How to Become a Kinesiotherapist in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a kinesiotherapist. Learn about the education and training that's required for this career, options for earning professional credentials, job growth and potential salary to determine if this career is right for you. Schools offering Kinesiology & Sport Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Kinesiotherapist Do?

A kinesiotherapist is a healthcare professional that works with patients who struggle with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions. Using a holistic approach to overall care, kinesiotherapists strive to improve their patients' physical movement. They may do this through an exercise program that they have determined will work best for the patient. Kinesiotherapists develop the program after reviewing a patient's medical history, performing stress and fitness tests and analyzing results. They monitor a patient's progress and health indicators, and will adjust the program as needed. They also provide health education to their patients and always work to ensure their safety throughout treatment. Refer to the table below for an outline of important information about entering this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Field of Study Exercise science, kinesiotherapy or related field
Certification Registered Kinesiotherapist (RKT) certification is recommended
Key Responsibilities Provide optimal care to patients with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions, assess patients' conditions to develop appropriate treatment plans, document patient progress and participate in outreach programs
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% for exercise physiologists*
Median Salary (2015) $47,010 for all exercise physiologists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Kinesiotherapist?

Kinesiotherapy utilizes a holistic approach to overall care, education and exercise. A kinesiotherapist is a trained healthcare professional that helps increase or repair physical function to patients with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions, such as muscle strains, arthritis or multiple sclerosis.

Step 1: Graduate from a Bachelor's Degree Program

As of 2017, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited three programs specifically in kinesiotherapy (www.caahep.org). You can also find kinesiotherapy training through related programs, such as kinesiology, human performance and exercise science. Your studies will include general education courses, as well as core courses in related areas, such as human anatomy, physiology, first aid, motor performance and therapeutic exercise.

Step 2: Participate in an Internship

Through accredited kinesiotherapy programs, you will complete an internship that consists of a minimum 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. You can also complete your internship after graduation, either on an accredited school campus or approved off-campus location. Your internship will provide kinesiotherapy experience in a variety of disciplines, including neurologic care, geriatric care, pediatric care, post-rehabilitation programs and cardiac rehabilitation.

Step 3: Pass the Registration Examination

The American Kinesiotherapy Association (AKTA) notes that while licensure is not required, obtaining the Registered Kinesiotherapist (RKT) credential is recommended to demonstrate professional competency (www.akta.org). You can pursue this voluntary credential by passing an examination offered under the authority of the Council on Professional Standards for Kinesiotherapy. You can take the written examination after meeting the clinical experience requirement and graduating from a program accredited by the CAAHEP.

Step 4: Acquire Work Experience

As a kinesiotherapist, you could work in a variety of settings, such as in private practice, government and military agencies, medical facilities, universities, hospitals or rehabilitation centers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50% of exercise physiologists earned a median salary between $37,850 and $59,250 in May 2015, which varied based on your employer and job location.

Step 5: Join a Professional Organization

Professional organizations can provide job boards, industry updates, professional networking opportunities, educational programs and advocacy activities. In addition to AKTA, you may also consider professional kinesiology organizations, such as the Touch for Health Kinesiology Association or American Kinesiology Association.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A couple of similar jobs that require a bachelor's degree include athletic trainers and recreational therapists. Athletic trainers work to prevent injury and illness, primarily in athletes. They often attend sporting events and will diagnose and treat any injuries that occur. Recreational therapists use recreational activities, such as drama, games, arts and crafts and aquatics, to improve the overall health of disabled, injured or ill individuals. They will plan, organize and lead the activities or programs designed to increase physical movement, emotional stability and more.

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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