Presuming you have an undergraduate degree in the field, obtaining a graduate degree will significantly improve your employment options. The career options for those holding a masters degree in Exercise Science are varied and diverse. We’ve listed five top career options, based on job growth expectations provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means; but, may give you an idea of the broad opportunities available. Best Medical Degrees has published a ranking of Best Online Master’s Degree Programs in Exercise Science, Wellness and Kinesiology that will help you identify accredited programs in this growing field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 23% increase in the need for Athletic Trainers, a much faster than average rate for all occupations. CareerOneStop, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor, suggests that masters prepared trainers make up 24% of Athletic Trainers. A Masters Degree in Athletic Training is a good stepping stone for those who wish to enter a physical therapy degree. Athletic Trainers may work independently; or, find employment in fitness and recreational centers, educational services (consider high school or college sports), hospitals with specialties in recreational therapy or physiatrists’ offices. (Physiatrists specialize in physical rehabilitation).
Exercise Physiologists will enjoy a faster than average 13% employment future if they hold a bachelors degree. Careers may be found as self-employed physiologists working with clients; or, in physician offices, rehabilitation clinics, hospitals and government agencies. CareerOneStop reports that 52% of Exercise Physiologists hold masters degrees and estimates there will be over 17,000 Athletic Trainers working by 2026. Physiologists may find themselves working as weight management consultants, coordinating cardiopulmonary services, directors of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services, health and fitness centers or director of wellness programs.
Educators will be needed in this field to develop educational programs for students interested in Exercise Science degrees. Studies in kinesiology can lead to employment opportunities in higher education, serving as instructors or professors in Health, Education and Physical Education (HPER), training future students in Exercise Science in fields such as sport and fitness management, physical education and training (secondary and post secondary) or sports studies. Requiring an advanced degree, kinesiologists will see a 10% faster than average career growth over the next ten years, with 33% holding master degrees and 44% with doctoral degrees. Colleges, universities, sports centers and professional athletic organizations may be among the career choices.
We often think of nutritionists and dieticians working in schools or hospitals; but nutrition is also a profession with a wide range of career opportunities. Nutritionists specializing in exercise science will see a 15% job growth projection and may find employment in wellness and fitness centers, outpatient clinics or college and university athletic departments.
Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist
Patients recovering from heart attacks or suffering cardiopulmonary diseases, frequently are referred for cardiac rehabilitation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a ten year job growth of 13%, with jobs found in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term and assisted living facilities and some state and local government agencies.