exercise Physiologists
2003 Dues Renewal Notice

ASEP membership is on a calendar year basis (Jan – Dec).  Renew now to continue your membership through December 31, 2003.  Remittance of the full amount of member dues for your category will serve as verification that you continue to be eligible for that membership status.

1. Professional Member ($70)
2. Certified Professional Member ($60) Note: this means EPC
3. Affiliate Member ($85)
4. International Member ($60)
5. Student Member ($40)
6. Sustaining Member ($160)
7. Fellow Member ($70)
Only U.S. funds will be accepted.  Make all checks payable to either ASEP or the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.  Please mail the check to the following address:
 ASEP National Office
 c/o Dr. Boone
 Department of Exercise Physiology
 The College of St. Scholastica
 1200 Kenwood Ave
 Duluth, MN 55811
The American Society of Exercise Physiologists is the professional organization of exercise physiologists.  If you need assistance or have questions about your membership, please call the ASEP National Office (218) 723-6297.

Please make any changes in name, address, email address, or membership information when sending your check to the National Office.  Be sure to renew as early as possible to continue all of your membership benefits.

Visit the new ASEP Web Site ( for the news about Board Certification of exercise physiologists. or academic accreditation of undergraduate programs.  Note: This will remain active for an undetermined period of time. 

Purpose of the ASEPNewsletter
This monthly newsletter is designed to update the members of the ASEP organization and the general public on the current events regarding ASEP.  The newsletter will contain actions recently taken by the Board of Directors as well as any recent information, decisions, and future goals of ASEP.  There will be featured updates from the chairpersons of the leading ASEP committees, news briefs regarding the recent advances in the professional development of exercise physiology and guest editorials.  If you would like to contribute to this newsletter or if you are just looking for general information regarding ASEP, feel free to contact me at the following e-mail address.  Also, don't forget to sign up for the "ASEP E-mail Updates" of this newsletter. 

Editorial Policy
The ASEPNewsletter is not a refereed newsletter.  Newsletters are open-ended so as to present a diverse set of opinions.  The papers in the each issue are concerned with issues and topics that have a bearing on the professionalization of exercise physiology.  As Editor, I especially welcome articles that critically address specific features of ASEP and its efforts to develop exercise physiology.  Views that support ASEP's vision, goals, and objectives as well as views that do not provide valuable lessons for our readers. 

Submitted Papers
Submitted papers should be unpublished and non-copyrighted.  Submission of a paper will imply that it contains original unpublished work and is not submitted for publication elsewhere.  The Editor will pursue a policy of timely and meaningful review of each paper.  After the paper is accepted, the author(s) must provide the paper's final version in an electronic file on a diskette.  The paper should follow the example of published articles in the ASEPNewsletter.  The text format is flexible (regarding center headings, side flush headings, and so forth).  The reference style should conform to the style presently used in the JEPonline.

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