If you have a passion for healthy living and physical activity, why not promote public wellness and physical education by training to be a coach, teacher, personal trainer, health facility manager, or recreation director.  Or you can prepare for graduate study in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Small class sizes mean lots of hands-on, active learning with professors who take a personal interest in their students’ well being and success.  

Exercise Science is an excellent pre-professional course of study for exercise physiology, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy or other areas of sports medicine. 

Job Outlook

Employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come, in large part, from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did.

Earnings

The median annual wage of physical therapists was $76,310 in May 2010.

Educational Qualifications

Physical therapists are required to have a postgraduate professional degree. Physical therapy programs usually award a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, although a small number award a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree. Doctoral programs typically last three years; MPT programs require two to three years of study. Most programs, either DPT or MPT, require a bachelor’s degree for admission, and many require specific prerequisites, such as anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry.

Physical therapy programs often include courses in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. Physical therapy students also complete clinical rotations, enabling them to gain supervised work experience in areas such as acute care and orthopedic care.

Physical therapists may apply to and complete residency programs after graduation. Residencies last nine months to three years and provide additional training and experience in advanced or specialty areas of care. All states require physical therapists to be licensed. 

Curriculum Guide. To view general education requirements for this major, please visit the catalog.

Careers

A degree from the Kinesiology department prepares you for work in a hospital, school, fitness center, or gymnasium.  It also serves as preparation for graduate education in physical or occupational therapy, exercise physiology, or sports medicine.  Additional certifications offered in connection with degrees in the Kinesiology department increase employment opportunities.

Professions

  • Physical Therapist
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Trainer
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Recreational Director
  • Athletic Administrator
  • Fitness Specialist

39%
Expected employment growth of physical therapists 2010 to 2020

Faculty Profiles

Vesa Naukkarinen, MS

Kinesiology
Associate Professor
Email:

Chad Hutchinson, MS

Kinesiology
Assistant Professor
Email:

Paulino Santos-Andino, Ed.D.

Kinesiology
Assistant Professor and Department Chair
Email:

Request Information