Programs at the associate's degree level provide fundamental training in areas such as human anatomy, physical health, motor skills, and sports medicine. A bachelor's program emphasizes biomedical, psychological, and neurological principles needed to help graduates communicate findings through interpreting and analyzing movement.
Students must have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in a degree program. Many programs also require students have a strong background in math and the physical sciences, while some may have a minimum GPA requirement. Further studies could be required for some careers in this field, notably those in physical or occupational therapy, sports administration or sports medicine.
Associate of Science in Kinesiology
A kinesiology associate's degree program prepares students to seek entry-level employment in areas such as sports management, fitness leadership and corporate wellness.
Popular areas of concentration include exercise science, sports management, fitness, athletic training and coaching, and are taught through courses like nutrition, anatomy and biomechanics. Many associate's degree programs prepare students for personal trainer and coaching certifications. Common course topics include:
- Motor behavior
- Human physiology
- Sports management
- Athletic injuries
- Sports officiating
- Kinesiology measurements
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
In addition to preparing students for employment in human movement-related fields, such as physical education and personal training, kinesiology bachelor's degree programs often serve as a pre-professional degree for students wishing to pursue further education in fields such as physical therapy, medicine, occupational therapy, preventive medicine and sports management.
Concentration areas within a bachelor's degree program in kinesiology often include fitness and human performance, exercise science, physical education, sports marketing and athletic training.
Topics covered as part of an undergraduate kinesiology program include exercise stress and movement, motor control and learning, physical development, sports psychology, teaching physical activity and injury prevention. Other topics include:
- Physiology of exercise
- Motor development
- Nutrition and health
- Caring for athletic injuries
- Strength and conditioning
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Fitness trainers and instructors are expected to see job growth of 8% between 2014 and 2024, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported the median annual earnings for aerobics instructors and fitness workers as $36,160 in 2015.
A kinesiology degree often serves as a stepping-stone for further education in physical therapy or occupational therapy. Employment for both physical and occupational therapists is expected to grow at a much faster pace than the average of all occupations, according to the BLS. In 2014, median annual earnings for physical therapists were $84,020. The BLS also reported median annual earnings of $80,150 for occupational therapists.
Popular Career Options
Graduates of kinesiology bachelor's degree programs may need to seek certification before beginning work. Graduates are well suited for work as:
- Physical therapists
- Physical education teachers
- Fitness instructors
- Athletic trainers
- Sports managers
- Occupational therapists
Continuing Education Information
Many graduates of kinesiology programs go on to pursue further education in health or fitness-related professions. Popular programs for kinesiology graduates include sports marketing and medicine, physical therapy, sports management, personal training and occupational therapy.
Kinesiology can be pursued at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels to prepare students to work with the movement of the human body in contexts from sports fields to offices.