How to be a Personal Trainer
Chapter 3: A Degree in Kinesiology
* Don’t miss part 1: How to Get a Degree in Exercise Science
* Don’t miss part 2: How to Get a Degree in Physiology
Kinesiology is ostensibly the study of human movement, but there’s a lot more to it than looking at variations in gait or the way people tilt their heads. In fact, kinesiology, as a science, tends to be far more concerned with how an in-depth knowledge of movement, including the interdependent roles of physiology, psychology, and body mechanics, pertains to the study of human health, including applications for physical therapy, rehabilitation, and orthopedics, just to name a few areas of potential benefit.
So why might someone be interested in obtaining such a degree? And how can you go about getting one that is the most likely to net you your dream job?
Here are a few pointers to help you obtain the degree in kinesiology that’s right for you.
It may help to first understand where a degree in kinesiology might take you in terms of gainful employment, and there are plenty of practical applications. Many people look to such a degree for employment in fields like:
- personal training
- physical therapy
- physical education (PE)
- even coaching for athletics, sports, gymnastics, and cheerleading
But there are a lot more options available to those with a degree in kinesiology, especially if they focus on a particular area of study.
For example, you might work in health promotion, using exercise to enhance overall health and fitness for individuals or groups of patients.
You might prefer a career in ergonomics, designing products that work better with bodies to ensure a reduction in work-related injuries.
You could also get jobs in fields like health and safety, disability management, or even research and development.
In short, kinesiology offers a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a career path.
Certification or Degree?
In previous chapters, we talked about how so many students hoping to get a job in the physical fitness field opt to get licensed or certified rather than earning a college degree. From experience, I can tell you that although a personal trainer or sports nutrition certification will give you a strong background in the industry, most of certification programs are either online or studied from home, and do not garner the same kind of respect in the industry as a college degree.
A legitimate college degree in Kinesiology could open up a wide variety of career paths, or could even be extended to a masters or doctorate degree in science.
Finding a Good School
So now that you understand the perks of such a degree, you might be wondering how to go about obtaining one. What you really need to consider here is that kinesiology has a basis in several other scientific fields, including:
- even neuroscience
Understanding how and why the human body moves, will require you to study several different types of complex science. While kinesiology has become a much more popular major over the last few decades, still it is something of a targeted pursuit, meaning that you might not necessarily find schools that are renowned for their kinesiology programs.
That said, it’s not too difficult to pinpoint college and universities that are strong in the sciences, and these are likely to be your best bet when it comes to obtaining the prestigious diploma that’s going to set you up for your career of choice. The University of Connecticut, Ohio State, and Penn State are both highly regarded schools for kinesiology studies. And if you happen to be a single guy, rumor has it that Ohio State has a promising male to female ratio in kinesiology and related fields.
The Final Decision
While you could use a BS in kinesiology, physiology, or exercise science as the basis for continued education in areas like medicine, health administration, and the like, it’s probably best if you’re interested in some type of scientific career (rather than, say, MSW programs online). That said, you might also take your degree and run with it, opting to use your knowledge of the science of movement to rehabilitate athletes dealing with injury or train patients confined to wheel chairs to function with limited mobility.
Whether you work in a clinic, a gym, or a corporate lab, your knowledge of human mechanics can lead to a challenging and exciting career once you earn a degree in kinesiology.