Educated at King's High School in Dunedin, Dr. Carter was a student and a staff member at the School of Physical Education. He then won a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Iowa, where he obtained his Masters and Doctorate degrees. After three further years teaching at Otago he moved to San Diego State University where he was a professor from 1962-92. Currently he is Professor Emeritus at SDSU and continues his research and consulting.
Dr. Carter's research has been focused on the structure and function of athletes and non-athletes, and he is the co-developer of the Heath-Carter Somatotype Method, the most widely used method in body build research. He has published 125 articles and chapters, as well as being author or editor of nine books.
Dr. Carter is a founding member, Honorary Life Member, and Past-President of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. Amongst other honours. Dr. Carter has also received Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Hungarian University of Physical Education in 1998, and from Vrije Universiteit in Brussels in 2005.