Kinesiology is the discipline that researches the mechanics of the human body and how movement is used to improve health. Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree holders have a solid understanding of mechanics, physiology, and biology. And they use this to create physical programs that address people’s health concerns and improve their well-being.
If you have a passion for fitness or are seeking opportunities in health sciences, studying Kinesiology may be for you. Graduates can work in various industries, including biomedical, fitness, and sports clientele.
Continue reading to learn more about getting a Kinesiology degree, its course curriculum, and future job outlook.
Overview of Kinesiology Degrees
Why Are Kinesiologists Important?
Lacking physical activity can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or feelings of depression. Additionally, engaging in erroneous physical activity, like over-exercising or exercising incorrectly, can increase the chances of injury. Exercise is especially tricky for people with an illness or who are recovering from physical damage.
Kinesiologists address these risks using their health and exercise knowledge to treat clients. Treatment can take the form of prescribed exercise and activity routines, changes to the diet, and routine evaluations of physical mobility.
Specifically, Kinesiologists do the following for their patients and patrons:
- Conduct regular health assessments to determine someone’s physical outlook.
- Formulate exercise plans taking into consideration a client’s health status and their ultimate goals.
- Designing rehabilitation programs for clients with chronic illness or bodily injury.
- Coordinate with nutritionists to supply diet plans that support the client’s health and activity needs.
Besides working in the medical field, Kinesiology degree holders can work with professional athletes. Among their responsibilities as athletic consultants, Kinesiologists determine the motions that impair an athlete’s performance or cause physical discomfort. Kinesiology professionals prescribe them exercises that mitigate this physical strain. Preventing these severe injuries before manifestation is one of the many ways they help athletes stay in optimal shape.
People who work with Kinesiologists don’t just observe better health outcomes but also gain a better understanding of exercise and its physical impacts. This profession is both valuable in its contribution to others and rewarding for those involved.
A Kinesiology Bachelor’s degree gives graduates the ability to assess the exercise performance of a client accurately and provide science-backed suggestions on improving their mobility.
Since the discipline can be applied to many fitness needs, degree holders have the opportunity to work with a diverse clientele. Professionals can specialize in aiding the sick or launch their careers in the commercial fitness industry.
Compared to non-degree certification holders, Kinesiology professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree have more opportunities. For example, institutions with undergraduate Kinesiology programs offer more professional opportunities since they have a network of professionals from their faculty members. This provides students with immersive learning opportunities such as internships and training. Additionally, a Bachelor’s Degree can give you more credibility, especially in the eyes of potential clients or employers.
A Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree takes 4-5 years to complete. In these years, students learn the fundamentals of resistance training, quantitative biomechanics, and sports medicine. These specialized subjects are supplemented with foundational classes in statistics, psychology, chemistry, and physiology.
It’s important to note that most programs offer specialization in a specific portion of Kinesiology. Common examples include a curriculum focused on Sports Administration or Physical Education.
Getting a Bachelor’s Degree also puts graduates on the path to further education. Pursuing a Master’s Degree in a related health science course or attending medical school are common next steps for Kinesiology students.
What You’ll Learn
Kinesiology students undergo a holistic education to not only equip them with the knowledge expected of an exercise specialist. But also the fundamental skills required for business and industry navigation.
Kinesiology-specific subjects include biomechanics, motor control, psychology of physical activity, management of injuries, and exercise physiology. Of course, these specialized subjects are supported by classes in core science disciplines, such as anatomy, statistics, chemistry, and physics.
Most classes mentioned above come with complementary practical subjects, allowing students to apply their theoretical knowledge. For example, laboratory classes on biomechanics, physiology, and sport science research can be paired with their theoretical counterparts.
Additionally, internship programs provide professional exposure. These courses let students out of the classroom to immerse themselves in their preferred industry, developing their professional aptitude.
Other than the technical parts of the job, Kinesiology programs also equip students with the practical skills required in social business settings. As such, expect oral communication, writing composition, and social history classes.
Field & Career Placement
Kinesiology Professionals can be of service to all types of people. As such, degree holders can break into a broad scope of industries:
- Clinical Practice & Research
Kinesiologists help people recovering from injury or coping with chronic illness to regain motor skills necessary for daily life. As occupational or physical therapists, they provide physical training programs to overcome a patient’s mobility obstacles.
These professionals can also be dedicated to scientific research. Kinesiologists study test subjects, recording the data of their treatment and recovery progress. Their reports and findings can discover new forms of care, medication, and nutrition that contribute to the field of medicine.
