17 Physiology Major Careers (Salaries and Primary Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A physiology degree is a big step in establishing a foundation for a career in medicine, science, or academia. Aside from improving your career prospects, a physiology major develops your analytical skills, critical thinking, laboratory abilities, and general communication. Knowing the various careers available to you when you have a physiology major is also important, as it can help you streamline your learning and better prepare for a career that suits your interests and skill set. In this article, we list 17 physiology major careers, share the primary duties and national average salary of each role, and list the various work environments in this field.

17 physiology major careers and their primary duties

Here are 17 physiology major careers, including their primary duties and the national average salary for each role:

1. Paramedic

National average salary: $48,698 per year

Primary duties: A paramedic is a medical professional, commonly known as a first responder, who responds to emergencies and provides emergency medical care to any injured persons on the scene. They also transport these patients to the closest hospital or medical facility, keeping their health as stable as possible and communicating their health status to the doctors upon arrival. Paramedics usually work in groups and rotate the duties of driving the ambulance, communicating with nearby hospitals, and stabilizing a patient's health.

2. Medical assistant

National average salary: $50,661 per year

Primary duties: A medical assistant supports doctors in hospitals and other medical facilities. They attend to all patients by taking them to the exam room, checking their vitals, logging their personal information into the hospital's system, and communicating all the patient's symptoms and concerns to the doctor. After the doctor's exam, the medical assistant collects all necessary samples for testing and sends them to the lab.

3. Medical technician

National average salary: $52,657 per year

Primary duties: A medical technician tests all patients' blood, tissue, and fluid samples to determine the presence of bacteria, viruses, or diseases. After testing, they analyze their results, record the data, and then send a report to the patient's doctor. Medical technicians also ensure the medical labs are clean, disinfected, and suitable for testing samples.

Read more: Optician vs. Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist: Differences

4. Medical sales representative

National average salary: $53,763 per year

Primary duties: A medical sales representative supports companies that sell medical equipment and health care supplies and devices. Their primary duty is selling their company's products to doctors and medical facilities. They also speak on behalf of the company to potential customers, present their products, educate potential customers about their products, negotiate sales contracts, and present sales reports to the company.

5. Audiologist

National average salary: $56,536 per year

Primary duties: An audiologist is a medical professional who treats the hearing and balance disorders of patients of all ages. They determine hearing conditions, prescribe medications, and create treatment plans to combat hearing and balance conditions. Audiologists also test people with hearing and balance conditions for hearing aids or cochlear implants and perform the operation to fit the patient with the aid or implant.

6. Kinesiologist

National average salary: $57,162 per year

Primary duties: A kinesiologist works with patients to improve their general physical fitness and achieve certain health and wellness goals. They also treat and prevent physical injuries, problems with motor function, body pain, and sore or torn muscles. Kinesiologists frequently work with athletes, fitness trainers, and elderly people struggling with mobility.

7. Dietician

National average salary: $57,637 per year

Primary duties: A dietician analyzes and alters a patient's diet according to their medical conditions, blood type, or factors affecting their nutrition and body. A dietician's primary goal is to ensure their patients are consuming the right balance of foods to provide the nutrients they need and boost their body's growth, recovery, or performance. Dieticians typically promote a healthy lifestyle by educating people about healthy diets and good eating habits to adopt.

Read more: Kinesiology Degree Jobs and How to Find Them

8. Exercise physiologist

National average salary: $58,492 per year

Primary duties: An exercise physiologist designs exercise programs customized to help each patient achieve their fitness goals. Their overall aim is to improve a patient's physical fitness and overall health. The exercise physiologist assesses each patient's medical history, helps them determine their goals, monitors progress, and makes adjustments to the exercise program where necessary until the patient achieves the goals.

Read more: How to Become a Physiologist

9. Lab technician

National average salary: $65,244 per year

Primary duties: A lab technician collects medical data and performs scientific experiments to test the data. They also maintain all lab equipment, prepare, process, and store samples and specimens, and ensure the lab has stock and a full inventory. These professionals typically report to a technologist who performs all the required testing and monitors the technicians when they perform any testing or important process in the lab.

10. Physical therapist

National average salary: $66,880 per year

Primary duties: A physical therapist helps disabled and injured people improve their physical fitness and regain control and use of their hands, arms, legs, and feet. They design rehabilitation programs for patients trying to regain motor function and exercise plans for patients wishing to improve their physical fitness or eliminate stiffness and body pain. Physical therapists also perform muscle stimulation and body massages to stimulate healing.

11. Biologist

National average salary: $67,572 per year

Primary duties: A biologist studies humans, animals, plants, and the environment in which they interact. They observe these organisms and study their diets, behaviour, and life cycle. Biologists use their research to find solutions to environmental and medical problems, prevent the spread of deadly diseases, and preserve the natural world for the years to come.

12. Forensic technician

National average salary: $68,975 per year

Primary duties: A forensic technician gathers samples from crime scenes, such as fingerprints, blood, hair, and potential other evidence. They analyze them to detect any information that can help the police and authorities solve crimes. If the forensic technician finds any information useful to the police, the technician might present a detailed report of their findings in court proceedings.

Read more: How to Become a Forensic Science Technician in 4 Steps

13. Scientific researcher

National average salary: $74,221 per year

Primary duties: A scientific researcher is primarily laboratory-based and researches new information in almost every field of science. Scientific researchers design and launch many experiments, investigating new phenomena and technology in fields such as pharmacology, meteorology, and medical research. They sometimes perform field work by travelling to collect specimens from scientific phenomena and discoveries.

14. Registered nurse

National average salary: $81,512 per year

Primary duties: A registered nurse helps doctors care for patients in a hospital or medical facility. Their primary duties include performing physical exams, administering medications, monitoring patients, and assisting doctors during medical procedures. They also maintain clear communication with the patients and their families, educating them about their health status and necessary lifestyle changes, and offering them support or additional help.

15. Chiropractor

National average salary: $86,757 per year

Primary duties: A chiropractor uses manual massage techniques and muscle manipulation to treat a patient's body pain, physical discomfort, or healing injuries. They massage the body's soft tissues and nerve spots to relieve tension and pain in the muscles and bones. Chiropractors also recommend exercise routines to improve patients' physical fitness and perform check-ups to monitor patients' progress.

16. Pharmacist

National average salary: $105,456 per year

Primary duties: A pharmacist dispenses medications to people, whether in private practice or hospital department. They help doctors determine the proper dosing for each patient and educate patients about managing their medications and health conditions. Pharmacists also help doctors and scientific researchers understand how different drugs interact and the potential side effects of a drug reaction or combination.

17. Dentist

National average salary: $178,018 per year

Primary duties: A dentist diagnoses and treats all oral conditions and treats patients' teeth, tongue, gum, and mouth conditions and diseases. Dentists also perform and interpret mouth X-rays, prescribe medication, perform cosmetic teeth procedures, and do dental surgery where necessary. Another primary duty of a dentist is monitoring dental development in children and performing treatment on any growth conditions.

Read more: What Does a Dentist Do? (With Job Duties and Requirements)

Workplace options for physiology majors

Here are some possible work environments for physiology majors, depending on their role or career path:

  • biotechnology companies

  • science departments for middle and high schools

  • medical and research departments for the army

  • medical and research departments for the government

  • medical sales companies

  • medical consulting companies

  • fitness facilities

  • private and public health care centres

  • private and government hospitals

  • biotechnology industries

  • medical laboratories

  • pharmaceutical companies

  • medical and scientific research centers

  • scientific publishers

  • university medical schools

Salary figures in this article reflect data listed on Indeed at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

Explore more articles