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What Skills Do I Need for Physiology Jobs?

By T. Carrier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Physiologists study the functions of living organisms. As such, a familiarity with biology and anatomy is essential. Since many physiology careers are research-heavy jobs, proficiency in writing, critical thinking, and laboratory work is also crucial. Further, many specialists — such as exercise physiologists — work closely with patients, so social skills such as a high stress threshold and a pleasant personality will prove helpful as well. These skills can be developed through a combination of advanced physiology degree courses and direct experience attained through internships or similar avenues for physiology jobs.

Physiology and anatomy are invariably linked, as they consider the structures and functions of organisms, respectively. An individual seeking physiology jobs will need a solid working knowledge of organs, organ systems, and the processes that they conduct. On a smaller scale, familiarity with cellular processes is also important. Other scientific focuses might include chemistry and biology. Since scientific experiments often require frequent calculations, prospective physiologists should ideally possess a solid mathematical ability.

Laboratory research is the foundation of most scientific disciplines, including physiology jobs. Proficiency in using laboratory equipment like test tubes and Bunsen burners will thus serve an individual well. In addition, since animal research is a main component of scientific endeavor, an individual should be willing to perform experiments in a humane and ethical manner.

Depending on particular physiology jobs, individuals employed in this discipline may work primarily in a laboratory or may directly treat patients. Aside from the aforementioned strengths, strong research and problem-solving skills are also needed in the physiology laboratory. Workers may submit their studies for consideration in scientific journals, so solid writing skills will likely be invaluable. As scientific reports tend to have a specific format and a high degree of technical writing, familiarity with these aspects should be attained.

While individuals also should possess these skills in more applied forms of physiology jobs, social skills are one of the most important components of applied jobs. Working with various personality types requires an even temperament and a firm but friendly approach to interactions. An exercise physiologist, for example, works with patients to develop physical fitness and nutrition regimens that promote healthy living. These activities require not only collaboration with a wide range of patients, but with various other health care workers as well. Individuals in these fields should therefore possess strong teamwork and interpersonal skills, as well as a high stress threshold and a high energy level for both professional and educational pursuits.

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