Further education is required to start formal work in this industry. Thus, it’s an excellent choice for those who aspire to get a doctorate or medical degree.
- Wellness Industry
Companies, communities, and schools work with health & wellness professionals to improve the health of their populace, leading to boosted morale.
Kinesiology graduates do this by organizing the best recreational activities or nutrition awareness programs that fit the group’s needs. As they influence the community, their members build healthy habits, exercise, and proper diets.
- Professional Sports Industry
Kinesiologists can work directly with professional athletes as strength & conditioning coaches or sports nutritionists, optimizing their client’s performance in their sport.
They can also work on a larger scale of sports. For example, graduates can design varsity programs as university Athletics Directors or work with brands to engage in Sports Marketing.
What is a Kinesiologist?
Overview of Available Licensing
Currently, there is no general license for Kinesiology professionals in the United States. Instead, Bachelor’s Degree holders can attend short certification programs relevant to their targeted careers.
Some professions require certification before practice. But regardless, it is recommended to take one as it can be advantageous for highly competitive job markets.
Here are just a few examples of possible certifications that Kinesiologist graduates can choose from:
- National Strength & Conditioning Association – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS). This certification is best for working with professional athletes to improve their performance. Holders are trusted to conduct a sport-specific assessment and design safe training and conditioning programs.
- American College of Sports Medicine – Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C). Aspiring physiologist about how exercise affects someone’s metabolism, respiratory strength, and muscle density. Certified Exercise Physiologists are qualified to conduct fitness assessments and design programs that cater to their client’s body’s response to exercise.
- National Physical Activity Society – Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (PAPHS). Public Health Specialists foster partnerships with local governments and corporations to establish policies that promote physical activity. In some cases, this can have a national impact.
What Do Kinesiologists Do?
While Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree holders can pursue an endless list of career paths, the medical, sports, and fitness industries are the most popular industries for work.
Here are some of the specific jobs that graduates can follow in each mentioned sector:
Medical Practice. While clinical careers still require additional education, it’s valuable in assisting people and can be very rewarding. Kinesiologists prescribe exercise as a ‘medicine’ for patients who require rehabilitation or need to regain fine motor skills.
- Occupational Therapist
- Sports Medicine Physician
- Research Scientist
- Physical Therapist
Sports Industry. Being a professional athlete is about pushing the limits of a human’s physical ability for competition. Kinesiology professionals help pros by monitoring their exercise and treating injuries.
- Athletic Trainer
- Strength & Conditioning Coach
- Sports Medicine Specialist
Fitness Industry. Unlike the first two categories, the clients in this industry don’t usually have special exercise requirements but want to adopt regular healthy habits. In this case, Kinesiologists give guidance and advice on people’s nutrition and activity.
- Wellness Coordinator
- Recreational Activities Manager
- Fitness Instructor or Consultant
Benefits of an Online Degree in Kinesiology
Many students are now looking into online options for undergraduate degrees. Due to their flexibility in time, cost, and location, online programs allow young adults to pursue other opportunities concurrently without sacrifice.
However, you’ll find that most online Kinesiology programs are offered at the Master’s Level. Thus, aspiring Kinesiology students must know that most undergraduate options will be in traditional face-to-face colleges.
Nonetheless, there are still online options that you can look into. Here’s a list of some online Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degrees:
- University of Louisiana Lafayette
- California Baptist University
- University of North Dakota
- Concordia University – Chicago
Despite the options being limited in number, online degrees are well worth considering due to the following reasons:
- Reduced Costs
One of the most evident benefits of online degree programs is their increased affordability. Since students can attend classes from their homes, there is no additional cost associated with commuting, migrating, or lodging.
Even base tuition fees are lower since schools spend less on necessary facilities like classroom set-ups.
- Greater Flexibility
When classes are asynchronous, balancing coursework with other responsibilities is much less complicated than in traditional schooling. Students are freer to pursue part-time jobs or help out at home to assist their loved ones.
- Global Networking Opportunities
In online programs, it’s common to encounter both students and professors from foreign countries. This diversity provides an opportunity for Kinesiology students to create professional connections with the top teaching talent in the world and international networks with future leaders in the field.
- Personalized Pacing
If you join a completely self-paced Bachelor’s program, you can take as little or as much time as you need to finish. Some people look to fast-track their graduation to quickly join the workforce. In that case, these students can compress their school work into a shorter period.
Others prefer a more relaxed but extended study plan. These students can stretch out their class schedules to a suitable pace.
