All You Need To Know About A Kinesiology Degree
Kinesiology is the study of movement, usually of the human body. It is also commonly referred to as human kinetics. What can you do with a kinesiology degree? Depending on how you focus your studies, you can be anything from a college football coach to a massage therapist.
This article describes three school programs, as well as a list of career possibilities, for people who graduate from high school with the intent of pursuing further education in kinesiology.
Get FREE Tuition Money With Our
'Kinesiology Scholarship Cheat Sheet'
Discover scholarship opportunities to help you get college credits for FREE!
Sciences of Kinesiology
Kinesiology, the study of human and animal physical activity, is made up of various areas of science in which you can focus your studies to build the skills necessary to travel down your desired career path. These sciences include, but are not limited to, ones listed below. You can also click on the links to define and find out more about how you can earn degrees in these specific sciences.
How to Get a Kinesiology Degree
If you are interested in earning a degree in kinesiology, then you should begin by applying to accredited college programs early in your senior year of high school.
During your high school years, focus on subjects like biology and psychology. This will give you a good base of knowledge to work from when you move on to higher areas of study.
If you want to pursue schooling beyond an undergraduate degree, take into consideration both bachelor degree programs and master degree programs when applying to schools.
Don’t stress if you’re not sure about whether you want to attend graduate school to earn your masters and/or doctoral in kinesiology or a related field; you have plenty of time to decide.
Temple University’s Department of Kinesiology offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training for undergraduate students.
In the kinesiology program, students can focus on specific concentrations such as Pre-Health Professions and Exercise and Sport Science.
For graduate students looking to further their education, Temple offers a Master of Science in Kinesiology as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology in which students can focus on specific concentrations such as Psychology of Human Movement as well as Athletic Training.
In addition to talented faculty, Temple University’s newly renovated research labs provide students with excellent hands-on experience in specific concentrations of kinesiology, as well.
Temple has a thriving student life on campus and offers many opportunities for students pursuing both bachelor and master degrees.
Stephen F. Austin State University
Located in Nacogdoches, TX, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Science offers students the opportunity to earn bachelor degrees in everything from kinesiology to physical education for undergraduates.
Graduate students can explore athletic training opportunities or choose to earn a Master of Science in Kinesiology, with courses in everything from exercise physiology to sports nutrition to research and analysis. Students can also gain both clinical and field experience in the university’s Human Performance Lab.
New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University offers a bachelors degree in kinesiology to prepare students to further their education in kinesiology or a related field, such as allied health. Undergraduate students can choose specific concentrations like Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Performance Psychology to enhance their educational experience and better prepare them for the careers they plan to pursue.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association recognize the kinesiology program and requirements at New Mexico State University as an Educationally Recognized Program in Strength and Conditioning, so students’ resumes are particularly impressive with the addition of whatever certifications students decide to complete in addition to their bachelors degree in kinesiology.
Additional Schools & Universities
Other schools and universities with notable Kinesiology programs include:
- UH – University of Houston
- TWU – Texas Women’s University
- UK – University of Kentucky
- UTA – University of Texas Arlington
- UNT – University of Northern Texas
- UTSA – University of Texas At San Antonio
- If you are a US citizen and are considering studying abroad, Canada has a wide variety of universities with graduate and undergraduate kinesiology programs (list here).
Accreditation Programs to Look At
Of course, you don’t want to waste your time and money on this degree if your school won’t be taken seriously by a potential employer. It is vital to make sure that your school has the proper accreditation that you will need in order to succeed.
Accreditation of a program is granted by accrediting agencies, which are recognized by the Department of Education. If you want financial aid, you will only be able to obtain it at an accredited university. Accreditation also usually indicates that the university is maintaining its standards and continuing to advance.
Regional Accrediting Agencies
Accrediting is sectioned into regional and national agencies. A regional agency will generally give higher credibility. These are the accrediting agencies that you will want to see if your university has approval from:
- The Higher Learning Commission
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Admission on Colleges
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Of course, you also need program-specific accreditation. There are no kinesiology study specific accreditation programs, however, there are accrediting groups that are specific to kinesiology and exercises health.
- Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
- The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- The American Kinesiology Association
- The Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (COAES)
- Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
Can You Get An Online Kinesiology Degree?
It is sporadic to find a fully online bachelors kinesiology program versus an offline or mixed degree. This is because the course requirements usually require hands-on experiences such as lab work, residencies, training and other forms of course work that will help get you ready for a career. If you are serious about this field, enrolling in a physical location is your best bet for success. But, there are still some programs such as that of California Baptist University that allow you to get an online bachelors degree in kinesiology.
As far as a master’s degree is concerned, there are many online graduate programs available – such as the one at ATSU – or you can apply for courses that would get you a general certification in the sports, exercise, personal training, or kinesiology field (Certified Health Education Specialist).
Types of Kinesiology Degrees
There are multiple different degree options that you can choose to obtain. Whether you choose the most basic level or take as much schooling as possible, there will be career options for you.
Kinesiology Associate’s Degree
An associate’s degree in kinesiology will provide you with the foundation in anatomy, biology, and basic health. You will take introductory-level courses. Typically, this degree takes two years to complete.
Career options afterward include athletics coach, fitness instructor, physical therapy aide, and personal trainer.
This degree will also give you a jump in to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, if you choose to do so.
Courses associated with an associate’s degree in kinesiology
- Introduction to Exercise Science
- Communication and Coaching
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Nutritional Science
- Introduction to Sports Medicine
Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree
Obviously, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology will delve just a little deeper than the associate’s degree. With this, you will take courses involving science, psychology, and exercise.
You will also study various other subjects, such as nutrition, strength training, and aging. You will also likely have a practicum course, where you gain hands-on experience. You also have the chance to refine your major, whether that be specific to massage therapy or sports management.
Obtaining your bachelor’s is the minimum threshold for becoming certified in kinesiology. This generally takes about four years. You will also need this degree in order to instruct fitness at a retirement center, work in a clinical rehabilitation facility, or becoming a personal trainer for athletics in a school.
Courses associated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology
- Exercise Science
- Sports Psychology
- The Business of Sports
- Health Promotion and Behavioral Science
- The Science of Applied Movement
- Pathology, Injury, and Rehabilitation
- Advanced Biomechanics
- Physical Culture and Sports
Kinesiology Master’s Degree
After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, it will take an additional two years to obtain a master’s degree in kinesiology. This will include more advanced courses, as well as a research thesis in your concentration.
Courses associated with a master’s degree in kinesiology
- Teaching Methodologies
- Athletic Talent Scouting
- Sports, Business, and Ethics
- Sports Management and Administration
- Evidence-Based Sports Medicine
- Occupational Therapy
- Exercise Technology
- The Psychology of Rehabilitation
Once you have your master’s, a PhD will give you the opportunity to perform research in your concentration. This is a four year program, and most of that will be spent in a lab setting. Once you obtain the degree, you will be qualified to work for a private, non-profit, or government research group. You also will be able to teach for a university.
Courses associated with a PhD in kinesiology
- Research Methods
- Applied Research of Movement
- Exercise Psychology
- Healthcare Technology and Administration
- Sports Psychology
- Innovation in Sports Technology
Careers in Kinesiology: What Can You Do With A Kinesiology Degree?
Once you earn your degree in kinesiology, whether a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree, a multitude of career options will become available to you.
Kinesiology degree jobs – entry-level careers
With a bachelors degree and educational experience in kinesiology, you may qualify for one or more of the job positions described here.
Massage therapists soothe muscle aches and pains and relieve muscular tension in clients by putting pressure repeatedly on the affected muscles in slow and strategic motions. Clients see massage therapists for relaxation purposes or to help improve the health of muscular tissue.
It is important that massage therapists become familiar with their clients’ medical histories, as well as any current health issues, to determine the best treatment techniques.
Massage therapists do not necessarily need any higher education aside from becoming licensed within the state, but it is incredibly beneficial to have a degree in kinesiology to demonstrate your understanding of the human muscular system.
