Kinesiology Careers: What You Can Do With This Degree

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Career Options with a Kinesiology Degree

The primary purpose of most kinesiology programs is to prepare you for a wide variety of careers in health, wellness, fitness, and education related fields.


For example, with a kinesiology degree, you will have the foundation to succeed in career fields ranging from personal trainer, athletic therapist, or exercise scientist.



A Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology also serves as great preparation for advanced and professional study in Kinesiology, and complimentary fields such as Medicine, Physiotherapy and Chiropractics.


Because of this, a Kinesiology degree also helps serve as an excellent foundation for health-related careers that require further education and training, such as Physical Therapist, Doctor and Chiropractor.





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If you're interested in finding out more about how a degree in kinesiology can help you, take a look below; this Kinesiology careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to a Kinesiology degree.


Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers. We’ve also included Kinesiology-specific scholarships that you can apply for to help you pay for school!



What a Kinesiology Program Teaches You

Kinesiology is an interdisciplinary study involving the study of human movement. The curriculum in these programs allows you to gain an understanding of the complex interaction of the physiological, biomechanical, psychological, and sociological elements that make up human movement.


In addition to discovering the “how” and “why” of human movement, you will be able to understand how human movement can be optimized in terms of physical performance.


The curriculum of a typical Kinesiology degree program is very versatile in nature, and there are many possible areas of concentration for you to choose from. You will likely be able to select your academic focus based on your interests and what sort of career you want to pursue.


Below is a list of some of the areas of concentration offered in Kinesiology programs in Canada and the United Sates.


• Biomechanics

• Ergonomics

• Exercise Science

• Health Psychology

• Human Anatomy

• Injuries and Rehabilitation

• Physiology

• Psychomotor Behaviour

• Sociology, Physical Activity and Sport




Employable Skills of Kinesiology Graduates

Graduates with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology are equipped with a set of skills and knowledge base that make them highly valuable within professional fields related to Kinesiology.


Graduates who best demonstrate these skills and can effectively apply their knowledge have little trouble securing employment in their field.


• A thorough understanding of the various factors affecting human movement, such as biological, psychological, social and aesthetic

• Able to effectively develop and administer injury prevention and rehabilitation plans

• Able to effectively perform physical risk assessments regarding work, leisure and sporting activities

• Ability to create strategies for the maximization of human physical potential by applying knowledge of biomechanics

• Knowledge of theories, trends and developments in the field of health and fitness

• Able to assess the quality and proper usage of athletic activities, equipment and environments

• Ability to organize, plan and administer physical activities and programs for individuals and groups

• Able to enhance the quality of life for individuals by developing, implementing and monitoring leisurely and recreational activities

• The ability to assess the physical and recreational needs of a community and make recommendations regarding the development of individual and community plans



Types of Kinesiology Careers  

The Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAPHERD) has categorized Kinesiology careers into four major categories. Each category has its own set of specific career fields that you can pursue as a kinesiology graduate. The four main occupational categories in Kinesiology are:


Fitness / Wellness Occupations

• Rehabilitation

• Sports Sciences

• Medical


Physical Education Occupations

• Research

• Coaching

• Administration

• Self-Employment


Recreation and Leisure Occupations

• Municipal Parks and Recreation

• Provincial/State & Federal Governments

• Youth Services Agencies

• Institutional Employment

• Commercial Recreation

• Camping and Outdoor Recreation


Health Education Occupations

• Teaching

• Volunteer/Community Based Occupations

• Government Agencies

• Self-Employment



Careers Related to a Kinesiology Degree

A degree in Kinesiology serves as an excellent foundation for any of the following careers:


