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Find Your Fit

While a bachelor’s degree in exercise science can lead you to countless career paths, many John Caroll students set their sights on a terminal professional degree in chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy and allopathic medicine.

At JCU, we put special emphasis on the sanctity of human beings — including their movement and behavior, and ground you in a strong sense of the Jesuit value of personal and professional formation.

Explore career options below and learn how an exercise science degree can help:


Expected growth in employment of chiropractors between 2021 and 20311

Annual median pay for chiropractors in Cleveland, OH2

63% Increase in the number of chiropractors working in the Veterans Affairs Health System (2016-2019)3

What They Do

Chiropractors treat pain, injury and mobility issues and are designated as physician-level providers in most state and federal Medicare programs, and in national health delivery systems such as the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs. Chiropractors focus on diagnosing and preventing disorders of the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

Drug-Free Pain Relief

One of the strongest endorsements of chiropractic medicine comes from the American College of Physicians low back pain guideline which recommends spinal manipulation along with heat, massage, and acupuncture as an alternative to surgery and addictive pain medicines.4

How You Become One

Doctorate of Chiropractic programs usually require 10 trimesters of study (three and one-third years) with emphasis on anatomy, neuroscience, biochemistry and movement science. Technology is changing the way successful Doctor of Chiropractic students learn — with the introduction of anatomical models, and virtual, 3D learning environments.

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annual median pay for PTs6

17% Expected Job Growth from ’21-‘317

#3 Best Healthcare Job8

What They Do

Physical therapists, or PTs, work with injured or ill people to improve their movement and reduce or manage their pain. PTs use various techniques, including exercises, functional movement training, and various therapies to people of all ages and abilities – from professional athletes to geriatric patients. PTs work in private practices, in healthcare groups, for sports teams, in hospitals, and more.

PTs prescribe exercise and movements, provide hands-on care and patient education, and improve overall quality of life.9

How You Become One

After getting a bachelor’s degree, PTs earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.10 Programs include hands-on experience, and culminate with a board certification exam.

How Exercise Science Can Help

In addition to fulfilling all of the prerequisites for PT school, which can be competitive, understanding how the body moves, builds strength and flexibility, and how it uses fuel is the core of a competent PT.

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91% of OTs find their work meaningful11

$89,470 mean annual wage for OTs12

$102,640 mean annual wage for OTs working in home health care services13

14% Expected Job Growth from ’21-‘3114

What They Do

Occupational therapists work with movement to help patients perform everyday life tasks, whether that’s so they can get back to their jobs or so they can be able to live on their own. OTs also work to educate a patient’s families and employers about how to help ensure their patient can best reach their goals and perform the tasks that are required of them. OTs might work with children with disabilities, with workers after an accident, adults with chronic conditions affecting their daily life, or help geriatric patients create functional environments. They work in hospitals, outpatient facilities, children’s health practices, and in geriatric facilities.

How You Become One

OTs need to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Programs are typically two to three years in length and include clinical or hands-on experience hours. In order to practice in the United States, you must pass the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. State licensing requirements are different for each state.

How Exercise Science Can Help

You’ll be ready for OT school with a strong foundation in anatomy, kinesiology, and biology, and exercise science can further help you gain practice working with people with movement needs of every level. You’ll also gain strong perspective in the mental health, barriers to equity, and other issues that may arise in your clients/patients as an OT.

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$121,530 annual median pay for PAs15

28% Expected Job Growth from ’21-‘3116

#2 Best Healthcare Job17

What They Do

Physician assistants (PAs) fill an important need in many medical practices by being able to provide direct patient care in virtually every medical setting, from primary care to areas of specialization. PAs are able to diagnose, treat, and even work with minor procedures. How much responsibility and independence a PA has depends on the state, environment, and team one practices in.

How You Become One

PA school is typically a two- to three-year graduate-level program following undergrad. PAs are often trained under a disease-centered curriculum similar to medical school, and gain many hours of clinical rotations of intensive hands-on experience. Unlike medical school graduates, PAs do not typically have required residency and can begin working right after passing their Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) as a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) and any other state licensure requirements.

How Exercise Science Can Help

Many PAs enjoy the hands-on, direct patient work they do on a regular basis. Exercise science not only provides the scientific foundation and medical understanding required for PA school, it also includes coursework gaining crucial people skills needed for patient relationship building.

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Join the movement

Even if you haven’t officially settled on a future path — whether an immediate career or additional master’s and doctoral-level education, a degree in exercise science gives you the opportunity to pursue many other careers as a science-based expert in this always-moving industry.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  2. | Read article → | Back ↩
  3. National Library of Medicine | Read article → | Back ↩
  4. Harvard Medical School | Read article → | Back ↩
  5. U.S. News & World Report | Read article → | Back ↩
  6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  8. U.S. News & World Report | Read article → | Back ↩
  9. American Physical Therapy Association | Read article → | Back ↩
  10. Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education | Read article → | Back ↩
  11. | Read article → | Back ↩
  12. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  13. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  14. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  15. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  16. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Read article → | Back ↩
  17. U.S. News & World Report | Read article → | Back ↩