Program ResourcesJob Outlook – Physical Therapist vs. Athletic Trainers and Exercise Physiologists

Those who study kinesiology often go on to become physical therapists. Physical therapists use kinesiology help people in all populations increase or regain physical mobility after an accident or injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career is expected to grow 28 percent by 2026, much higher than average for all other occupations. The BLS credited this increase to the growing geriatric population, as well as to improvements in medical technology that call for more ailments to be treated with physical therapy.

When it comes to salary, pay for this career will vary based on location, experience and other factors, but the BLS reports that the median annual wage for physical therapists in 2016 was $85,400. Those who want to study kinesiology should note, however, that additional education is necessary to become a physical therapist beyond the B.A.

For those who study exercise science: athletic trainers and exercise physiologists can also expect to see job growth by the year 2026 – but less so than physical therapists – at 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively. As more young athletes and their parents become aware of the dangers of sports-related injuries and their implications, the demand for trainers is expected to increase. This demand will be greatest in colleges and universities and where youth sports are played. Salary wise, the BLS reports that in May 2016, the median annual wage for athletic trainers was $45,630. The median annual wage the same year for exercise physiologists was $47,340.