Kinesiotherapist: Job Duties, Career Outlook and Education Prerequisites

Research what it takes to become a kinesiotherapist. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and average salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Kinesiotherapist?

Kinesiotherapists develop exercise programs to enhance the strength, endurance and mobility of individuals who face movement challenges. Their patients may be recovering from chronic diseases or are working to improve things like flexibility or cardiovascular function. Kinesiotherapists typically begin the treatment process by reviewing a patient's medical history, observing the patient and then performing fitness and stress tests to see the patient's current abilities. They will then develop an individualized fitness plan to improve the patient's health. They will monitor progress, adjust the program if needed and measure important health indicators. At all times kinesiotherapists work to ensure the safety of their patients. The following table gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Requirements Bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Key Responsibilities Enhance physical health of individuals with movement challenges due to disease, injury or congenital disorders; know various treatment methods and create individually tailored exercise and education programs
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 11% for exercise physiologists
Average Salary (2015)* $49,740 for exercise physiologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Kinesiotherapist Do?

As a kinesiotherapist, also known as an exercise physiologist, you will work under the direction of a physician to treat the effects of disease, injury and congenital disorders through a combination of exercise and education. You will employ various treatment methods, including therapeutic exercise, ambulation training, geriatric rehabilitation, aquatic therapy, prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation, in-home exercise therapy, psychiatric rehabilitation and driver training. As a registered kinesiotherapist, you can work in public and private hospitals, sports medicine facilities, rehabilitation facilities, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, learning disability centers, schools, colleges, universities, private practices and as an exercise consultant.

What Education Prerequisites Do I Need?

To become a kinesiotherapist you must pass a kinesiotherapy program from a university accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The programs are typically offered at the bachelor's level, take four to five years to complete and require 128 semester hours. You may be required to take basic coursework in human anatomy, exercise physiology, therapeutic exercise, gerontology, kinesiology, neurology, pathology and ethics. Once you have completed a kinesiotherapy program you can take the American Kinesiotherapy Association exam to become a registered kinesiotherapist.

What Is My Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), exercise physiologist jobs were predicted to grow faster than average at 11%, between 2014 and 2024. According to the BLS, the job market for exercise physiologists is competitive. However, the demand for exercise physiologists may increase as hospitals realize the importance of preventive care, exercise and rehabilitation for treating chronic diseases and injuries.

How Much Might I Earn?

As of May 2015, exercise physiologists earned an average annual salary of $49,740, according to the BLS. The majority of these workers earned between $31,540 and $73,840 annually. Most exercise physiologists were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals. College, universities and professional schools was the top-paying industry, with an annual average salary of $77,690.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a couple related alternative career options for those interested in pursuing at least a bachelor's degree. Athletic trainers are similar to exercise physiologists, but typically work with athletes to help prevent, diagnose and treat any injuries in the bones and muscles. Recreational therapists work with injured, ill or disabled patients to try and improve their overall well being. They do this by planning and overseeing therapy programs that utilize recreational activities like aquatics, music, games and more.

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