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Associate's Degree in Kinesiology

An associate's degree in kinesiology teaches you about physiology and motion, and can prepare you for a career in physical training at a gym or educational institution. Read on to learn more about kinesiology in general, the common course topics, the physical activities involved and career prospects.

What Can I Expect in a Kinesiology Associate's Degree Program?

Kinesiology involves the study of how physiology, psychology, lifestyle and behavioral patterns influence human movement capabilities. In an associate's degree program, you'll receive an introduction to these principles and the theoretical approach to exercise science. You'll also be able to participate in physical exercises to apply your knowledge.

Field Focus Physiology, psychology, lifestyle and behavior
Common Courses Biology, psychology, kinesiology foundations
Online Options None, as this program is based on physical activity
Physical Activities Soccer, weight training, yoga, dance, martial arts
Career Opportunities Fitness instructor, personal trainer
Continuing Education Credits transferable to bachelor's programs, certifications also available
Median Salary (2020) $40,510 (for all fitness trainers & instructors)  
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 15% growth (for all fitness trainers & instructors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What Courses Could I Take?

An associate's degree program in kinesiology teaches you how to apply theoretical knowledge of human body movement to personal fitness programs. With courses in human anatomy, physiology and motion, you learn how the body works, which helps you to develop a range of fitness exercises. Discussions of nutrition and establishing a healthy lifestyle can assist you when consulting with potential clients or teaching students. Your instruction may also include the following courses:

  • Biology
  • Kinesiology foundations
  • Psychology
  • General physics
  • First aid and injuries

Will I Take Activity Courses?

Since it's the study of movement and exercise sciences, kinesiology includes a physical activity component. You'll be able to choose which activity courses you participate in during your 2-year pursuit of an associate's degree in kinesiology. Because of these physical requirements, you'll not be able to complete this degree online. Activities such as dance, soccer, aerobics, yoga, weight training and martial arts may be available.

What Are My Options After Completing My Degree?

With your new degree you can apply for a position as a fitness instructor or personal trainer. Before doing so, you may want to consider a certification program, as many employers prefer their instructors to hold certifications in their line of fitness. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that fitness trainers and instructors can expect an 15% increase in jobs between 2019 and 2029 (www.bls.gov).

Most associate's kinesiology programs are designed for credit transfers to a 4-year university. Continuing your education with a bachelor's degree might present a few more employment opportunities. For example, if you want to work as a coach in educational institutions, you may transfer you kinesiology credits to a bachelor's degree program in physical education.