Is a Kinesiology Degree Right for You?

Kinesiology, the study of human movement, combines anatomy, physiology, psychology, neuroscience, and biomechanics. It is an ideal undergraduate major for people interested in health, fitness, and sports. Graduates may go on to work at gyms, rehabilitation centers, or schools as personal, fitness, or athletic trainers, helping people to safely and soundly achieve their physical goals. Or, they may continue their studies in a professional program, training for careers in physical therapy, medicine, or occupational therapy. If you are looking for a science-based field with a variety of applications, kinesiology could be a solid choice for you.

Advice for Earning Your Kinesiology Degree Online

Unfortunately, kinesiology bachelor’s degree programs are rarely available in an entirely online format. Kinesiology coursework requires significant lab work in courses like biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy, and human physiology, as well as training in fitness instruction and injury management. Students also need consistent access to gyms, labs, weight rooms, and even outdoor therapeutic pools, which a fully-equipped campus can provide. So once you’re in your search, find out what the on-campus requirements are to find the best online bachelors degree program based on your schedule and learning preferences, as well as find out what the school’s facilities are like for kinesiology students. A hybrid program offering online lectures, but on-campus activities and resources, may be the best option.

Required Courses

Online Kinesiology degree programs may offer generic education courses at a distance, but most lab science courses will require on-campus attendance. Other major classes that focus on training and assessment may also require on-campus participation. Some common required courses include:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Athletic Injuries and Training Procedures
  • Exercise Nutrition
  • Fitness Programming and Exercise Prescription
  • Advanced Athletic Training

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology include:

Fitness Trainers and Instructors

  • Expected Growth: 7%
  • Average Annual Salary: $49,360

Fitness trainers coach individuals and groups in physical exercise, strength training, and stretching. They show them how to properly use equipment, design workout programs, provide nutrition tips, and provide coaching and motivation. These trainers are typically employed by gyms and training centers, though may also work privately as personal trainers at people’s homes. The business can be competitive, and the most knowledgeable and qualified trainers have the best chance of success. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes. Actual salaries can vary greatly based on your experience, education level, certifications, and other factors.

Athletic Trainers

  • Expected Growth: 30%
  • Average Annual Salary: $45,070

If you’ve ever broken your arm, sprained your ankle, or had a stress fracture in your leg, you probably came in contact with an athletic trainer. Though they’re often associated with professional sports teams, athletic trainers work with people of all ages in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries. They work in college and universities, fitness centers, elementary and secondary schools, and physician’s offices. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Massage Therapist

  • Expected Growth: 20%
  • Average Annual Salary: $43,485

Massage therapists help relieve pain, reduce stress, and rehabilitate injuries through the manipulation of muscles and soft tissue. They are usually trained in a number of different massage techniques, or modalities, such as Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage. Massage therapists are employed by fitness centers, chiropractors, hotels, hospitals, spas, and more, or may be self-employed. A bachelor’s degree is not required to become a licensed massage therapist, but degree in kinesiology will make you a more effective and qualified professional in this field. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Health Educator

  • Expected Growth: 37%
  • Average Annual Salary: $54,405

Health educators provide information to the public about various health issues and behaviors, including how to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid related diseases and ailments. They may also provide information about safe exercise and nutrition. They work health care facilities, colleges, public health departments, nonprofits, and private businesses and corporations. A bachelor’s degree is required for most positions, and some will also require the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Sports Coach

  • Expected Growth: 29%
  • Average Annual Salary: $40,050

Coaches with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology often work for intermediate or high school athletic programs, as well as college or even professionals sports teams. They evaluate and train athletes, develop exercises and training programs to improve athletic skill and technique, and evaluate and manage athletic talent. A bachelor’s degree kinesiology is extremely helpful in this field, as exercise and sports science classes are included in most kinesiology curricula. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

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