Kinesiology Major Requirements and Career Information

Read details about undergraduate studies in kinesiology. Find out what degree is awarded, check the admission requirements, and explore course topics addressed in the curriculum. Learn about career options, as well as job growth rates and salaries for some professions in this field.

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Essential Information

Kinesiology is often offered as a small portion of a larger degree program in sports medicine, physical therapy or a similar area. However, there are a few universities offering 4-year degree programs that focus specifically on kinesiology or the study of human movement. Such programs may lead to a career in the rehabilitative sciences or may act as a precursor to graduate studies in physical therapy, occupational therapy and sports medicine. Completion of this program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree.

Students who choose a kinesiology major as part of their undergraduate studies may be required to take courses in biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology, human anatomy, nutrition, sports physiology, fitness testing and more. Some kinesiology degree programs require that students choose a particular area of focus, such as exercise science or fitness. Most programs also require that students complete a semester-long internship at a local health clinic, fitness facility or rehabilitation center. An undergraduate degree in kinesiology may lead to careers in the fields of exercise science, personal training, sports training and rehabilitation.

Education Prerequisites

Students interested in declaring kinesiology as a major must first be accepted into a 4-year university program. This most often requires a high school diploma, as well as ACT and SAT scores. Students who have earned high grades in the natural sciences and mathematics may be given top consideration for entrance into a kinesiology program.

Program Coursework

Courses in bachelor's degree program in kinesiology combine classroom lectures with laboratory experience. Most students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and fitness centers. Some typical courses included in a kinesiology major are listed below:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Physiology of exercise
  • Psychology of sport
  • Motor development
  • Motor control
  • Experiential learning
  • Neural bases of movement
  • Exercise and body composition
  • Assessment methods for kinesiology

Employment Prospects and Salary Info

There are several careers available for graduates of an undergraduate program in kinesiology. Many kinesiology students opt to earn a graduate degree in fields of rehabilitation and sports medicine. Others segue into entry-level positions in fitness and health science. Some popular career options are listed below:

  • Personal trainer
  • Fitness instructor
  • Massage therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Chiropractor
  • Athletic director
  • Athletic trainer
  • Strength conditioning coach
  • Exercise physiologist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 24% from 2010-2020. These professionals earned median salaries of $31,720 as of May 2012, according to the BLS.

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