What are the Different Types of Kinesiology Programs?

Amanda Dean

By studying kinesiology, students open the door to numerous employment fields. There are a variety of kinesiologys program at the bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level. Programs offer core courses in muscle mechanics, anatomy, biomechanics, and exercise. Graduates can find jobs in a variety of fields. A student may select a concentration in athletic training, rehabilitation, physical education, or biomechanics.

Studying kinesiology can lead to a career in physical rehabilitation.
Studying kinesiology can lead to a career in physical rehabilitation.

Most athletic training positions require training at the bachelor's degree level. This is considered a allied health profession that may specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of muscle, joint, and bone injuries. Athletic trainers are often employed in sports, but may seek jobs in other industries. A kinesiology program that specializes in athletic training would include coursework on assessment, emergency medical care, and nutrition. The program should prepare students for board certification. An athletic trainer should not be confused with a fitness trainer who works in a gym.

People may take kinesiology programs geared towards becoming a coach for school-aged children.
People may take kinesiology programs geared towards becoming a coach for school-aged children.

The job of physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist is similar to athletic training, but is exposed to a wider range of injuries. Physical therapists work with people of all ages to restore movement and function lost as a result of injury, disease, or congenital defects. A kinesiology program that specializes in physical therapy would offer extended coursework in anatomy and might include rehabilitation, neuroscience, or psychology classes. Most physical therapists study at the bachelor's or master's degree level. At the conclusion of this program, American students should take the National Physical Therapy Examination to become certified.

Students studying kinesiology may take classes on biomechanical analysis.
Students studying kinesiology may take classes on biomechanical analysis.

A kinesiology program for physical education is usually taught at the bachelor's level, but master's coursework is also available. Professionals with this degree usually work as physical education instructors and coach sports for school-aged children. Additional coursework in this specialization might include communications, education methods, swimming, and other sports courses. Students can expect to spend a semester student teaching to prepare themselves for the academic environment.

Kinesiologists can work as physical education instructors for school-aged children.
Kinesiologists can work as physical education instructors for school-aged children.

Biomechanics is a kinesiology program that is usually taught at the master's or doctoral levels. Students with biomechanics degrees are often involved in physiological research or the development of human-interface equipment such as furniture, appliances, and exercise equipment. These programs focus on laboratory research and the analysis of human motion. Most biomechanics students will be required to write a thesis or dissertation in order to complete this degree program.

Someone with a kinesiology degree might focus on training programs for specific athletes.
Someone with a kinesiology degree might focus on training programs for specific athletes.

There are many other career options for kinesiology program graduates. Professional dancers and choreographers might study this discipline in order to understand the capabilities and limitations of the human body. Sports officials, journalists, and managers may study kinesiology. Bachelor's level coursework in kinesiology may help future doctors prepare for medical school.

A sports-related injury may be treated by a physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist.
A sports-related injury may be treated by a physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist.
A kinesiology program for teachers may focus on education methods that work best for children.
A kinesiology program for teachers may focus on education methods that work best for children.

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