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Kinesiology Certificate and Certification Program Information

Learn about certificate programs in kinesiology as well as certification requirements for professionals in this field. Read about prerequisites for prospective students and what coursework is taken in these programs. Also addressed in this article are continuing education options and salary and employment outlook information.

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Essential Information

Kinesiology certificate programs are designed for students who have already earned an undergraduate degree in an area of exercise science. The post-baccalaureate certificate in kinesiology can be completed in one year and prepares graduates to work as clinical exercise physiologists or for advanced graduate study in the field of kinesiology. Students enrolled in a kinesiology certificate program study how the body moves while working, exercising, living and playing sports. Some programs may require a research project to be completed towards the end of the program. Graduates will need to be certified before applying for work, especially if they intend to teach fitness classes or become fitness instructors.

Education Prerequisites

Prospective students who wish to enroll in a kinesiology certificate program must hold an undergraduate degree in some area of health fitness or exercise science. Universities and colleges may also require that applicants sit for an interview and submit a statement of purpose that states their program objectives and professional goals.

Program Coursework

The coursework in the graduate kinesiology certificate program is designed to introduce students to the clinical component of exercise physiology. Courses include topics in the following:

  • Human aging and physiology
  • Clinical applications for athletic training
  • Applied nutrition
  • Kinesiology research and thesis
  • Current issues in kinesiology
  • Exercise physiology and clinical practice
  • Physical fitness assessment and development
  • Cardiopulmonary physiology

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a certificate program in kinesiology will be able to work in a clinical role or can pursue careers as a:

  • Certified health instructor
  • Clinical exercise physiologist
  • Personal trainer
  • Group fitness instructor
  • Lifestyle consultant

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics,, the projected employment growth for fitness trainers and instructors is expected to be 24% for the period 2010-2020. This growth is much faster than the national average for all other occupations in the U.S. due to better-than-average growth among the number of people interested in improving their health and the increased hiring of fitness trainers and instructors by businesses. The median annual salary, as of May 2012, for fitness trainers and instructors was $31,720, and that for exercise physiologists was $44,770.

Continuing Education and Certification

A master's degree in kinesiology is an option for students who have completed a certificate program. The master's degree is research-intensive and prepares graduates for careers as researchers and college instructors.

The certification process for graduates of a kinesiology degree or certificate program varies. Some kinesiology graduates may want to enter into the teaching profession and, as a result, must meet the teacher certification requirements for the state they plan to work in. State teaching certification processes vary and students should check with their academic department for further information on the process.

The American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) offer certifications for graduates who plan on working as fitness instructors. ACE offers certifications for group fitness instructors, lifestyle and weight management consultants, personal trainers and advanced health and fitness specialists. The certification process for each of these types of fitness instructors varies. The American College of Sports and Medicine offers certification for personal trainers. ACSM requires that applicants study materials that are ASCM-approved, attend an optional workshop and pass a final exam. The exam is offered every day and can be taken at authorized Pearson VUE testing centers.

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