Jobs as a massage therapist can earn over $25,000 annually, based on their knowledge and experience.
Aerobics instructors work with various generations, providing exercise routines to help boost physical fitness and health. Instructors also help participants set and achieve goals to improve and maintain healthy lifestyles.
Aerobics instructors can also specialize in specific areas of fitness, such as water aerobics and yoga.
Most organizations and schools require that aerobics instructors possess bachelor degrees in anything from physical fitness to kinesiology, in addition to the required certifications.
Instructors are excellent communicators, highly personable, and very flexible.
Aerobics instructors can earn around $29,000 annually, with room to improve based on education and experience levels.
Entry-level exercise physiologists can assist in performing health assessments and can create exercise programs specifically designed to meet the physical needs of each client. They are particularly personable and hold bachelor degrees in exercise science or kinesiology with a concentration in either area.
Exercise physiologists can also help personal trainers develop routines for their clients.
Entry-level exercise physiologists can earn around $37,000 annually, with room to expand their salary by furthering their education and gaining more experience.
Advanced careers with a degree in kinesiology
Upon gaining more field experience and earning a masters or doctoral degree in kinesiology or related field, you may qualify for one or more of the positions described here.
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Strength and conditioning coaches often work with high school or college sports teams to boost athletic performance, including stamina and endurance. These coaches work side by side with team coaches to ensure athletes are receiving the best possible training. They can possess bachelor degrees in sports management or other related fields with a concentration in kinesiology, but it is recommended that strength and conditioning coaches have a masters degree in their field to help shape exceptional athletes. They possess excellent leadership and communication skills, as well.
Strength and conditioning coaches can earn over $40,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Kinesiologists further explore the science of body movement to better physical performance with day-to-day activities and in the work environment. They often work in rehabilitation centers and collaborate with physical or occupational therapists.
Kinesiologists specializing in research have both a bachelors and masters degree in kinesiology or related field. They are skilled in data collection and analysis, as well.
Kinesiologists can earn over $65,000 annually.
Orthotists assist in the development and implementation of prosthetics to patients in need. They also help create other medical devices necessary for the physical functioning of a wide variety of patients.
They have outstanding problem solving and researching and development skills. More highly-paid orthotists possess master degrees in orthotics or prosthetics in addition to bachelor degrees in anything from kinesiology to orthontics.
Orthotists can earn over $68,000 annually.
Finding Jobs with a Kinesiology Degree Online
Upon completion of your degree in kinesiology, it’s time to go job hunting. One of the great things about earning a degree in kinesiology is that it gives you so many different fields to pursue. You can find kinesiology jobs on Indeed and other job search websites.
Companies that Hire People with Kinesiology Degrees
The links below will help give you a starting point as you begin the job hunt. Good luck!
CarePartners Health Services – located in Asheville, NC; comprehensive rehabilitation center; hires positions for orthotists, physical therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, etc.
Physiotherapy Associates – locations across the U.S.; hires positions for orthotists, various types of physical therapists, rehabilitation aides, etc.
Cape Fear Valley Health System – locations throughout NC; hires positions for exercise physiologists, psychotherapists, clinical educators, etc.
Atrius Health – Boston area; hires positions for exercise physiologists, pulmonary technicians, physicians assistants, etc.
Answering the Question, “What Can You Do With a Kinesiology Degree?”
Entry Level Jobs with Kinesiology Degree:
- Massage Therapist
- Aerobics Instructor
- Exercise Physiologist
- More from Indeed
Advanced Careers with Kinesiology Degree:
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- More from Indeed
Salary with a Kinesiology Degree:
- $25,000 – $65,000+ depending on experience, level of education, job title, industry, location, practice, and more.
Kinesiology Major Requirements
Kinesiology is a very in-depth major that covers a variety of sciences. Make sure you find a school that offers excellent educational opportunities in the field of kinesiology to boost your chances of landing the career that’s right for you.
Visit colleges and be sure to let them know you are considering majoring (or even minoring) in Kinesiology so they can show you their program and facilities. Below you can find some examples of what you may expect from a notable Kinesiology program.