As a fitness professional, you will likely come across many clients that have one or more health conditions–the type of health conditions where strict protocols and safety are of the utmost importance. These clients are often the type of clients that need your exercise expertise the most. But, are you prepared to help them?

There is a unique role in the fitness industry with fitness professionals who have the knowledge and skills in their job description to safely work with these types of clients. The role we are referring to is a Medical Exercise Specialist. 

If you’re looking for ways to expand your knowledge and support your clientele, keep reading. We’ll explore what this role does and what you can expect from Medical Exercise Specialist salary ranges so that you can determine if this should be the next step in your career.

What Is A Medical Exercise Specialist?

When a doctor diagnoses a client with one or more health conditions, it’s common for the doctor to recommend that the client increase their physical activity and change their eating habits to improve their condition(s). However, many clients with one or more health conditions require unique modifications, safety protocols, or specific attention to detail regarding their exercise routines. 

In addition, many doctors don’t have the knowledge of fitness trainers or time to create the specific exercise prescription the client needs–this is where a Medical Exercise Specialist comes in! Using guidelines from the client’s medical professional (doctor, physical therapist, etc.), the Medical Exercise Specialist can build an exercise program that is safe and effective for the client. 

Medical Exercise Specialists have many of the same skills as Certified Personal Trainers. However, Medical Exercise Specialists take fitness training a step further than a personal trainer would with their knowledge and ability to work closely with a client’s medical professional to design safe exercise programming for clients with various medical conditions. 

Because of this, a Medical Exercise Specialist is a vital profession that plays a crucial part in bridging the gap between the medical world and the fitness world. 

What Type Of Clients Do Medical Exercise Specialists Work With?

Medical Exercise Specialists can work with a variety of different types of clients and health conditions. They may help provide exercise programming for clients with metabolic conditions, neurological issues, musculoskeletal concerns, cardiovascular problems, or other types of chronic disease. 

Fitness professionals that work as Medical Exercise Specialists have a strong foundation in how different health conditions affect the body and how that, in turn, affects the body during exercise. They pay close attention to detail when tracking client progress and have the ability to identify warning signs associated with the client’s condition. 

In addition, Medical Exercise Specialists can perform a variety of different types of client assessments and have a strong understanding of which assessments are best suited for the client and their condition. 

Throughout the entire process, a Medical Exercise Specialist stays in close communication with the client’s medical professional.  It’s one of those unique roles that only a degree in exercise science can fully prepare you for.

What Is The Salary Range For A Medical Exercise Specialist?

According to, the average annual salary for a Medical Exercise Specialist is over $44,000 (which equates to a little over $21 per hour). However, the average salary range for a Medical Exercise Specialist can be anywhere from a starting salary of $19,500 to $91,000 per year (1). 

When navigating this data, it’s essential to keep in mind that there are several factors that can affect the annual salary of a Medical Exercise Specialist. Things like location, experience, and hours worked can all play a role in their actual salary figures. 

5 Tips To Make More Money In Medical Exercise

Although we’ve shared some of the labor statistics associated with the potential salary range for a Medical Exercise Specialist, there are many factors that can impact what a Medical Exercise Specialist actually makes. The following list includes a few things you’ll want to consider as a Medical Exercise Specialist to help increase your income. 

1. Consider Your Location (city/state)

Although location isn’t always something that can be easily changed, it is true that different states, and sometimes changing cities, can provide different salary ranges for the same profession. So, if you’re interested in increasing your income, you may want to explore how salary ranges for a Medical Exercise Specialist vary from state to state. However, when exploring salary info by location, it’s essential to keep in mind the cost of living in that location as well.

According to, the following are a few of the highest paying locations for Medical Exercise Specialist roles in the United States:

  • Lakes, AK
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Green River, WY(1)
2. Advance Your Skills

It’s common in the fitness industry (and many other industries) to be able to charge more for your services when you advance your education and skills. Obtaining a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree will likely increase salary figures. Often, the more specialized you become in a particular niche, the more you can charge for your services. 

A few examples of roles that may require additional education and skills but are potential progressions from a Medical Exercise Specialist are:

  • Assistant Cardiac Physiologist
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Director (1)

3. Consider The Type Of Facility You Work For

Different facilities may offer different salary ranges for the same role as a Medical Exercise Specialist. However, a salary increase could also mean an increase in workload or responsibilities. So, it’s essential to look at each role comprehensively when trying to select the appropriate facility for you. 

4. Consider Other Avenues In Your Field

Helping clients is the core of what a Medical Exercise Specialist does. But, there may be other ways for a Medical Exercise Specialist to make money helping clients or other professionals in the field. 

A Medical Exercise Specialist could increase their income with different job opportunities that pay more or “side hustles” that allow them to use their skills to bring in additional income. 

For example, with the proper education and work experience, you may want to consider teaching other Medical Exercise Specialists or creating courses to help them expand their knowledge and skills. You could also choose to use your expertise to write or edit content specific to the field of Medical Exercise Specialists in your free time. 

5. More Experience

Much like additional education, gaining experience is another way to help increase your income. Although additional experience often comes with time, it doesn’t have to. Suppose you have the opportunity to help unique clients, work with specialized equipment, or shadow top professionals. In that case, those are ideal ways to gain additional experience that could have a positive impact on your income. 

Helping others lead a healthier and longer life is a rewarding career. This is regardless of whether you choose to become a Medical Exercise Specialist or enter one of the other careers. Choosing a job in health and wellness will get you some (if not all) of these perks:

  • The ability to take your own fitness to the next level
  • Learn about something you love
  • Help others make major, healthy life changes
  • Increase someone’s lifespan
  • Feel good about going to work each day

As you can see, it’s pretty enticing to learn more about this type of study. Lionel University provides exercise science degree programs that can help you land a job in medical exercise. You can earn an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree at Lionel. What’s even better is, included in your program, you’ll earn a personal training certification and other fitness certifications and specializations early on. This makes it easy for you to earn a living in the fitness space and test the waters. You’ll be able to figure out exactly what your long-term career goals are in medical fitness. 

Find out why other students choose Lionel and love it. You can get financial aid to make it an easier transition. And, the courses are all online. This means you can earn your degree from home, and on your own time. It’s the best way to learn when you get to choose. Furthermore, the reputation of Lionel is elite. The founders of Lionel are pioneers in the fitness space and have prestigious backgrounds. This means you’ll be learning from the best and most respected program available.


  1. (2022, Feb. 20). Medical Exercise Specialist Salary. Accessed 2022. Feb. 27.