Is a lengthy day of cycling, hiking, or other physical activity your idea of a great time? Do you have a strong desire to assist people in achieving their fitness objectives? If so, you might think about one of the numerous job options available to kinesiologists.
What does a kinesiologist actually do? There is no single solution because there are numerous employment options available to kinesiologists. This job guide will teach you about kinesiology and some of the professions you could enter after receiving a degree in kinesiology.
What is Kinesiology?
It’s important to gain a fundamental understanding of what kinesiology is before examining the topic, “What does a kinesiologist do?” Kinesiology is a scientific field that examines human movement and physical activity. The impact of physical activity on health, quality of life, and society at large is also explored. Kinesiology studies the physiology, mechanics, and anatomy of human movement and performance.
The distinction between kinesiology and exercise science can sometimes be unclear. Since exercise science is a branch of kinesiology, there is a lot of overlap between these two specialties. However, whereas kinesiology is a more wide field, exercise science focuses more intently on the human reaction to — and adaptations for — exercise.
A kinesiologist can pursue a variety of career paths in a variety of contexts because the field of kinesiology is broad. For instance, some kinesiologists help people become more physically healthy by working at fitness facilities. Others conduct research in labs on topics like repetitive strain injuries or even the motion of joints in low-gravity environments.
Here are some examples of the subfields, careers, and environments that kinesiologists can work in:
- Massage therapy: A kinesiologist who has earned a degree in exercise science may choose to pursue additional training to become a specialist massage therapist, such as a sports massage therapist.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists are experts at assisting patients in adjusting to a variety of restrictions (such as decreased strength or gripping ability) when handling activities of daily living.
- Physical therapy: Kinesiology training can be very helpful for persons who decide to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
- Adapted physical activity: Some kinesiologists prefer to focus on assisting kids and/or adults to maintain their physical fitness despite limitations.
- Fitness training: Many kinesiologists choose to work with individuals or small groups to assist them improve their physical health as fitness trainers.
- Biomechanics: Some kinesiologists are experts in this field, which investigates how the mechanics of motion relate to human movement.
A few kinesiology students want to focus on sports. For instance, they might work as coaches for high school, university, or professional sports teams. They could also choose to work in sports management.
What Does a Kinesiologist Do?
There is no typical job description for a kinesiologist because there are so many different career paths. For example, if you study in exercise science, you might choose to work as a sports coach, physical therapist, or personal trainer. Here is a little overview of what your typical day as a personal trainer might entail:
- evaluating the health, fitness, and skill levels of new clients to create a customized workout program for them
- offering adjustments as customers execute various exercises, demonstrating good form and biomechanics,
- describing how to use exercise equipment properly, including safety precautions and building regulations
- providing clients with support and additional tools to make healthy lifestyle and dietary decisions
Although some of them may start their own businesses, fitness trainers frequently work at gyms. Later on, some fitness instructors become fitness club managers. Physical therapists, on the other hand, often work in clinics, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers where they carry out responsibilities like the following:
- reviewing the patient’s medical record and any observations made by other medical professionals
- assessing patients’ physical functioning, deficiencies, and limitations, talking with them about their objectives, and creating specialized treatment plans
- using a variety of therapeutic techniques, such as ultrasound therapy, massage, and passive stretching exercises, to reduce pain and inflammation
- educating patients on remedial stretching and exercise routines that use optimal biomechanics
A vital component of a patient’s treatment team is a physical therapist. Professional or recreational athletes, as well as non-athletes who are recovering from surgery, a heart attack, or other medical conditions, may all receive physical therapy services. Conversely, kinesiologists who want to pursue a career as sports coaches will only ever work with athletes. The following are typical duties of sports coaches:
- Teach individuals or teams sports-specific skills, tactics, and strategies.
- Organize and oversee team meetings and practice sessions.
- Create routines for strengthening and conditioning
- Make tactical choices during contests, such as player changes and play calling
- Track and evaluate each player’s performance, and decide who should be on the club roster.
- Determine suitable team members and take the initiative in recruiting them.
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Getting Started as a Kinesiologist
Kinesiology may be the ideal career for you if you have a passion for physical fitness, sports, and health. Discuss your professional goals and whether you can change your course load with your high school guidance counselor. The best option would be to enroll in as many scientific and health courses as you can. If one is offered, try to enroll in a course on human anatomy and physiology.
Additionally, throughout the summer or after school, hunt for a relevant part-time employment. You might apply for jobs at neighborhood gyms, neighborhood sports complexes, or kids’ recreation centers. Additionally, search for summer camps with a focus on sports. Of course, you’ll also want to join the school’s athletic teams.
Kinesiologists have a wide range of job options, however they all typically require a bachelor’s degree. Some, like massage therapists and personal trainers, could need further education and credentials. Others, like physical therapy, demand a graduate degree and a license.
