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Kinesiotherapists develop and monitor exercise programs to help people regain muscle strength and function lost due to injury or disease. Some kinesiotherapists focus on specific types of patients or conditions, such as people recovering from injuries or those with degenerative musculoskeletal disease.

Kinesiotherapists know all about anatomy, and how each part of the body works by itself and in conjunction with other body parts. He or she then chooses exercises that will achieve specific strength or mobility enhancing goals, without causing the patient pain or further damage.

For each patient, the kinesiotherapist will:

  • Evaluate the person’s mobility, strength, and endurance
  • Discuss treatment goals
  • Educate the patient about how the body works and what is causing the impairment
  • Develop an appropriate, targeted treatment plan
  • Guide the patient in performing exercises correctly
  • Monitor progress
  • Modify the plan as needed to achieve specific goals

In addition to choosing the right exercises, a successful outcome depends on how well the therapist and patient work together. Building rapport and motivating the patient to do the exercises regularly is a key role of the kinesiotherapist.

Working Conditions

Kinesiotherapists work in every type of health care setting, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports medicine facilities, fitness centers, and private offices. They guide patients through therapeutic exercise, aquatic therapy, learning to walk, using prosthetics/orthotics, and developing a lifelong exercise regimen.

The American Kinesiotherapy Association says starting salaries for registered kinesiotherapists range from $36,000 to $45,000 a year.

Demand for kinesiotherapists is on the rise, because exercise therapy can help patients regain independence, recover from injury and recuperate faster following surgery, which can reduce overall health care costs.

Academic Requirements

Kinesiotherapists study human movement, and how to develop and monitor exercise programs that will promote rehabilitation and regain function. Training programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) confer a four-year bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology, human performance or another approved major.

In addition to mastering the “science and art” of exercise therapy, the kinesiotherapist must have a working knowledge of the types of conditions that can impair movement, and practical first aid skills.

In addition to classroom study, students perform 1,000 hours of clinical work under the supervision of a Registered Kinesiotherapist (RKT). Working with a range of patients who have a variety of diagnoses, students will design and monitor exercise programs appropriate to:

  • Othopaedic Care
  • Neurologic Care
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Care
  • Geriatric Care
  • Psychiatric Care
  • Wellness/Fitness Programs
  • Post-Rehabilitation Programs

Passing the Kinesiotherapy Registration Examination provides certification of the therapist’s knowledge and skills.