3 Top Careers in Human Movement & Rehabilitation Science

Industry Advice Healthcare

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 lives 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, you likely want to understand the different career options that will be 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. 

Careers in Rehabilitation Services & Science

1. Rehabilitation Engineer

Average Annual Salary: $77,138 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. 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 $77,138 per year or roughly $37.09 per hour. The top 10 percent of all rehabilitation engineers make more than $128,000 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: $80,000 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 $80,000 per year or $38.49 per hour. The top 10 percent of all professionals with this job title earn more than $107,000 each year. Notably, Boston is one of the highest paying markets for this position; field clinical engineers in Boston earn an average of $83,302 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: $82,000 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 $82,000 per year or $39.56 per hour. The top 10 percent of all biomedical engineers earn more than $106,000. In Massachusetts, the average biomechanical engineer earns a salary of $88,869, which is higher than many other markets. 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 a related 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 education to prepare you for your desired role.

While it is possible 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. This is especially true 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 at Northeastern, and take your first step toward a career in this exciting field today.