Online learning options in exercise science are very rare, since there tends to be required hands-on research in athletic training, strength, and conditioning. However, individuals can find a select few institutions that offer exercise science majors and concentrations delivered remotely. Courses can be completed online, but an internship is typically required near the end of the program. In some hybrid programs, students may also be required to complete in-class lab work.
In addition to kinesiology, there are several other majors that include exercise science courses, such as physical education, nutrition and sports management. Bachelor's degree programs in sports management can be completed totally online, with no on-campus course or lab requirements.
In bachelor's degree programs in kinesiology, students can expect to take courses in biomechanics, physiology, sports psychology, and motor learning. These programs may prepare graduates for certification with the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Individuals can go on to work as fitness trainers, coaches or sports managers.
Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science
Most bachelor's degree programs in kinesiology offer the option to concentrate in exercise science. Students enrolled in kinesiology programs will learn the basics of body movements and functions, and incorporate these ideas with principles of fitness and rehabilitation.
Program Information and Requirements
A bachelor's degree in kinesiology, with a focus on exercise science, is typically meant to provide students with a science-based approach to understanding fitness. Students will complete hands-on work and research, oftentimes in a laboratory or training facility, in order to gain experience in rehabilitation techniques, performance analysis, and fitness testing. Kinesiology programs generally take a multi-faceted approach in teaching aspects of fitness and exercise science. Bachelor's degree programs in exercise science usually take 3-4 years to complete.
Common Kinesiology and Exercise Science Courses
Students will complete coursework dealing with aspects of physical therapy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, sport psychology and fitness testing. Hands-on training and first-aid certification courses are typically required for completion of the program.
Anatomy and Physiology
This course studies the structure and function of the human organ systems. Students are typically required to complete in-class laboratory work.
This course looks at the physiology of exercising. Students will study how the human endocrine, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems respond and adapt to exercise.
Fitness Assessment and Prescription
Students study the methods and techniques used in evaluating physical fitness. This course covers topics in blood pressure, liability concerns, ECG recording and interpretation, strength assessment, body composition analysis, and pulmonary function tests.
A popular career option for someone holding a degree in kinesiology and exercise science is to become a fitness worker. As of May 2015, the median annual income for someone working in the field was $36,160, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that, between 2014 and 2024, job opportunities in the field are expected to increase by 8% (www.bls.gov).
Students who complete a bachelor's degree program in kinesiology often go on to pursue a master's degree in the field. A master's degree program typically takes 2-3 years to complete. Students will delve into more intensive research and study of kinesiology, including extensive hands-on laboratory research and training. The option to choose exercise science as a focus is typically available at the master's level, just as it is at the bachelor's level. A master's degree may lead to a significant bump in responsibility and pay in the field of fitness-related jobs. Jobs in physical therapy are popular career options for people who have earned a master's degree in kinesiology and exercise science.
The most relevant online degree option for undergraduate students who are interested in exercise science is a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, which includes courses in the basics of human anatomy and how these principles affect sports performance. While these programs typically include a certain amount of on-site hands-on training, there are other athletics-related bachelor's degree programs that can be completed entirely online.