Kinesiotherapists promote a persons' overall physical health through movement and exercise. The career requires a bachelor's degree, as well as at least 1,000 internship hours.
Kinesiotherapists use exercise and education to help their clients improve physical function after illness or injury. They must complete a 4 to 5-year kinesiotherapy program that requires extensive clinical internships. These clinical experiences can include orthopedic care, psychological care and wellness/fitness. No state requires licensure, but many kinesiotherapists obtain professional certification by meeting education requirements and passing an examination.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in kinesiotherapy from an accredited program|
|Additional Requirements||Professional licensure may be required in some states; certification available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||11% for exercise physiologists *|
|Median Salary (2015)||$47,010 for exercise physiologists*|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Kinesiotherapists work with clients who need assistance regaining body strength, mobility and flexibility after a debilitating illness, injury or other medical condition. The American Kinesiotherapy Association (AKTA) notes that kinesiotherapy often begins after a client completes physical therapy, which helps with the transition between treatment in the acute stages of a condition and full recovery. These professionals may work in rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare environments.
Students who want to become a kinesiotherapist should apply to a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP). Accredited kinesiotherapy programs generally last at least 128 semester hours or 4-5 years. Students are also expected to complete at least 1,000 internship hours under the supervision of a registered kinesiotherapist. Kinesiotherapy programs may be a specialization of a broader academic major, such as kinesiology, exercise science or human performance.
According to the AKTA website, the curriculum of a program suitable for prospective kinesiotherapists will include human anatomy, growth and development, therapeutic exercise, introductory kinesiotherapy, kinesiology, psychology and other required courses. Programs should also include a first aid or CPR certification course, which may be required by schools or internship sites in order to work with patients.
Certification and Licensure
As recently as 2012, there were not any states that had licensing requirements for kinesiotherapists; however, professional certification is available. Kinesiotherapists can earn the Registered Kinesiotherapist (RKT) credential by completing the educational and internship requirements established by the AKTA as well as passing a national certification examination. Obtaining the RKT credential can help enhance employment prospects and capability in this profession.
Prospective kinesiotherapists need to go to a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP). Once the requirements are met, a further internship is required. Special certifications are also available which can boost the chances of getting a desirable position. Job growth, according to the BLS, is promising at 11% between 2014-2024.