How to Become a Kinesiologist

Career Path Guide

You first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for this field:


Those who become kinesiologists are passionate about helping people make physical activity choices that will help them lead healthy lives.


They must have a natural aptitude for science, and an education in human movement, including how it can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Kinesiologists must have excellent communication skills, and they must be comfortable sharing their opinions with others.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a kinesiologist in the United States and Canada. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements

You typically need either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in Kinesiology or related field, such as Human Kinetics, Exercise Science, or Exercise Physiology to work as kinesiologist.


Kinesiologists with a bachelor's degree typically work in roles that apply knowledge of human movement, such as those involving the development and implementation of exercise plans. 


Those with a bachelor’s degree may however, be more limited in their employment options versus those with a master’s degree or higher, as a graduate degree may allow kinesiologists to be employed as lecturers and senior-level researchers in the field of kinesiology and exercise science, in addition to being qualified for jobs in applied kinesiology. 


Kinesiologists with a graduate degree may also qualify for a higher level of pay in comparison to kinesiologists with a bachelor’s degree. 





What is a Kinesiologist?

General job description


Kinesiologists look for ways to improve the efficiency and performance of the human body while at work or at play by studying the factors that influence human movement. They also apply their knowledge of human movement; they may give advice to individuals and groups concerning which activities are best suited to help people reach their health and fitness goals.



What Do They Do?

General job duties


• Help individuals cope with physical injuries

• Work to manage, rehabilitate, and prevent disorders that impede movement

• Apply various healing techniques in order to alleviate muscle ailments

• Monitor patients while they go through an exercise intervention program to ensure the program produces the desired effects

• May study the physiological requirements of exercise and health outcomes

• May study the biomechanics of human movement

• May study factors that affect commitment to fitness and rehabilitation programs

• Demonstrate proper muscle movement in order to prevent injuries

• May work in a corporate setting to promote ergonomic workplace body postures and equipment selection

• May work to improve motor learning skills in patients suffering from cerebral palsy, autism, and other motor and neurological problems



Typical Working Environment

Work Setting: Kinesiologists can work in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, including offices, laboratories, recreation facilities, hospitals, schools and residential facilities.


Work Schedule: The work schedule of kinesiologists can vary based on the responsibilities of their job. Some kinesiologists may work normal, weekday working hours (such as those involved in research), while others may work a variety of hours, including evening and weekend hours (such as many personal trainers).


Work Conditions: The work of applied kinesiologists can be physically demanding and involve lifting weights and heavy objects, in order to demonstrate and assist with exercise techniques. The work of kinesiologists in the fields of research, education and program management may involve long hours of computer analyses, collecting data and monitoring exercise programs.





Characteristics and Traits You'll Need

Having the following personality traits will be of great value if you wish to become effective in this career:


• A natural passion for health and fitness

• Self-confidence, and an ability to share your opinion with others

• Excellent oral and written communication skills

• Patience when dealing with others

• Able to keep up with advancements in relevant technology

• An interest in scientific research

• Excellent organization skills



How Much Do They Earn?

The salary level of kinesiologists can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, their specific job title and duties, where they work, and many others.


Salary in Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Kinesiologists occupational group earn an average salary of $69,602 per year. Unfortunately, government-sourced salary figures are not available for the rest of Canada at the time of writing (February 15 2020).


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Exercise Physiologists occupational group is $49,270 per year. 



Who Employs Them?

Kinesiologists work for organizations that develop and implement fitness plans for individuals or groups in the general public, or for those afflicted with various medical conditions. They may also be hired by organizations involved in studying the factors of human movement. Organizations that employ kinesiologists typically include:


• Athletic and sporting equipment companies

• Rehabilitation and occupational health departments

• Sport, fitness and recreation centres

• Professional and amateur sport organizations and teams

• Sport governing bodies

• Hospitals and other primary health care facilities

• Colleges and universities

• Self-employment



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "kinesiologist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "kinesiologist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.




Exercise Physiologist

Personal Trainer




References for this Guide

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a kinesiologist.


Occupations in Alberta:Kinesiologist.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 29, 2019.

Occupational Employment & Wages:Exercise Physiologists.” (March 29, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 29, 2019.

Articles:What Can a Kinesiologist do in Canada.” (n.d.). Canadian Kinesiology Alliance website. Retrieved December 29, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Kinesiologist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Kinesiologist can be found on our Exercise Science Scholarships and Kinesiology Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a kinesiologist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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