Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Its students are often the ones who spent their afternoons throwing around a football rather than playing video games, exercise regularly, and eat healthy. As kinesiology students, they will learn about enhancing human health, productivity, and quality of life.
With a degree in kinesiology, they may pursue careers in teaching, coaching, athletic training, allied health, ergonomics, and health and wellness. Kinesiology majors may also decide to pursue professional training opportunities in the applied health sciences, or master’s degrees in kinesiology or pertinent areas such as biological science, sociological science, engineering, and education.
Kinesiology Course Work Basics
While kinesiology is offered as a major at some schools, others house a number of health and kinesiology-related majors, such as exercise and movement science and sport administration, within a department designated specifically for kinesiology studies. Students may also have the option of selecting a track or specialization within kinesiology, such as athletic training, ergonomics, exercise physiology, or sport management. There may be substantial variation in course work among concentrations and specialties, but the best online colleges for kinesiology may offer classes including:
- Exercise Physiology: Students will learn how to design an effective exercise program based on physiological principles.
- Human Anatomy and Physiology: The class will cover the principles of anatomy and physiology, including basic chemistry, cell and tissue studies, and an overview of all the body systems.
- Motor Behavior: This class will cover the concepts, principles, and theories of motor learning applied to movement and physical activity. Students will learn about how humans learn, remember, and perform motor skills.
- Psychology of Sport: Students will learn about personality as it relates to athletic competition, as well as practical and theoretical information as it relates to the psychology of sport. Students will learn about stress, goal setting, leadership, and imagery.
- Biomechanics: This class investigates human movement in sports, the performing arts, and more. Students will explore the physiology of the body’s interaction with the environment, drawing on concepts related to biology and physics.
Undergraduate programs may require internships, and training and research opportunities may also be available. Examples include creating community outreach programs to design and implement physical activity lesson plans for children, or teaching physical education in area schools. Graduate programs in kinesiology may offer both thesis and non-thesis tracks to candidates, and students will gain teaching and clinical experience during their graduate career by working as clinical staff members, laboratory supervisors, or teaching assistants. Their responsibilities may include working one-on-one with individuals, supervising clinical exercise sessions, or teaching group exercise classes.
Careers for the Kinesiology Graduate
Graduates of kinesiology programs are prepared for careers in health and fitness management, coaching, and teaching. A bachelor’s degree lets students work as athletic trainers, and physical education teachers who coach, analyze, and prescribe fitness programs. However, those who want to become physical or occupational therapists may need further certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wages of fitness trainers averaged $36,150 in 2011. Meanwhile, coaches’ yearly earnings averaged $36,350.
A significant number of kinesiology graduates will pursue master’s degrees or doctoral degrees in areas such as biomechanics, motor behavior, motor control/learning, exercise psychology, and health professions including medicine and dentistry. Master’s degrees may allow individuals to pursue advanced positions as clinical directors of hospitals or American College of Sports Medicine-certified fitness directors.