Applied Kinesiology Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue that involve applied kinesiology. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and certification information. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Practitioner of Applied Kinesiology Do?

Health practitioners who work in applied kinesiology use the study of the mechanics of human movement to diagnose and treat health problems. Depending on your area of interest within the field of applied kinesiology, you could consider becoming a chiropractor, massage therapist or physical therapist. Careers in this field typically involve working with people in pain, so compassion and patience are important traits to have.

In the table below, learn about career options that put kinesiology studies into practice, including education pathways, licensing requirements and salary expectations.

Chiropractor Massage Therapist Physical Therapist
Degree Required Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree High school diploma or equivalent Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree
Education Field of Study Anatomy
Biology
Anatomy
Physiology
Biology
Anatomy
Physics
Physiology
Licensing/Certification National board exam and state license required License required and administered by most states State license and national board exam required
Key Responsibilities Physically adjust joints; assess gait, posture and other physical attributes; evaluate x-rays and other tests; diagnose injuries or other medical conditions; establish a course of treatment Manipulate muscles through pressure, stretching and other techniques; assess client needs and apply appropriate massage treatments Establish a therapy plan based on medical records and personal assessment; work with families and caretakers on how to help at home; guide patients through treatments and exercises
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17%* 22%* 34%*
Median Salary (2015)* $64,440* $38,040* $84,020*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Applied Kinesiology?

Applied kinesiology is a technique of diagnosing health problems by testing for weakness in muscles and observing posture, strength and range of motion. Those who use this technique believe a relationship exists between weakness in a muscle and a corresponding organ. In finding the weak muscle, they believe they can accurately locate the problematic organ and design a treatment plan. Treatments might involve manual stimulation, relaxation techniques, joint manipulation, changes in nutrition and other methods. According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have shown that applied kinesiology cannot accurately diagnose or treat diseases in human beings (www.cancer.org).

What Careers Might Use Applied Kinesiology?

Chiropractors, naturopaths, physicians, dentists, nutritionists, physical therapists and massage therapists are just some of the professionals who might incorporate applied kinesiology into their practices. If you're looking for a career in which this technique might be used, you could consider becoming a chiropractor. A chiropractor treats problems of the musculoskeletal system by readjusting the spine. Those who practice this profession believe that an unaligned spine can escalate into other health problems.

Massage therapists also work with the muscles of the human body. They use various modalities of massage, such as reflexology and neuromuscular massage, to relieve tension and soothe painful injuries. Physical therapists also might include applied kinesiology in their treatment of patients with medical problems or injuries that limit their movements.

The majority of chiropractors and massage therapists are self-employed, while most physical therapists work in hospitals or the offices of other healthcare professionals.

What Could I Study?

Applied kinesiology typically is studied on the master's level. While you might find a program specifically in applied kinesiology, it also could be offered as a concentration in a program in physical education or a similar field. Courses might include applied sport science, applied exercise physiology, biomechanics and research methodology. You also might take part in an internship or practicum.

In many cases, applied kinesiology training complements training in another field. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), to become a physical therapist, you must earn a master's or doctoral degree from a physical therapy program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy. You also must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination to gain a license (www.bls.gov).

What Might I Earn?

A variety of health and wellness careers can incorporate applied kinesiology, so earnings are diverse. According to the BLS, physical therapists earned a median annual salary of $84,020 in May 2015. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for chiropractors was $64,440 that same year, while massage therapists earned a median salary of $38,040.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in studying the fundamentals of kinesiology, rather than the applications of the field, you could consider becoming a medical scientist and focus your research on the subject. You would need to earn a Ph.D. for a top job in the field. Alternatively, you could get a different job related to human movement, such as a fitness instructor. Fitness instructors work with both individuals and groups to teach them how to do certain types of exercise and to offer general wellness advice about topics like nutrition and motivation. You usually only need to get a high school diploma for this job, but earning professional certifications can improve your job prospects.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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