What Can You Do With A Kinesiology Degree?

orthotist jobs with kinesiology degreesAll 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.

Top Career Paths Explained

If you’re considering pursuing a kinesiology degree, you might be wondering what career paths are available in this field. Kinesiology is the study of human movement, and it prepares students to work in various industries, such as fitness instruction, rehabilitation, sports medicine, and research. With such a diverse range of opportunities, it’s essential to explore the various career options that align with your skills and interests.

Many careers can stem from a kinesiology degree, including working for health clinics, fitness centers, high schools, colleges, universities, nursing homes, hospitals, and even rehabilitation centers. These positions may involve helping individuals achieve their fitness goals, assisting patients recovering from injuries, or even working with athletes to enhance their performance.

Aside from these traditional career paths, your skills in kinesiology can also be utilized in other non-conventional areas such as sports psychology, pharmacology, and even sports journalism. As you embark on your journey to earn a kinesiology degree, it’s crucial to research and explore the vast array of career possibilities to determine the one that best suits your aspirations and lifestyle.

Overview of Kinesiology Degree

A kinesiology degree focuses on the study of human movement and its application in health, fitness, and rehabilitation.

There is a strong science focus in kinesiology programs, with the most important science areas studied including:

This degree can be pursued at associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels, providing various career opportunities within the field of sports medicine, fitness instruction, and research.

Courses for an Associate Degree

An associate degree in kinesiology typically covers basic courses that help build a fundamental understanding of the subject. You’ll delve into topics, such as:

These courses not only lay the groundwork for a strong foundation in kinesiology but also give you a taste of the various subject areas you might want to specialize in later.

Courses Associated with a Bachelor’s

A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology offers more in-depth knowledge and builds upon the foundation acquired during an associate degree. At this level, you’ll study more advanced courses, such as:

  • Biomechanics
  • Motor Control and Learning
  • Sports Medicine
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • 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

With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be prepared to pursue various career options, such as an athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, or even use it as a stepping stone to medical school or physician assistant programs.

Remember, the courses offered in kinesiology degree programs may vary depending on the institution you choose to attend. Be sure to research the specific curriculum offered by the schools you’re interested in to ensure they align with your career goals and interests.

Career Options with a Kinesiology Degree

A kinesiology degree opens doors to various career paths in health, fitness, sports, and research. Let’s explore the different opportunities available to you in each subfield.

Health and Fitness Careers

As a kinesiology graduate, you can focus on promoting healthier lifestyles by working as a personal trainer, fitness consultant, or fitness instructor. These professionals help individuals set and achieve personal fitness goals, plan exercise routines, and monitor progress. You can also contribute to communities’ well-being as a nutritionist, educating people about healthy eating habits and assisting clients with meal planning.

Therapy and Rehabilitation Careers

If you’re interested in helping people recover from injuries or manage chronic conditions, consider careers in therapy and rehabilitation. As a physical therapist or occupational therapist, you’ll assist individuals in improving their mobility, strength, and overall function. Another option is to become a massage therapist, providing therapeutic touch to alleviate pain and stress.

Education and Coaching Careers

With a kinesiology degree, you can inspire others to lead active lives as a physical education teacher or athletic coach in schools, colleges, and universities. These roles involve teaching students about the benefits of physical activity, creating inclusive sport environments, and mentoring athletes to develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Sports and Recreation Management Careers

If you’re looking to blend your passion for sport and business, a career in sports management could be ideal. As an athletic director or sports league manager, you’ll oversee sports programs, allocate budgets, and manage staff. Additionally, you can work as a recreational therapist, designing and facilitating activities for people with disabilities or as a community program director, organizing and promoting local sports events.

Research and Science Careers

For those interested in advancing the field of kinesiology, research careers offer the chance to explore exercise science, motor development, and sports performance. By working as a scientist, university professor, or researcher, you can contribute to our understanding of the human body, physical activity, and health through your investigations.

These are just a few of the many exciting career paths available to you with a kinesiology degree. The opportunities are vast, and it’s up to you to choose the one that best aligns with your interests and skills.

Specializations and Advanced Degrees

As a kinesiology graduate, you have the opportunity to specialize in various areas in the field, such as sports medicine, exercise science, coaching, health and wellness, and more. Earning an advanced degree, like a master’s or PhD, can help you to gain additional knowledge and skills, opening the doors to advanced careers within your chosen specialization.

Courses Associated with a Master’s

A master’s degree in kinesiology typically builds upon your undergraduate studies, diving deeper into topics such as biomechanics, exercise physiology, movement science, and sports psychology. 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. Some common courses you might encounter during your master’s studies include:

  • Advanced exercise prescription
  • Sports nutrition
  • Research methods in kinesiology
  • Motor learning and control
  • 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

These courses can help prepare you for advanced roles like strength and conditioning coach, sports scientist, or even as an educator in higher education settings.

Courses Associated with a PhD

If you decide to pursue a PhD in kinesiology, your studies will focus on advanced research and theoretical knowledge. 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 in a PhD program might encompass:

  • Physiological adaptations to exercise
  • Biomechanical modeling
  • Advanced sports psychology
  • Statistics and research design
  • Research Methods
  • Applied Research of Movement
  • Exercise Psychology
  • Healthcare Technology and Administration
  • Sports Psychology
  • Innovation in Sports Technology

A PhD in kinesiology can lead to high-level teaching, research, and leadership roles in academia, healthcare, and industry settings.