Even if your chosen profession does not necessitate a graduate degree or additional qualifications, having them can be beneficial. For instance, fitness facilities could desire or call for its fitness instructors to be certified in CPR in addition to personal training. Some certificates, like the Registered Yoga Teacher credential from the Yoga Alliance, may be activity-specific.
Obtain your undergraduate degree in exercise science
If you’re interested in becoming a kinesiologist, you should aim to get a bachelor’s degree following high school. Kinesiology-focused degrees aren’t offered by all universities. Fortunately, degrees in exercise science are more widespread and are a perfect fit for future kinesiologists.
With a degree in exercise science, you can enter a variety of related fields of work, continue your education, or apply for a nationally recognized certification. Degrees in exercise science cover a range of skills in subjects like anatomy, physiology, motor learning, corrective exercise, and behavioral changes. Although your school’s precise curriculum will differ, you can generally anticipate studying subjects like the following:
- Principles of scientific research in physical exercise, nutrition, and general health, including sports performance
- Examining the effects and adaptations of various strength- and cardiovascular-training methods on the musculoskeletal, cardiac, and respiratory systems
- Aspects of behavioral patterns and change, including the fundamentals of sports psychology
- Nutritional science fundamentals and how dietary choices effect overall health
- Science and coaching of sports performance, including plyometrics, acceleration, multidirectional speed, and training methods
- The development of motor abilities throughout life, with a focus on motor milestones and the unique needs of populations in rehabilitation
You can anticipate to take both lecture classes and practical laboratories as an exercise science major. Despite the fact that you’ll be studying a lot, you should schedule plenty of time to take advantage of the physical facilities and leisure activities offered by your school. A broad understanding of a variety of physical activities, from pickleball to aquatics, is good for exercise science majors, and getting hands-on experience can be fun.
Look for part-time job openings in your profession while you are still an undergraduate, such as a position as a student worker at the campus fitness facility. You might also think about looking into job shadowing and internship possibilities at neighboring physical therapy clinics, neighborhood sports facilities, and other places like that. Your school’s career services office is a great place to start looking for internship and part-time job options.
Is a Graduate Degree in kinesiology Required?
There isn’t a single response to this query. Since kinesiologists have a variety of job options, some may require a graduate degree while others may not. Without a graduate degree, you can pursue many careers in this industry, though you may also need a professional certification.
For instance, certification may not necessarily be required for personal trainers to teach group exercise sessions. However, in order to work one-on-one with customers, they will typically need a qualification. However, after getting a bachelor’s degree, prospective physical therapists do need to continue their education by attending graduate school. Physical therapists must, in fact, be licensed by their respective states and hold a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.
You’ll need to seriously consider your intended professional route throughout your final two years of university. Consider whether you want to attend graduate school in particular. If you’re unsure of the specific type of kinesiology career you want to pursue, think about speaking with the alumni relations coordinator at your institution to see if you can connect with working professionals in the industry. Your own job goals could benefit from their advice in terms of clarity.
Should Kinesiologists Climb the Ladder to Advance?
Kinesiologists can pursue higher-level roles, however it will depend on their particular career. Personal trainers, for instance, can frequently start working straight away after receiving their certification. However, some facilities could want to temporarily mentor new hires in the field of fitness.
Physical therapists share this similar reality. An aspiring physical therapist may participate in an apprenticeship program at a physical therapy clinic as part of their education to gain experience working closely with patients under supervision.
Similar to this, you may anticipate years of arduous effort if you decide that you’d like to coach a professional sports club. Consider the scenario where you wish to manage a major league baseball team. Before becoming the pitching coach of a minor league team, you might first start off as the strength and conditioning coach of a collegiate team. After that, you might move on to become the bench coach of a major league team before earning a shot at the manager’s position.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would you visit a kinesiologist?
A kinesiologist can help you avoid injuries by creating a personalized active rehabilitation program. They will consider your present level of fitness, any prior injuries, and your objectives. Any muscle imbalances you might have can also be found by a kinesiologist, who can then prescribe workouts to address them.
What ailments can kinesiology treat?
A holistic method for effectively diagnosing and treating structural, muscular, chemical, and mental disorders is applied kinesiology. Applied kinesiology practitioners utilize it to treat a wide range of conditions, including stress, meridian imbalances, nutritional excesses or deficiencies, and the nervous system.
What distinguishes a kinesiologist from a physiotherapist?
Kinesiologists are medical specialists that specialize in movement-based therapies including physical therapy and exercise. In order to treat musculoskeletal problems, physiotherapists use methods like manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and modalities.
Is Kinesiology and Massage related?
Massage treatment and kinesiology go together naturally. When we examine the origins of massage treatment, we see that the combination of massage techniques is ultimately intended to produce, enhance, or restore the movement within various systems of the body. Kinesiology is described as the study of human movement.