The Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program prepares students to be eligible for the Certified Exercise Specialist examination through the American College of Sports Medicine, and puts them on the path toward completing education required to take the registered dietitian/nutritionist examination through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


The ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist® (ACSM CES) is a healthcare professional certified by ACSM to deliver a variety of exercise assessment, training, rehabilitation, risk factor identification, and lifestyle management services to individuals with or at risk for cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic disease(s).

ACSM logo imageThese services are typically delivered in cardiovascular/pulmonary rehabilitation programs, physicians' offices, or medical fitness centers. The clinical exercise specialist (CES) is also qualified to provide exercise-related consulting for research, public health, and other clinical and non-clinical services and programs.

Students will have a strong foundation in the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for the CES academic competencies specified by the American College of Sports Medicine. Students completing an approved clinical internship will have a minimum of 600 hours of practical experience in a clinical exercise program and will be eligible to take the exam for certification as an CES after completing this degree.

Student Assessment

Assessment of student achievement in the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program will be determined by the following knowledge, skills and abilities as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine:

  • Knowledge competencies in core scientific content and its application to exercise physiology and metabolism: chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, human nutrition, nutritional physiology and metabolism, exercise physiology, human development, human behavior and psychology, exercise programming, electrocardiography, biomechanical analyses, pathophysiology of certain diseases.
  • Skills in critical thinking, professional ethics, client interaction, client education and resources (e.g., software, technology, equipment use/calibration/ maintenance), management, marketing, exercise assessment and prescription, and emergency procedures during exercise testing and program supervision.
  • Ability to describe normal and abnormal physiological and metabolic indices in resting and exercising persons.
  • Ability to discuss the use and limits of informed consent and medical clearance.
  • Ability to measure and assess physiological responses to exercise.
  • Ability to counsel for lifestyle management, recommend and modify exercise prescription for all ages and various diseases/conditions (e.g., cardiopulmonary disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndromes, arthritis, hypertension, chronic pain, cancer, etc.).
  • Ability to identify risk factors and provide recommendations for contraindicative factors to exercise.
  • Ability to demonstrate specific leadership techniques appropriate for working with participants of all ages, educate clients about mechanisms by which exercise may assist in the prevention or rehabilitation of various diseases.
  • Ability to describe specific strategies to encourage the initiation and adherence to healthy exercise and nutrition strategies and return to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the need for psychosocial consultation and referral of individuals who exhibit signs of psychological distress.


A registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) is a highly trained food and nutrition expert who has met stringent academic and professional requirements, including:

  • Bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' (AND) Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Complete an accredited, supervised, six- to 12-month experiential practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or food service corporation.
  • Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

academy of nutrition and dietetics logo


Some RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support, and diabetes education.

General Dietetics Program Alumni Information

If you are interested in applying to take the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) exam, refer to Ms. Peggy Anderson at the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), panderson@eatright.org, or 312-899-0040 ext 4764 .

Because our General Dietetic Program program is now closed, we can no longer fill out the DTR application; however, you are still eligible to apply and CDR will fill out the necessary paperwork. (We continue to offer other dietetics training programs in Spokane.)


NEP Office
IWB 306