Salary and Career Info for Kinesiology Majors

Aug 20, 2019

Kinesiology is generally a program that combines classroom study with internships and clinical training. Continue reading to find out what you can do with a kinesiology degree as well as the salary for kinesiology jobs.

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Is Kinesiology a Good Major?

A kinesiology major would be ideal for anyone with a passion for physical activity and the biological sciences involved. 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.

What Can You Do with a Kinesiology Degree?

Those with a kinesiology degree are ideal candidates for a career as an athletic trainer, physical therapist or recreational therapist. These are highly trained professionals who help prevent and treat the injuries of athletes, work with patients with chronic injuries or illnesses that affect their range of movement, or help individuals maintain or regain physical wellness after injury or illness.

Kinesiology Majors Jobs

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.

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 (2016-2026)* 23% 28% 7%
Median Salary (2018)* $47,510 $87,930 $47,860

How Much Does a Kinesiologist Make?

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers help to prevent and treat injuries suffered by professional and amateur athletes. 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 2018 was $47,510.

In 2018, athletic trainers held about 26,890 jobs in the United States. The BLS predicted a faster-than-average growth rate for athletic trainer jobs for the 2016-2026 decade of 23%. The job outlook was expected to be especially good for athletic trainers within the healthcare industry, along with sports programs in public secondary schools.

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. 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 $87,930 in 2018, according to the BLS.

The future was expected to be bright for physical therapists, with a BLS-predicted job growth rate of 28% for 2016-2026. 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. 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 $47,860 in 2018.

Recreational therapists held approximately 18,840 jobs in 2018, about a fifth of which were in general medical and surgical hospitals. Other potential areas of employment are nursing care facilities, state agencies and residential care facilities. The job outlook was expected to be favorable from 2016-2026, with a 17% 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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