If we're honest, one of the driving forces in choosing an academic path is to end up with a well paying job. It's natural and sometimes difficult to pinpoint the return of a college degree with potential salary range. There are several ways to estimate salary expectations and Best Medical Degrees uses a variety of sources to determine the anticipated salary for our rankings. Online sources that study employment trends, salaries and future benefit trends, such as The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes Magazine, The Kiplinger Report or PayScale (an online employer salary survey company), all provide good benchmarks to estimate salary expectations; and, take into account geographic locations, employer and employee surveys, estimated inflation and other demographic factors.
What Factors Influence Salary?
Educational level is, by far, the most influential factor of a person's salary. High school diplomas are no longer sufficient to assure a well paying job in most cases. To work in the field of Exercise Science, Health and Wellness, Physiology, Nutrition or Kinesiology, an Associate, Bachelor or Masters degree is frequently required. As always, previous experience will also impact salary expectations for positions above entry-level jobs. Parttime jobs in your field, internships and assistantships will help make your resume more attractive when entering the job market.
Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down salary expectations by state and, often, cities. California, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Arizona report the highest salaries per state in this field, ranging from $57,000-$103,000 annually, with the median salary of around $50,000. Not surprisingly, larger metropolitan areas have the highest employment opportunities for this field, such as, Chicago, New York, Tampa-St.Petersburg, Boston and Atlanta. How far your salary may go to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle will also be influenced by the cost of living in your geographic area. While the salary may be larger in Atlanta, Georgia it costs more to live there than in Macon, Georgia. Often, salaries will reflect the economic landscape of the area in which you work.
Don't Overlook Benefits
Salaries are just one part of overall compensation. Benefits such as paid time off, vacation pay, sick leave, health insurance and retirement benefits (such as 401-k plans or tuition assistance). Factoring in benefits may substantial increase your compensation package and are worth having. Ask questions about the benefits, such as how long do you have to work before the benefits become available (i.e., some employers don't offer benefits until a 90-day employment period. In some cases, benefits may be immediately available).
There are several, varied career tracks available for those with a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science, Physiology, Kinesiology, etc. These careers range from coaches to athletic trainers, nutritionists to rehabilitation specialists, health and wellness directors to health and physical education teachers in secondary and post secondary educational institutions. Below is a cross section of disciplines and salary averages:
$19,449-$70,559 (Excluding collegiate or professional league coaches)
Health and Wellness Directors
Physical Education Teachers
Best Medical Degrees has published a ranking of Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Exercise Science, Wellness and Kinesiology that provides information for online programs that may be helpful as you explore this career.