Occupational Therapy OT

| 13 October 2023

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

Eight Graduate Programs for Kinesiology Majors

physical therapist working with a patient

After completing your bachelor’s program in kinesiology, one of the best things you can do is to pursue an advanced degree. Graduate programs can help you gain knowledge and field expertise and advance your career. 

With more career opportunities comes potentially higher salaries. To qualify for many of the following graduate programs, you will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Kinesiology is an important field within rehab sciences, and it gives you plenty of options for career paths. You can become a physical therapist (PT), an occupational therapist (OT) or work in speech-language pathology (SLP). Kinesiology teaches you about physiology, motor control, sports science and much more. With the right graduate program, focus on a specific field and set yourself up for career success.

Today, you’ll learn about eight different graduate program options if you have a kinesiology background. Discover each field to choose the right graduate program and pursue your passion.

1. Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

A Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) allows you to design custom treatment programs for patients. Occupational therapy (OT) is a field that helps people with physical, cognitive and developmental challenges. When working with patients, you use different adaptive equipment to help people gain or regain their independence. With this degree, you have a rewarding career as you help people improve their quality of life. 

Time to complete: 2–3 years *Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

“I love the fact that OTs tend to work together, no matter what cohort you are in. We are very welcoming of each other, and I love that I can ask anyone in my class or another cohort for help.”
Tally B., MOT Student

2. Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) 

a list of settings you can work in with an OTD

Having a doctorate versus a master’s degree in the field of occupational therapy may pave the way for additional options in your career. In a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program,  you will learn about field leadership and how to make impactful changes through policymaking and advocacy. A doctorate in occupational therapy gives you the expertise you need to work on changes that can help make the world better for those with cognitive and physical challenges. Unlike some doctorate programs, an OTD requires a capstone project rather than a dissertation. 

Time to complete: 2.7 – 3.7 years *Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

3. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

a list of roles you can have with an MSN

Pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)  to open various career opportunities. With this advanced specialization in nursing, become a nurse educator, nurse executive or family nurse practitioner (FNP). An MSN allows you to take on leadership roles as a supervisor or executive. An MSN also opens doors to conduct clinical field research. 

Time to complete: 2 – 3 years, depending on role specialty *Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

4. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

As a physical therapist (PT),you will help injured patients manage and recover from pain. Many people face injuries in sports, by accident or due to unexpected circumstances. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a part of the path to become a licensed physical therapist. There are a variety of physical therapy specialties, such as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), Oncology Specialist or Electrophysiologic Clinical Specialist (ECS).

Time to complete: 2.7 – 4 years *Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

5. Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP)

a list of where you can work after earning a MS-SLP

A Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP) gives you the tools to assist people with complications that affect their speech. Communication obstacles can come from a cleft palate, developmental delays, cognitive challenges and traumatic brain injuries. Patients who receive the help of a speech-language pathologist can gain greater independence and boost their self-confidence.

Time to complete: One year and eight months *Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

6. Master of Public Health (MPH)

Whether you’re interested in becoming a teacher or researcher, you have flexibility when you pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. This path allows you to help communities and participate in public health education. Through education, you may help groups of people plan and implement health campaigns and habits. MPH graduates are valuable when a virus impacts a population as they create policies and investigate its spread.

Time to complete: 2–4 years1

7. Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT)

Athletic trainers work closely with athletes, and a Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) degree may lead to different career paths. Athletic trainers develop rehabilitation programs and prevention methods to help athletes avoid serious injuries. Athletic trainers create plans to help athletes return to their sport or help determine if a return to the sport isn’t an option. When you earn your DAT, you are equipped to lead and influence outcomes in the field of sports medicine.

8. Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)

While a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree involves a more active role in communities, the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) is slightly different. Pursuing an MSPH involves a more behind-the-scenes academic approach to public health. This degree focuses on data collection, analysis studies and research design.

How To Choose the Right Graduate Program

Choosing the right graduate program takes time and introspection. Approach this decision based on your goals and values. Ask yourself the following questions as you decide which program to pursue:

  • What populations do I want to help?
  • What is a typical work schedule?
  • What’s the job market like for careers in this field?
  • Does the annual salary range align with my expected salary?
  • Will this degree get me closer to my goals?

Your values may differ from another kinesiology major considering graduate programs. For some, the ability to earn a high salary is a key factor, and others may want to know they’ll have the freedom to spend time with loved ones. 

Graduate programs require time and money, so one of the best things you can do is research the programs thoroughly and make an informed decision.

Kinesiology Graduate Programs FAQ

We’ve answered some of the most common questions below about pursuing a graduate degree program after earning your kinesiology undergraduate degree.

Should I Pursue a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology?

Whether you want to become a physical therapist or become a speech pathologist, a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology can be useful. 

Is It Worth It to Get a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology?

A kinesiology degree is definitely worth it if you’re interested in a career in occupational therapy, physical therapy, and many other fields in healthcare. Graduate programs for kinesiology majors allow you to pursue a more specific career path.

Is a Degree in Kinesiology Useful?

Absolutely. Kinesiology gives you a wide range of options in the field of healthcare. Apply this degree toward becoming a physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, medical researcher and more.

What Other Majors Are Similar to Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is related to physical therapy majors. Kinesiology teaches you about physiology, motor control and much more in the rehabilitation sciences. 

Earn a Graduate Degree with USAHS

If you’re a kinesiology major looking to pursue a graduate health science degree, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) is here to help. We have helped thousands of future healthcare professionals earn graduate degrees. Whether you’re interested in occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech-language pathology, we have a graduate program for you. 

We offer several health sciences graduate programs that can guide you toward the right career. To get started on your graduate program journey, apply today.

The entry-level occupational therapy master’s degree program at the Dallas, Texas, campus has applied for accreditation and has been granted Candidacy Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its web address is www.acoteonline.org. The program must have a preaccreditation review, complete an on-site evaluation and be granted Accreditation Status before its graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. Note that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.

Students must complete 24 weeks of Level II fieldwork within 24 months following completion of the didactic portion of the program.


  1. Public Health Degrees, “Master’s in Public Health Programs (MPH)”, Public Health Degrees, https://www.publichealthdegrees.org/program/masters/mph/


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