A kinesiologist cannot work as a physical therapist. However, a bachelor's degree in kinesiology makes him/her eligible for a graduate program in physical therapy.
Kinesiologists focus on the study of body movements, and look for ways to improve the performance of human beings at work, sports, and in daily life. These are professionals who work in areas related to health, fitness, and personal training. Besides this, they work closely with athletes, trainers, orthopedic doctors, and other health care professionals who treat complications related to body movements.
Kinesiologists who have obtained the certification and one or more advanced degrees, and have further professional training such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, or respiratory therapy can expect higher salaries. They can be absorbed in health-related sales and service industry, cardiac rehabilitation centers, post-operation rehabilitation centers, health clubs, hospitals, research institutes, etc. To get higher salaries, they need to specialize in a health-related discipline such as 'workplace health and safety' (ergonomics) or 'disability management', etc. Trained kinesiologists understand how the human musculoskeletal system functions. With knowledge about movement-induced biomechanical and physiological responses and the associated adaptations, kinesiology graduates can help maintain and enhance health, fitness, performance, and quality of life. They can work as personal trainers, fitness consultants, and exercise therapists.
There has been a considerable increase in the demand of kinesiologists in the last few years. Kinesiologists are employed in healthcare centers, corporate offices, athletic teams, spas, resorts, and health clubs. The salary of a kinesiologist depends on various factors, but most importantly, it depends on the industry that you work in, the geographic location, experience, and market demand. The annual median salary of a kinesiologist is $58,000. The following tables enlist the average salary according to these factors:
According to Industry
* Source: Indeed
|Senior Research Assistant||$56k|
|Faculty Physical Education||$91k|
According to Location
*The above figures are as per Indeed, as of May 2015.
In order to become a kinesiologist, one must have a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. High school and post secondary education in subjects like human anatomy, physiology, biomedical engineering, and psychology are preferred, and can help a lot during the graduation years. If you are looking out for larger avenues and great career opportunities in this field, then you can get a master's degree, and enter into the research field. Advanced degrees in this field can accelerate career development. Experience plays an equally important role in career growth. To practice as professionals, you need to obtain a license issued by the state authorities. To obtain national level certification in fields related to massage and therapeutic training, kinesiologists are required to pass the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
The job of a kinesiologist involves understanding the human anatomy (especially the musculoskeletal system), and treating physical injuries related to the bones. Kinesiologists help patients to manage and rehabilitate in case of physical injuries. They demonstrate effective exercising techniques, and help patients overcome the difficulty in movement.
Kinesiologists also work in the field of ergonomics. Ergonomics is the scientific study of the relation of workers with their environment, using biological science. In this field, they help in designing a workplace which is comfortable and conducive for employees to work and move around. They also study the tools used by workers and their impact on the overall health. They help eliminate the pain experienced by patients in rehabilitation, and with the help of physical therapy programs, they help them regain confidence to move around and work. They may work with physiotherapists, and help people recover from bone fractures and other physical injuries. They help people in learning basics of body mechanics. They can devise specific exercise for ailments related to knee and back pain.
Various kinesiologists who continue their professional education, also specialize as chiropractors or physiotherapists. Some years of work experience and expertise in dietetics, naturopathy, occupational therapy, etc., can open doors of further growth, leading to a higher salary.