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This article describes the masters in rehabilitation science degree program, some of the subjects and courses that the program covers, and why earning a masters in rehabilitation science could help you achieve greater career advancement. It also presents an online masters in rehabilitation science program that you may want to consider enrolling in.
What Is a Masters in Rehabilitation Science?
The masters in rehabilitation science is a degree program designed for those who already have a background in physical therapy or occupational therapy, and who want to have a career that focuses more on research and development in terms of the technologies involved in rehabilitation. Students take part in clinical experiences and lab work, while also learning about research methodologies. Usually, the degree will require a thesis project for completion.
It takes two to five years to complete this degree. Some schools have started to offer the program with some flexibility, through weekend or evening studies, or even online. Schools can set their own admission requirements, but a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and, perhaps, a state license to practice occupational or physical therapy, are often required.
During the program, students usually have to pick a research topic that they are interested in, like functional assessment, stroke treatment, movement science, sports injury management, occupational performance, health promotion and aging, or children’s rehabilitation studies. Often, there is also an emphasis on functional movement, performance, and scientific theories of rehabilitation. Some of the common core courses required as part of the program include:
- Developing effective rehabilitation programs
- Qualitative research methods in the health sciences
- Health assessment and diagnosis for advanced practice therapists
- Occupational performance
- Development of theories in rehabilitation
Why Earn a Masters in Rehabilitation Science?
By earning a masters in rehabilitation science, you have the opportunity to move on to a doctoral degree program. This takes between five and seven years to complete and allows you to become licensed as a physical or occupational therapist, with a focus on rehabilitation science. During a doctoral degree, you will learn about policy implementation, service delivery, research, and academic education.
That said, not everybody wants to move on to the doctorate degree level. Some would be more interested in increasing their overall knowledge on rehabilitation science in general, or a specific area of this science. Completing this degree will enable you to take on greater positions of leadership in the field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that physical therapist assistants and aides had a median salary of $45,290 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the associate’s degree level. Those with a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $79,040 per year or more. The BLS has also estimated that there will be a 40% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average and will translate into some 51,400 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters in Rehabilitation Science
If you are interested in a masters in rehabilitation science, you may want to consider the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science program offered by Lasell College. This program is offered online and is designed for licensed, certified, and/or registered rehabilitation professionals and educators who are interested in expanding their skills and knowledge on teaching, research, administration, and professional practice. The program provides students with an advanced understanding of current issues and trends in movement disorder, exercise, and rehabilitation. While the program is offered online, students take part in active projects and learning opportunities to develop their problem-solving skills and prepare them to take on positions of leadership in educational, clinical practice, or research settings.
Graduates are expected to have advanced knowledge about disabilities and diseases that are linked to rehabilitation science. They are also able to increase the quality of life of those with disabilities, impairments, and functional limitations. The program requires the completion of a capstone project in the field of rehabilitation sciences. Additionally, the degree enables students to build a professional network of professors and classmates.
Lasell College offers the degree program online for greater convenience. This enables students to access the program 24/7, allowing them to complete the degree on a schedule that is not in conflict with their work schedules. Students can choose to complete a Field Experience Course as well, and a 10-day summer residency is also included, allowing students to gain the practical laboratory experience to apply manual therapy.
The curriculum is highly competitive, which has made the program distinctive and unique. In fact, it is the only program of its kind in the northeastern part of the country. Courses focus on areas, such as biomechanics, advanced kinesiology, pharmacology, and pathokinesiology, to name but a few. These classes are delivered by highly qualified faculty practitioners. They have worked together to ensure that the program remains accredited for many years now. The school also offers extensive support services to their students, including online students, such as enrollment counseling, academic advising, and career counseling.
The core curriculum of the degree includes:
- Psychology of Sport, Injury, and Rehabilitation
- Advanced Kinesiology and Biomechanics
- Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment
- Concepts and Application of Manual Therapy
- Evidence Based Rehabilitation
- Rehabilitation Program Design for Humans
- Ethical Issues in Health Care Professions
- Quantitative and Qualitative Research
- Capstone Project
The program requires 30 core credits for completion, as well as six elective credits. Furthermore, for program admission, students must first have completed the following subjects:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Exercise Physiology
Those who graduate from a masters in rehabilitation science have a wealth of career opportunities available to them. Many take on positions of management in health care facilities, while others become researchers to further advance the science. Some of the common career options include:
- Rehabilitation facility director
- Rehabilitation science researcher
- Health care policy advocate
- Occupational therapy program director
- Physical therapy program director
As you can see, completing a masters in rehabilitation science is a great way to advance your career in the field of health care, particularly with regards to physical and occupational therapy. Many use the degree to become researchers, thereby advancing the science as a whole and improving outcomes for those who have physical limitations and require rehabilitation therapy. Obtaining the degree will set you apart as an expert in your field, and you will be in high demand for your advanced skills and knowledge. This is something to take a great deal of personal and professional pride in.
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- Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm
- Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lasell.edu/academics/graduate-and-professional-studies/programs-of-study/master-of-science-in-rehabilitation-science.html