Undergraduate Kinesiology Program
Length of Programs
A Kinesiology Bachelor’s program in a traditional college usually takes 3-4 years to complete. Within the whole course, students are taking both specialized Kinesiology classes and general education subjects.
In contrast, an online degree may change the length of the program. After completing general education units, the remaining Kinesiology subjects can take only 12-18 months.
If applicants wish to customize the length of their program, they can typically consult their academic directors. From there, you can customize the school’s prescribed class plan to fit your needs better.
Kinesiology encompasses a wide range of scientific concepts. The available subjects may depend on your school and your chosen specialization. Here’s a list of notable courses found in Kinesiology programs and their descriptions:
- Exercise Physiology. During exercise, human bodies change and respond in unique ways. Students learn about metabolic, cardiovascular, and cellular changes in this course due to specific activities and intensities.
- Psychology of Physical Activity. This subject explains how physical activity and psychological wellness affect each other. Exciting topics include the effect of sports on psycho-social development and how we can influence psychological factors to optimize athletic performance.
- Biomechanics. ‘Mechanics’ is a physics branch explaining how certain motions are executed. In biomechanics, this study of movement concerns the human body. Students will learn about the interconnection of muscles, bones, and joints and how they work together to move.
- Motor Learning & Development. In this course, students examine how the repeated practice of a motion turns it into an automatic skill. For example, learning a tennis serve requires significant mental effort at first. Still, it then becomes an instinctual movement after some practice.
- Management of Injuries. Since exercise can cause sudden injury, Kinesiologists must know how to respond to such emergencies. This subject covers CPR & AED certification, wound care, and other accident management practices.
- Sports & Diversity. Sports have a significant social impact on humanity. In this course, students learn about groups historically excluded from sports participation and how it impacted their communities.
Standard Entrance Requirements to Enroll
Application Process / Timeline / Cost
Applying to a Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree program is similar to most college admission procedures. It’s best to start researching your target school’s admissions process at least 18 months before classes begin.
College classes in US colleges begin in August and open their admissions around a year prior. Their application period can end as late as February of the following year, but this can vary based on the school and program.
In most cases, freshman applicants must present a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Programs that ask for standardized test scores usually require an SAT score of 1060 or above or an ACT score of 20 or higher. Sometimes, presenting these scores is optional, but if you believe that your scores reflect your ability as a student, it might be best to include them.
For non-native speakers of English, TOEFL or IELTS results are a requirement. A minimum 520 TOEFL or 6.5 IELTS score is necessary for most instances.
It’s important to note that these grade requirements are not universal, and it’s best to research your chosen school to get the most accurate details.
All first-year applicants must submit their high school transcripts. If a High School diploma is unavailable, GED transcripts can often be used in their place.
Candidates are also asked to submit letters of recommendation from their teachers or school administrators. It is best to prepare 2-3 testimonies that explain your ability and competence as a student.
A personal statement is typically requested for admission into Bachelor’s Degree programs. This testimony is usually supplied through a 650-word essay detailing an applicant’s character. Writing prompts are often included in application kits to help students narrow their discussion.
In other instances, a personal statement is supplied through an interview with one of their admissions officers. Preparing for common questions and crafting answers that show off your personality is best.
Bachelor’s programs don’t require GRE results, as they are used for graduate admissions.
What is the Career Outlook for Kinesiology Students?
Kinesiology Bachelor’s Degree holders make around $55,255 annually, with an average entry-level salary of $28,000/year. Jobs in the industry are expected to increase by 9% by 2031, which is a faster growth rate than in most fields.
Potential Career Paths/Job Titles
Kinesiology graduates have a wide range of career options; here is only a partial list:
- Athletic Trainer – work with athletes of varying levels to provide exercise programs and emergency medical care. They educate athletes on the appropriate training methods that improve their performance and lower the chance of injury.
- Exercise Physiologist – use their knowledge of biomechanics, physiology, and motor learning to help clients attain their health goals. When working with patients with illness, physiologists may recommend exercise programs to help alleviate pain or regain muscle mass.
- Dietitian – works with clients to create diets that respond to their exercise needs. They provide food plans that provide energy and encourage muscle recovery.
- Fitness & Wellness Consultant – encourage larger groups to pay attention to their health outlooks. They create community-based exercise and diet programs for companies or towns that prompt the adoption of better habits.
- Sports Development Officer – work with local governments or schools to encourage participation in sports. Kinesiologists in this industry aim to make sports more accessible, thus leading to a more active lifestyle.
Kinesiology-based careers are not just growing in number but can be incredibly rewarding. If you want to see people gain better physical and mental health outcomes, this may be the program for you.