3 Top Careers in Human Movement & Rehabilitation Science

The field of human movement and rehabilitation science is an extraordinary one. Dedicated to understanding the complex mechanics of how the human body moves, those who work in the field spend their careers making a real and lasting difference in the quality of life of millions of individuals who suffer from injuries, disabilities, or illnesses that impact their ability to perform physical activities.

If you’re considering earning an MS in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science, or pursuing more advanced graduate studies, you likely want to understand the different career options in health sciences available to you after you’ve completed your degree.

Below, we explore three top careers in human movement and rehabilitation science along with salary data to help you better understand the potential ROI that will come from earning a degree. 

What can I do with a Human Movement Science degree?

There are several career opportunities available for individuals who wonder what they can do with a master’s degree in human movement. Careers paths for this field can vary based on specific areas of interest. For professionals interested in working with individuals with disabilities, a degree in human movement creates the perfect trajectory to become physical therapists or rehabilitation counselors. Meanwhile, others might be interested in working with assistive technology to create prosthetics. It’s clear that there are several paths professionals can pursue within this field that give them the opportunity to use their education to work in product development, healthcare, research, and academia to achieve their career goals.

Popular Human Movement Careers

Below, we explore three top careers in human movement and rehabilitation science along with their average salary data to better understand the potential return on investment of earning a rehabilitation science degree.

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Careers in Rehabilitation Services and Science

1. Rehabilitation Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $62,229 per year

Rehabilitation engineers use their understanding of the human body and engineering principles to research, design, and develop technologies to aid individuals with various disabilities or injuries. These assistive technologies aim to empower an individual to reclaim activities of daily life that have either been lost or are increasingly difficult due to injury or disability-related health conditions. At the same time, rehabilitation engineers work to increase the individual’s comfort, reduce the risk of further injury, and generally restore an individual’s mobility.

Developing technologies like these requires an intimate understanding of how human bodies move during activities such as walking, running, writing, and grasping, which often seem deceptively simple but are, in fact, extremely complex. As such, rehabilitation engineers often leverage advanced technologies to track and analyze bodily movements, using that data to inform their designs.

The average rehabilitation engineer earns approximately $62,229 per year or roughly $29.92 per hour. The top 10 percent of all rehabilitation engineers make more than $89,000 each year. These careers are expected to grow roughly 10 percent between 2018 and 2028, adding 11,800 positions to the workforce. These openings will drive demand and may significantly increase pay. 

2. Field Clinical Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $83,000 per year

Field clinical engineers are experts in the design and application of medical devices used in therapeutic procedures and examinations. The day-to-day responsibilities of field clinical engineers typically include setting up, maintaining, calibrating, and running diagnostics on various pieces of equipment and medical devices. 

While they are not limited to working in human movement and rehabilitation science, field clinical engineers play an important role in the field, as it relies so heavily on advanced equipment. For example, both gait laboratories and motion analysis laboratories depend on dozens of different pieces of technology designed to capture and analyze an individual’s unique pattern of movement. If these different pieces of technology are inaccurate or do not work properly, serious issues can occur. 

The average field clinical engineer earns a salary of about $83,731 per year or $40.26 per hour. The top 10 percent of all professionals with this job title earn more than $114,000 each year. Notably, Boston is one of the second highest paying markets for this position; field clinical engineers in Boston earn an average of $93,895 annually. By 2028, it’s expected that demand for field clinical engineers will grow by approximately four percent, which is slightly higher than the average for all occupations.

3. Biomechanical Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $84,000 per year

Biomechanical engineers are intimately involved in the design, development, and upkeep of medical equipment and devices related to the human body. These can include artificial organs, valves, and limbs, as well as other replacements for various body parts. It also includes the equipment and sensors used to identify or diagnose various medical conditions. These professionals are also sometimes referred to as biomedical engineers.

Like both field clinical engineers and rehabilitation engineers, biomechanical engineers play a crucial role in the field of human movement and rehabilitation science, as they work with the technologies that underpin HMS work. Though not all biomechanical engineers work in the rehabilitation space, those that do play a critical role in driving patient outcomes.

The average biomechanical engineer earns a median salary of $84,000 per year or $40.55 per hour. The top 10 percent of all biomedical engineers earn more than $129,000. In Massachusetts, the average biomechanical engineer earns a salary of $100,426. It’s expected that demand for biomechanical engineers will grow by about four percent by 2028. 

Your First Step Into a Career in Rehabilitation Science

Whether you aspire to take on a role as a biomechanical engineer, rehabilitation engineer, field clinical engineer, or another related rehabilitation professional role, a firm understanding of the human body, mathematics, physics, and engineering principles will be required. With this in mind, it’s important to invest in the right degree program to prepare you for your desired role in the rehabilitation field.

While it’s possible to meet the degree requirements to gain an entry-level position in many of the fields discussed above after earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field, graduate degrees such as a Master of Science in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Science are becoming increasingly desired by employers. To meet this requirement, students can also choose a faster alternative to obtain their master’s degree, preparing them to take charge of revolutionary breakthroughs and innovative rehabilitation solutions much sooner than a traditional program. This is especially true in obtaining career opportunities for more senior-level positions, who are more likely to play critical roles in the design and development of new assistive technologies. 

Learn more about the MS in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences as well as the experiential program at Northeastern, and take your first step toward a career in this exciting field today.