Online Kinesiology Degree and Diploma Program Options

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Several schools offer online career diploma, bachelor's and master's degree programs in kinesiology, which is the study of motion's impact on the human body and its health. These programs can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format. Internships and hands-on experience are encouraged in the master's degree programs. If becoming a certified fitness trainer is the goal, students should make sure any program they are considering is accredited by a recognized professional certification organization, such as the National Council on Strength and Fitness.

A career diploma for personal fitness trainers can be earned in less than a year. The program usually consists of around 20 lessons covering topics such as exercise's impact on the heart, strength training, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and target zones for aerobic exercise. Students may study nutrition and creating personal training plans for clients.

In a bachelor's degree program, students learn about the basic principles of kinesiology and also get some business training to prepare them for future careers as gym managers or personal trainers. A master's degree program takes 1-2 years to complete. Students may have the opportunity to choose a concentration, such as athletic training, physical education or sports administration. Courses may include motor skills and ethics. A student who has the goal of coaching at a public school or working as an athletic trainer should check to see if the state requires certification.

Career Diploma in Fitness and Exercise

For those interested in kinesiology as it pertains to physical conditioning, an online fitness and exercise career diploma is available. Geared toward preparing students for entry-level jobs in the fitness industry, students learn to create customized physical training regimens. A holistic approach to exercise is often stressed since adequate nutrition plans and maintaining energy levels are as important to keeping fit as flexibility and injury prevention.

Program Information and Requirements

A fitness and exercise career diploma can be obtained at the student's own pace in less than a year. Coursework is entirely online and texts may be delivered by mail. Guidance from instructors and tutors is available by e-mail, phone and live chat sessions. Through the online system, assignments can be uploaded, exams administered and grades posted.

List of Common Fitness and Exercise Courses

Topics include preparing exercise plans and assessing diet and training needs. Interdisciplinary studies of psychological and physical disabilities are introduced as factors contributing to overall fitness.


This online class covers means of assessing and improving fitness and flexibility. Students also learn about role of flexibility in preventing injuries.


Online students learn the laws of biomechanics and how to assess techniques and skills. Exercises to prevent back and neck injuries through proper posture and body movement are introduced.


Understanding the principles of muscle building is essential in planning effective strengthening regimes. Students focus on resistance and low-impact exercises for injury prevention.

Bachelor's Degree in Health Fitness

Bachelor's degree programs focused on the health fitness aspect of kinesiology are also available through fully online programs. Distance learning students not only study the scientific principles of kinesiology as they apply to exercise, but also gain the business skills necessary to become personal trainers and athletic club managers.

Program Information and Requirements

A Bachelor of Science in Health Fitness can be completed in 3-4 years through distance learning. Instruction is delivered via streaming video requiring a high-speed Internet connection.

List of Common Health Fitness Online Courses

Coursework in nutrition and sports psychology complement studies in the methods and theory of kinesiology. General anatomy and first aid classes are included, as well as business courses.


The principles of physical movement are examined in the context of fitness and general activities.

Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation

Musculoskeletal injuries commonly occur in the workplace. This online class covers ways to evaluate and prevent work-related injuries, as well as strengthening and stabilizing techniques for rehabilitation.

Exercise for Children and Youth

Fitness regimes are different for children and adults because of differential motor skills and psychological development. Students in this course learn to create fun activities that build muscles and self-esteem that are essential for encouraging healthy habits in young people.

Master's Degree in Kinesiology

Master's degree programs in kinesiology are widely available through distance learning, likely due to high demand for professional development among the current workforce. To accommodate the various careers open to kinesiologists, concentrations in athletic training, physical education and sport administration are available at the master's level. The sport administration program focuses on the business management aspects of the industry. Students specializing in athletic training or physical education gain valuable teaching and coaching skills.

Program Information and Requirements

A master's degree program in kinesiology can be completed entirely online in 1-2 years. Some physical education prerequisites may be fulfilled by undergraduate coursework or demonstrated professional experience. While programs are entirely online, clinical and on-the-job training is highly encouraged.

List of Kinesiology Online Courses

Courses in online master's-level kinesiology programs are geared toward practical application of kinesiology theory and methods. Fitness center managers typically possess graduate degrees in kinesiology or exercise science, thus sport administration programs provide business management and marketing skills. Athletic trainers and physical educators also gain valuable teaching and coaching skills in preparation for coaching and training.

Kinesiology Technology

Advances in technology have provided new opportunities for training and analysis. Students learn about these advancements and how testing and diagnosis can be performed with the aid of electronic devices.

Motor Skills

Theories of how purposeful movements are learned and developed are reviewed in this online class. Prospective trainers also acquire the means of assessing skills and providing feedback to clients.

Kinesiology Ethics

Distance learning students review the philosophical, legal and ethical issues that affect kinesiology professions. The implications of societal values on fitness are explored.

Career Information

Both the bachelor's degree and the fitness and exercise diploma program prepare individuals to work as fitness class instructors and personal trainers; these jobs are increasingly in demand in athletic clubs, hospitals and private businesses that provide exercise facilities to their employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors was $44,580 in 2018 (

Graduates of an online kinesiology program may pursue careers as athletic coaches, physical education instructors and sports managers. In 2018, the mean annual salary for athletic trainers was $49,280 and $72,190 for postsecondary recreation and fitness studies teachers, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education

Certification is usually required for professional fitness workers and personal trainers because of the risk of student injuries. Certification is particular to specific forms of exercise, such as yoga or martial arts, and is available from many different organizations, such as the National Federation of Professional Trainers or the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Online kinesiology programs can be found at the diploma, bachelor's and master's degree levels and can be completed entirely online, although some feature in-person requirements such as internships. They prepare graduates for a wide range of jobs, such as fitness class instructors, personal trainers and athletic coaches.

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