What Is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology is the science of human movement, and it involves study of biology, exercise and athletics. Earning a degree in kinesiology can lead to a variety of job opportunities. To learn more about what types of programs and careers are available in kinesiology, read on. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Kinesiology

Kinesiology involves the study of human movement and brings together a number of different fields, including physiology, neuroscience, fitness and exercise science. Kinesiologists explore how people of different ages and fitness levels use their motor skills. Kinesiology knowledge can be applied to everything from sports management and fitness to physical education and rehabilitation programs for people with diseases, disabilities or injuries.

Important Facts About Kinesiology Education

Online AvailabilityFull coursework online for bachelor's and master's; hybrid programs for doctoral level
PrerequisitesBachelor's degree in kinesiology or coursework in anatomy, physiology and other related subjects may be required for admission to graduate programs
Continuing EducationRequirements vary depending on field; for example, athletic trainers, physical therapists and others in the medical field will likely need continuing education to maintain their license
Similar Fields of StudyAthletic training, exercise physiology, nutrition, motor neuroscience

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Typical programs have you take foundational kinesiology courses followed by specialized career-related courses that are often part of a concentration. Foundation courses may include anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, sports psychology and biomechanics. Some career-oriented concentrations found at the undergraduate level are physical education, pre-physical therapy, sports studies and exercise science.

Master's Degree Programs

Several master's programs in kinesiology are directed toward professional development rather than scholarly research. Following core courses in advanced kinesiology studies, you select electives based on your professional field. Some examples include sport pedagogy, adapted physical activity, rehabilitation and lifetime fitness. Professional internships may be incorporated into your graduate program. These programs typically culminate with a final project, or you may opt to write a thesis.

Doctoral Degree Programs

If you want to pursue research and teaching, you may consider pursuing a Ph.D. program in kinesiology. As a doctoral candidate, you will likely take courses in statistics, research methods and experimental design to support your dissertation research. Doctoral programs typically have concentration options, as well, which may include cognitive motor neuroscience, physical cultural studies, exercise physiology and exercise psychology, among others.

Career Information

Kinesiology leads to several career options in fitness, education, research, rehabilitation, sports and business. Some of the following careers may require additional training:

  • Athletic trainer
  • Sports medicine practitioner
  • Public school teacher
  • Recreation director
  • Coach
  • Sports marketer and promoter
  • Sports media consultant
  • Adapted physical educator
  • Sports manager
  • Physical therapist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides career information for a few of those jobs. For coaches and physical therapists, 6% and 34% job growth is expected between 2014 and 2024, respectively, with 21% growth for athletic trainers. As of 2014, the median annual salary for coaches was $30,640 and that of physical therapists was $82,390. The 2014 median salary for athletic trainers was $43,370.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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