How to Become a Kinesiologist
Kinesiologist Careers & Degrees

Kinesiologists are health professionals who have an extensive background in the human body, how it moves and responds to different types of activities.

This profession can stand alone as its own specialty, or be used in conjunction with another skill set or profession, such as physical therapy or athletic training.

Individuals who want to become a Kinesiologist will have a natural interest in the human body, sports or health in general.

Those who want to enter this profession will use their knowledge of the body to help their clients improve efficiencies, endurance or performance of their bodies.

Education Requirements to Become a Kinesiologist

Individuals who want to become a Kinesiologist will need a background in health care and medicine in order to enter this profession.

Individuals pursuing this profession will need to attend a postsecondary institution to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Individuals who study Kinesiology can also use their knowledge in this field to use in other professions.

Individuals must first attend a bachelor’s program in Kinesiology or a closely related field to start making the first steps to become a Kinesiologist.

During their time as an undergraduate, individuals will learn about the human body and how it moves during normal activities, how it moves while working or during leisure activities such as exercise and sports.

Individuals will study the mechanisms in physiological, psychological and mechanical areas.

Individuals who study Kinesiology will also gain the necessary skills to look into the following professions:

  • Sport and exercise
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sport Psychology
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Orthopedics or
  • Biomechanics

In addition to working in the preceding professions, individuals who study Kinesiology as an undergraduate may also work in the following professions and fields:

  • Research
  • Fitness industry
  • Clinical settings
  • Industrial environments

Kinesiologist Job Description

Exact job duties for a Kinesiologist will depend on the specialty they practice in.

However, some similar job duties include meeting with patients and discuss the ways to improve efficiencies and performance in their bodies.

This will include seeing their clients at work such as monitoring their activity on a treadmill or exercise routine, analyze their movement and provide feedback on improving efficiencies.

Kinesiologists may work with individuals who are looking into a preventative routine or who have been injured and are looking to get better.

Individuals who are seen for preventative health will receive recommendations on the proper muscle movement needed in order to prevent any injuries.

Kinesiologists may also require their clients to undergo an exercise intervention program so that they can provide recommendations on whether the program is creating the desired results and reduce any injuries.

Individuals who are injured and are in a program to improve their health will need a different assessment provided by a Kinesiologist.

With these clients, a Kinesiologist will help their clients manage physical pain and injuries as well as make recommendations on healing techniques that assist with muscle pain.

Kinesiologist Salary and Career Path

There are no exact salary details for Kinesiologists but there are reports for the closely related field of Physical Therapists.

In 2012, the median annual salary for Physical Therapists was approximately $79,860.

Exact wages will depend on level of experience, for example, lower earning individuals earn a median annual income of approximately $55,620 while more experienced individuals can earn up to $112,020 per year.

The job outlook for Kinesiologists also closely reflects health diagnosing and treating practitioner professions.

The job outlook for individuals in this industry is expected to increase job opportunities by 20 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is attributed to the aging population that is living longer and who benefit from the health care services provided by professionals such as Kinesiologists.

Individuals interested in a career as a Kinesiologist may find that they have a natural interest in how the human body works and health in general.

They may also enjoy working with individuals and helping them improve their lifestyle and health.

Some benefits in joining this profession include a healthy income, a strong job outlook and opportunities to work in different industries such as in sports or the healthcare field.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$90,170
$62K
$73K
$90K
$104K
$124K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$92,570
Alaska$102,650
Arizona$89,350
Arkansas$85,710
California$99,920
Colorado$86,740
Connecticut$98,780
Delaware$96,520
District of Columbia$93,140
Florida$86,090
Georgia$87,590
Hawaii$92,650
Idaho$80,360
Illinois$91,750
Indiana$86,670
Iowa$82,940
Kansas$88,310
Kentucky$85,260
Louisiana$89,560
Maine$80,380
Maryland$89,890
Massachusetts$90,860
Michigan$90,500
Minnesota$84,280
Mississippi$91,050
Missouri$84,180
Montana$82,130
Nebraska$85,100
Nevada$108,550
New Hampshire$84,610
New Jersey$99,060
New Mexico$94,430
New York$90,880
North Carolina$88,020
North Dakota$81,630
Ohio$87,600
Oklahoma$91,480
Oregon$87,200
Pennsylvania$88,450
Rhode Island$85,540
South Carolina$85,650
South Dakota$77,130
Tennessee$84,720
Texas$89,630
Utah$85,880
Vermont$81,020
Virginia$91,930
Washington$88,010
West Virginia$92,320
Wisconsin$88,570
Wyoming$91,030
Puerto Rico$45,120
Virgin Islands$66,270

The top earning state in the field is Nevada, where the average salary is $108,550.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Nevada - $108,550
Alaska - $102,650
California - $99,920
New Jersey - $99,060
Connecticut - $98,780
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Physical Therapists, OCC Code 29-1123, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a kinesiologist?

Kinesiologists monitor human muscle movement and apply healing techniques in order to alleviate pain and to reduce discomfort.

They help people who suffered injuries and help prevent disorders that reduce mobility.

Kinesiologists can specialize in a specific field, such as exercise kinesiology, biomechanics kinesiology, ergonomic kinesiology or psycho-motor kinesiology.

As a kinesiologist, you will need a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology but also compassion and good communication skills.

Kinesiologists can find employment in a variety of places; such as hospitals, healthcare centers but they may also work for athletic teams, spas or health clubs.

As a kinesiologist, you may work full-time or part-time and this job also allows you to work flexible hours.

The job can be physically demanding as kinesiologists may often have to work out with clients.

QuestionHow much does a kinesiologist make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t record specific data about kinesiologists but they provide information about exercise physiologists.

The median annual wage for exercise physiologists was $49,270, as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the region, the employer and the physiologist’s level of experience.

As a kinesiologist, you can make anywhere between less than $35,000 a year and more than $75,000.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a kinesiologist?

Kinesiologists need a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and some states also require a license.

Tuition costs vary depending on the school; a bachelor’s degree program in kinesiology and exercise science will cost out-of-state students around $35,000-$40,000 a year at a public school.

In order to practice massage therapy, you may also need a state license.

If you choose to apply for national certification you will need to pass the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

QuestionWhat is the demand for kinesiologists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for exercise physiologists is expected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This growth is explained in part by the fact that hospitals use exercise and preventive care to help patients recover from injuries or illnesses.

However, because this is a small occupation, competition is expected to be high and holding a professional certification and a license as a massage therapist can give you better job prospects.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a kinesiologist?

If you want to become a kinesiologist, you will need a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology which can be earned after four years of post-secondary training.

If you want to perform massage therapy you will also need a license.

After getting your degree and completing an internship period you are eligible to apply for professional registration from the American Kinesiotherapy Association; this credential may be required by your future employer.

Find a Program