Exercise Science Salary and Employment Outlook for 2023

By Published On: May 10, 2023

Education investment in exercise science is a good financial choice in the modern world where exercising is part of our lifestyle. Exercise science is a broad field that you can narrow down to a preferred career, like kinesiologist, exercise physiologist, occupational therapist, or athletic director.

As an exercise science professional, your main responsibilities include maintaining the safety and health of patients and clients. The growing career sector attracts lucrative salaries, along with the rewarding nature of the field it could convince you to register for a bachelor’s or master’s in exercise science.

But how much can you earn from exercise science?

The Median Salary for Exercise Science

The median salary for an exercise science professional in the USA is $59,982 per year, but the average salary is $55,488. However, the career also attracts additional pay of $4,494 per year. Apart from these, a professional can earn bonus cash, tips, commissions, and profit sharing.

Job Growth Statistics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise science and the careers related to this field are experiencing immense growth. An estimated 13% growth in employment opportunities for exercise science will be realized between 2016 and 2026. This means that graduates from exercise science programsl with career specializations like physical therapy have a bright future.

For example, employment opportunities for exercise physiologists are expected to grow by 9% from 2021 to 2031.

Factors That Influence Exercise Science Salaries

Several factors influence the salaries of exercise science professionals. The main factors that determine these salaries include:

Professional Experience

A professional with more years of experience in this field is likely to earn more than one that is new in the practice. This is because more years of experience mean a high level of expertise which attracts high salaries.

If you’re a fresh graduate in this field, expect to start with a lower salary. But with time, your salary will increase as your experience level widens. Your leadership skills and experience can also work to your advantage when determining the best salary range.


Your education level also determines your salary. An exercise scientist with a master’s degree will earn more than a bachelor’s degree holder. However, a professional with a doctorate in physical therapy will make more money than the rest.

So, keep advancing your studies if you want to make more money from this career. You can start with an undergraduate degree, proceed to a master’s, and finish up with a doctorate.


Additionally, your location determines the amount you can earn from this profession. For example, if you’re in New York City, your salary will be higher than in other parts of the country.

You can earn around $70,000 per year in New York. But the exercise science professionals in Texas make a mean of $50,610 while those in California earned an average of $66,380 in 2020.

License and Certification

A license to practice exercise science proves that you’re a certified professional who should earn more. The licensing requirements vary from state to state. You have to complete your continuing education courses every two years.

Many states also require professionals to have additional training to practice, like biology, chemistry, or anatomy. Additionally, you should have the proper certificates from recognized institutions. You can earn your university’s certified personal trainer or exercise physiologist certificate.

You must pass the national examination body’s examination. For example, a physical therapist must do a Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and get a certificate from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Then get another one from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

The Type of Company

Your salary will also depend on the kind of company you’re working for. The larger, established companies pay more than the start-ups. For example, public administration and educational institutions offer huge salaries.

Careers Under Exercise Science

Exercise science is a broad field that offers a wide range of careers. The jobs you can invest in to earn good salaries in this sector include:

Sport Nutritionist

You can become a sports nutritionist and work with various sports teams or professionals worldwide. Nutrition is vital for an individual’s health, so this is a good career opportunity. Sports nutritionists advise sports teams on the right diet to keep them in the right shape.

To become a sports nutritionist, you must train at a recognized institution. Also, have a first training as a dietitian or nutritionist. Then advance your study with a master’s or bachelors of exercise science. The exercise science degree helps professionals enhance their communication skills and improve team cohesion.

Sports nutrition is also a good choice for a student with experience in athletic training, as it helps improve their technical knowledge. With such skills, it’s easier to customize the training and advice for different clients.

Sports Nutritionists Salary and Job Outlook

The median pay for sports nutritionists or dietitians is $61,650. But since the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts career growth in this sector, expect the salaries and opportunities to increase. Expect job opportunities to increase by 7% between 2021 and 2031.

Physical Therapist

You can also become a physical therapist in this competitive sector and earn a good salary. A physical therapist helps clients improve their health through physical activity. The exercises help manage pain and discomfort and increase mobility.

You can become a physical therapist after undergoing an exercise science degree program from a recognized institution. Then opt for a doctorate in physical therapy. But you also need additional education in kinesiology, biology, anatomy, or biology. Also, register for licensing and get all the required certificates according to your state’s codes.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a physical therapist can earn a median of $95,620 per year. But this depends on the location or state of residence.

Employment Outlook

Physical therapists’ jobs are expected to grow by 17% between 2021 and 2031. So more job openings are available and waiting for you to start now.

Strength and Conditioning Coach

A strength and conditioning coach helps athletes during their training. Such professionals also have additional training in exercise medicine, wellness, and kinesiology or physiology. They use their expertise to help athletes realize their potential and achieve their goals without sustaining injuries.

Sports and Conditioning coaches run sports assessments and create customized, safe training plans and measures to prevent injuries. To practice, you need a certificate from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Salary and Job Outlook

A strength and conditioning coach’s average salary ranges between $39,792 to $53,825. But this can increase with more education or experience.


Exercise science also allows you to become a great kinesiologist. This field deals with body mechanics and helps individuals have better physical conditions, mobility, and less pain. As a kinesiologist, you can also work as a physical therapist, exercise physiologist, or rehabilitation specialist.

You must have interpersonal skills, analytical skills, and adaptability to work with clients with varied needs. Remember, each client’s body is unique.

Salary and Job Outlook

Since Kinesiologists are classified as exercise physiologists, their salary range remains the same. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an exercise physiologist is $47,940 per year. This career is expected to grow by 9% between 2021 and 2031.

Athletic Director

Another career under exercise science that attracts good income is athletic director. As an athletic director, you will be responsible for young athletes in an athletic department at an academic institution. An athlete director shapes the lives of young athletes, and they work with coaches to create the budget and manage facilities.

They also create programs and opportunities for those interested in exercise science. To become an athletic director, you must complete your degree program in exercise science or sports management.

But you can advance and complete a master’s or doctorate in exercise science. Additionally, you have to possess good communication and leadership skills. A good vision, work experience, and the right certification from responsible bodies.

Athletic Director Salary and Job Outlook

The median salary of an athletic director is $61,000 per year. But this varies according to experience, educational level, and credentials.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic directors’ careers will grow by 7% between 2021 and 2031. So you’ll have various openings with different requirements and salaries.

Bottom Line of Exercise Science Employment

Exercise science has various job opportunities that attract good salaries. The good thing about exercise science is that it allows you to choose a career you’re passionate about. If you want to enjoy working in this lucrative field, register for an advanced degree in exercise science from Concordia University Chicago.

A graduate from this institution has a high chance of grabbing employment. Getting certificates from this institution proves your commitment to learning the latest techniques for your clients’ benefit and makes you more marketable.

Request Program Information

View Concordia University Chicago Programs

Bachelor’s Programs


Graduate Certificates


Related Articles

Go to Top