Advanced Careers for Kinesiology Graduates

After earning your advanced degree in kinesiology, you may find a wide array of career opportunities available to you:

  • Exercise physiologist: You can work as an exercise physiologist, developing tailored exercise programs and assessments to help clients optimize their health and fitness.
  • Wellness coach: As a wellness coach, you can guide individuals on their journey to improve overall health, focusing on areas like nutrition, fitness, and stress management.
  • Sports medicine: With additional certifications or education, you may find work as a sports medicine professional, treating injuries and creating rehabilitation programs for athletes.
  • Physical or occupational therapist: Additional qualifications, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy or a Master of Occupational Therapy, can lead to careers helping patients recover and regain their daily living abilities.

No matter which area in kinesiology you choose to specialize in or how far you go with your advanced degree, the possibilities for making a difference in the lives of others are endless.

Salary and Job Outlook

Salary Ranges for Kinesiology Graduates

As a kinesiology graduate, your salary can vary widely depending on the specific career you choose. For example, the median annual wage for exercise physiologists was $47,940 in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, some careers in kinesiology, such as athletic directors, earn a national average salary of $63,444 per year according to Indeed.

Salaries can be influenced by factors like experience, industry, and location. Moreover, pursuing an advanced degree can lead to higher-paying positions within the field!

Who Hires Kinesiology Graduates?

Kinesiology graduates can find job opportunities with a wide range of employers, including:

  • Healthcare organizations
  • University and college athletic departments
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Fitness facilities and gyms
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Research institutions

Employers in these fields seek professionals with a strong understanding of human movement and performance for roles in physical therapy, athletic training, research, and more.

The job outlook for kinesiology professionals is generally positive. For example, employment of exercise physiologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the increased emphasis on wellness and preventive care, demand for kinesiology professionals in healthcare and allied health sectors is expected to remain strong.

Education and Certification Requirements

If you decide to pursue a kinesiology degree, you’ll need to make sure you understand the education and certification requirements.

First and foremost, you’ll have to enroll in a college or university that offers a kinesiology program. The curriculum of these programs typically covers subjects such as human anatomy, biology, and psychology. Furthermore, courses in anatomy and physiology, communication, and physical activity play vital roles in your education as well. If you have a passion for fitness, this degree can be an excellent match for your interests and ambitions.

While pursuing your degree, make sure you choose an accredited institution. Accreditation ensures that the program meets specific standards and quality, and employers often value graduates from accredited institutions. Look for programs with accreditation from organizations like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Admission to a kinesiology program usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent, along with competitive SAT scores. Keep in mind that admission requirements may vary from one institution to another, so it’s essential to research and prepare accordingly.

Upon completing your degree, you might want to consider obtaining certifications in specific areas relevant to your career goals. Certifications showcase your skills and competency in a particular subject, making you a more valuable candidate for various positions.

Depending on your desired career path, some certifications you may want to pursue include:

  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)
  • Athletic Trainer Certification
  • Physical Therapy Certification

Remember, each certification comes with its own set of prerequisites and requirements, so research each one thoroughly to understand what’s needed to succeed in your chosen area.

Skills and Knowledge for Success

In your journey with a kinesiology degree, you’ll acquire various skills and knowledge that will open doors to numerous career paths. These skills will help you excel in fields such as medicine, research, coaching, and many other health-related professions. Here are some areas of focus that you’ll likely explore during your studies:

1. Activities and Exercises: You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of various physical activities and exercises that can improve overall mobility, health, and well-being. You can use this knowledge in careers like coaching, personal training, or even physical therapy. The activities you’ll learn about can be catered to different needs and abilities, ensuring that your future clients will receive the most appropriate and beneficial support.

2. Nutrition: Managing proper nutrition plays a crucial role in promoting a healthy lifestyle for individuals. As a kinesiology professional, you’ll be able to provide guidance on nutrition choices and create customized meal plans for those looking to improve their diet and overall health – making you a great asset to nutritionists or dietitians.

3. Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology: Your education in kinesiology will cover essential topics like biomechanics and exercise physiology. With this knowledge, you can help individuals better understand their body’s unique mechanics and movement patterns, enabling them to reach their full potential. These skills are valuable in roles such as sports performance coaches or exercise physiologists.

4. Research Methods: Your degree program will provide you with a solid foundation in research methods, which will come in handy when exploring new developments in health and fitness. With this knowledge, you could join a research team, and contribute to the understanding of human movement while working in academia, or apply your research skills within industries such as sports medicine or fitness product development.

5. Collaboration with Health Professionals: As a kinesiology graduate, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside various health professionals, such as doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. Your expertise in human movement will complement the knowledge of other health experts, leading to a holistic approach to patient care and overall health.

With a kinesiology degree, the skills and knowledge you acquire will provide you with a strong foundation to excel in various careers related to health and wellness. By focusing on these areas of study, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace new opportunities and thrive within your chosen profession.

Where to Study Kinesiology

Temple University

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

If you are a US citizen and are considering studying abroad, Canada has a wide variety of universities with graduate and undergraduate kinesiology programs.

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

Program Accreditation

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?

Online bachelors kinesiology programs are rare, usually they are traditional in person degrees or sometimes mixed. 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 may allow you to get work towardsa bachelors degree in kinesiology online.

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).

7 thoughts on “What Can You Do With A Kinesiology Degree?”

  1. With the fitness and medical industries continue to grow and evolve, my kinesiology degree has opened the doors to unique opportunities that have paved an exciting and fulfilling career. I wouldn’t trade my kinesiology degree for anything! This one degree exposed me to the sciences, arts, and administration … so I could figure out what I ultimately wanted to do in life. For those of you considering this degree, your education can offer many opportunities, regardless of what type of career you are looking for (i.e., entrepreneurial, corporate, scholastic, etc.).

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