For active people interested in a science career, a major in kinesiology may be a perfect fit. Kinesiology is the study of human movement, from the molecular workings of muscular control to the process of recovery from massive sports injuries. The study encompasses diverse populations, reaching the elderly, the disabled, and the inactive as well as the relatively fit and the professionally athletic.
Kinesiology majors begin by building a strong foundation in the sciences. Biology, physiology, and anatomy are core to the understanding of kinesiology. Most programs require students to first meet the general education requirements for the college before getting into any kinesiology-specific courses. Once done with the basics, expect the major to be filled with courses such as “Exercise, Nutrition, and Behavior” and “Movement Injuries: Prevention and Care.”
Kinesiology is a multifaceted study with physiological, psychological, and mechanical aspects to it. The physiological side of the major covers how the body reacts and adapts to movement and exercise over time. The psychological aspect introduces students to the mental and emotional factors that influence a person’s willingness to exercise. It also covers the psychological benefits of physical activity. Finally, the mechanical part of the major delves into the actual functionality of movement, how your muscular and skeletal systems work together to produce motion.
As a kinesiology major, you will have both lab and lecture style courses. While lectures will provide you with important knowledge to draw upon, labs will offer a chance to apply what you’ve learned to real-world problems. With this combination of styles, you will develop key skills needed for jobs in the field.
A kinesiology major can lead to a wide range of jobs and career options. With just a bachelor’s degree, you can become a personal trainer, fitness instructor, exercise physiologist, athletic coach, athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach.
Personal trainers work one-on-one with clients to create fitness plans that meet the client’s personal goals and capabilities. Personal trainers may operate independently or as a part of a gym. You actually only need an associate degree for this, but the extra two years would only increase your validity as an expert! Fitness instructors are similar to personal trainers, but instead of working individually with clients, instructors teach larger classes, also in gym-like or studio environments. Majoring in kinesiology would allow you to help attendees reach their maximum potential without injuring themselves as you would have a deeper understanding than most about proper body alignment.
If your interests move into the realm of health, you may find a path as an exercise physiologist. Exercise physiologists create personalized exercise plans for patients in order to help them meet health needs, such as improved cardiovascular health or increased flexibility. In this career, you may work privately, but you also may work at hospitals, physical therapy offices, clinics, fitness centers, rehabilitation facilities, doctor’s offices, and even university athletic offices.
If you have a passion for sports, team building and education, you may want to become an athletic coach. Also typically at schools, you can work as an athletic trainer, helping athletes treat injuries. In this role, you would work under a physician, attend team practices and events, perform first aid duties as needed, and act as a liaison between patients, the physician, and other staff. If neither of these quite fit your desires, you may want to become a strength and conditioning coach. In this job, you work under a head coach specifically on creating programs to increase the power of your athletes. This may be your calling if you like sports but are more into weight and agility training as a specialty.