Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics is the scientific study of human movement. It is the study of human movement, performance, and function by applying the sciences of biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, psychology, and neuroscience. Applications to human health include biomechanics and orthopedics; strength and conditioning; sport psychology; methods of rehabilitation, such as physical and occupational therapy; and sport and exercise. Studies of human and animal motion include measures from motion tracking systems, electrophysiology of muscle and brain activity, various methods for monitoring physiological function, and other behavioral and cognitive research techniques.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), for example, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology through The Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition. Students will select a concentration in athletic medicine, exercise science or physical education. Graduates with a concentration in athletic medicine are prepared to pursue careers in athletic training, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. Physical and/or occupational therapy licensure requires additional academic training in an accredited graduate program. Students interested in pursuing licensure in athletic training must apply and be accepted into the athletic training program at UTSA. Students with a concentration in exercise science are trained for careers in exercise physiology, clinical exercise, and fitness programming in corporate, commercial, and public settings. Graduates of this concentration are prepared for professional certifications in fitness and exercise physiology.
Here is a partial list of typical courses for those pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology:
- Nutrition in Health and Performance
- Stress Management
- Physiology of Exercise/Lab
- Drugs and Health
- Foundations of Kinesiology
- Skill Analysis in Physical Activity
- Advanced Athletic Training
- Athletic Injuries
There are online graduate programs in this field, such as the one offered at The University of Texas at Tyler. The Master of Science (M.S.) Degree Program in Kinesiology provides advanced study of kinesiology with a core focus on exercise science. The program prepares for a broad range of careers related to exercise or provides a foundation for subsequent doctoral study. This degree program is also appropriate for clinicians, such as physical therapists and athletic trainers, who want to further their understanding of the science related to their areas of practice. The curriculum leading to the M.S.-Kinesiology Degree may be completed via traditional face-to-face classes, entirely online, or via a combination of face-to-face and online classes. The program consists of 18 hours of required core courses, 12 hours of electives, and six hours of thesis or internship.
The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) lists over two dozen careers at their website. These are listed alphabetically from Adaptive Physical Activity to Strength and Conditioning Coach. The AKA states that choosing a career in the field of sport, exercise, and fitness is more complicated today than ever. Never have so many career options been available in so many exciting areas. Those interested in pursuing a career in sport can choose from coaching, sport marketing, sport promotion, athletic administration, sport officiating, sports medicine, sport psychology…and the list could go on. A career in the exercise and fitness arena can be very rewarding, but will it be a career as a personal trainer, exercise rehabilitation specialist, conditioning coach, fitness center manager, or a geriatric exercise specialist? You might have decided that a career in teaching sport and exercise or coaching is the best path for you, but will it be a career in teaching physical education, high-level sport instruction, exercise instruction, or specialized instruction for those with disabilities.
It’s difficult to establish a median annual salary for this profession due to the variety of jobs that a degree in kinesiology may involve. One example, according to PayScale.com, is a Strength and Conditioning Coach position that has a median income of $39,701. The highest paid being $60,175. Also, keep in mind that, as with most jobs, salary is commensurate with qualifications (degree and certifications attained) and experience.