Activity Specialist

Aerobics Instructor

Athletic Director

Athletic Scout

Athletic Therapist


Camp Director

Cardiac Imaging Researcher

Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist


Community Program Director




Exercise Physiologist

Fitness Coach

Fitness Consultant

Gym Manager

Health Care Aide

Health Care Consultant

Health Educator


Massage Therapist

Medical Writer

• Military Officer

Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapist Assistant

Orthopaedic Technician

Osteopathic Physician

Personal Trainer

Physical Education Teacher

Physical Therapy Assistant



Recreation and Leisure Supervisor

Recreation and Sports Director

Recreation Therapist

Research Assistant

Spa Manager

Sporting Goods Sales Rep

Sports Agent

Sports Coach

Sports Facility Manager

Sports Medicine Physician

Strength and Conditioning Coach

University Professor

Wellness Coordinator


Please Note: These careers are applicable to a bachelor's degree kinesiology degree because of the skills and competencies this degree can teach you. Some of them however, require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.





Examples of Job Duties in Various Kinesiology Careers

As mentioned above, a career in Kinesiology can take many forms. Each of these would have a unique set of responsibilities and duties, based on the desired outcomes of the job.


Below are some examples of some general duties and responsibilities in this field:


• Designing athletic and sporting equipment

• Managing and administering sports facilities

• Advising on matters related to sport management and promotion

• Developing fitness and improvement plans for athletes

• Coaching or training amateur or professional athletes

• Administering community wellness programs

• Instructing physical education classes

• Liaising with other health professionals, such as physiotherapists and doctors

• Developing, implementing and monitoring fitness programs for the elderly

• Developing, implementing and monitoring rehabilitation programs for people who have movement disorders or difficulties

• Conducting workplace assessments in order to reduce possibility of injury and increase worker health and productivity

• Monitoring physical rehabilitation patients to ensure their exercise program is effective

• Utilizing various technologies, such as electrocardiographs and slow-motion film, in the assessment and testing of athletes/patients

• Studying the physiological requirements of exercise and related performance and health outcomes

• Studying the biomechanics and motor control of human movement



Salary Level of a Kinesiology Graduate

The salary you could earn as a kinesiology graduate depends on what career you pursue. For example, if you go on to become a chiropractor, your earnings may be different from those you would have earned if you chose to become a sporting goods sales rep.


Other factors that determine how much you can earn may include:


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The type of job you have

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have



Sample Salary Figures

It is difficult to obtain specific salary information for Kinesiology graduates in the United States, as those figures aren't available from reliable sources. However, we do have salary figures for graduates in closely related academic fields in Ontario, Canada, courtesy of a study conducted in 2011 by the Council of Ontario Universities.


$47,857 Therapy and Rehabilitation

$45,427 Physical Sciences

$42,181 Agricultural and Biological Sciences




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Gaining Experience in Kinesiology Careers as a Student

Taking practicum courses and working as an intern can be a great advantage for you if you’re hoping to work in the field after graduation. Some Kinesiology programs may require you to pursue these opportunities as an academic requirement, while others may not.


Practicum courses

Practicum courses, when available, are typically offered as an elective or are a requirement of your Kinesiology degree program. Practicum courses are a chance to gain ‘real-world’ experience in a Kinesiology career field that’s suited to your ambitions and interests. You may be able to job shadow a personal trainer, volunteer as a coach, or volunteer with a community group or health care organization.



Internships are opportunities to gain work experience in Kinesiology careers while completing your degree. A Kinesiology internship allows you to intern with a professional agency in a position best suited for your career goals and interests. These programs may or may not count towards credit for your degree, depending on the arrangement between yourself, your school and the employer.


Whether or not they are mandatory, practicum and internship opportunities related to your degree are highly recommended, as they have many benefits, including:


• Meeting professionals who are established in Kinesiology careers

• Getting your foot in the door with an organization

• Finding out what working in the field is actually like

• Meeting academic requirements

• May supplement your income



How Do I Find a Kinesiology Internship or Practicum?

Since these opportunities are often an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Kinesiology department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



Kinesiology Degree Scholarships

If you’re a Kinesiology student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to Kinesiology, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.




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