Salary and Career Info for Kinesiology Majors

Kinesiology is generally a program that combines classroom study with internships and clinical training. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Essential Information

Kinesiology is the study of human body movement. The field of kinesiology includes several disciplines, such as exercise science, physical education and sports management. Students can often choose one of these as an area of concentration. Kinesiology majors may take courses in anatomy, nutrition and health promotion and often learn through internships.

Career Athletic Trainer Physical Therapist Recreational Therapist
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Doctor of Physical Therapy Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements License or certification in most states License in all states Professional certification recommended
Job Growth (2012-22)* 21% 36% 13%
Median Salary (2013)* $42,790 $81,030 $43,180

Career Options

Graduates with kinesiology degrees have a variety of career options available to them. Some jobs can be entered into with a bachelor's degree, while others require master's or doctoral degree studies. Below are descriptions of three jobs for individuals who majored in kinesiology.

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers help to prevent and treat injuries suffered by professional and amateur athletes.

Average Salary and Wages

Because people can choose among a plethora of qualified athletic trainers, the salary of an athletic trainer is highly dependent on experience and location. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for an athletic trainer in 2013 was $42,790.

Career Information

In 2013, athletic trainers held about 22,340 jobs in the United States. The BLS predicted a faster-than-average growth rate for athletic trainer jobs for the 2012-2022 decade of 21%. The job outlook was expected to be especially good for athletic trainers within the healthcare industry, while competition was expected to be much stronger for collegiate and professional sports team positions.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists are rehabilitative professionals; they work with patients who have experienced traumatic or chronic injuries or illnesses to help them regain their range of movement.

Average Salary and Wages

Much like athletic trainers, the pay rate for a physical therapist is dependent on geographical location and experience. The median annual wage for physical therapists was $81,030 in 2013, according to the BLS.

Career Information

The future was expected to be bright for physical therapists, with a BLS-predicted job growth rate of 36% for 2012-2022. While job opportunities are anticipated to be good across all settings, exceptional employment outlooks were predicted in acute hospital, skilled nursing and orthopedic settings, particularly where elderly patients were the primary concern.

Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists treat patients using art, play, dance and music therapy, among other modalities, to help them maintain or recover their physical and social wellness after injuries or illnesses.

Average Salary and Wages

On average, recreational therapists working for hospitals and government agencies earned more than therapists working in nursing or community care facilities. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of a recreational therapist was $43,180 in 2013.

Career Information

Recreational therapists held approximately 18,640 jobs in 2013, about a quarter of which were in nursing care facilities. Other potential areas of employment are hospitals, state agencies and residential care facilities. Job outlook was expected to be favorable from 2012-2022, with a 13% increase in overall employment. Those working in geriatric therapy are expected to have the greatest prospects in the coming years, due to the aging baby boomer population.

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