The human body is a truly amazing thing, and when you consider all of the working parts that have to operate in order to get us through the day it can be mind-blowing. The way that our bodies move have a direct impact on how well we do things, whether or not we feel pain, and what other medical conditions or symptoms we might experience, so it’s an area that deserves a lot of thought.
If you’ve always had an interest in the human body and want to be able to treat others with serious medical intervention or medication, kinesiology could be a great career path for you. The scientific study of human body movements and practice of it is referred to as kinesiology, but it’s a lot more far-reaching than that.
There are many different applications possible with kinesiology including orthopedics, biomechanics, and occupational therapy. Therefore, finding the right career path that will allow you to use this practice will depend on where your interests are.
What Is A Kinesiologist?
Although the term ‘kinesiologist’ has been used quite a bit, at this point in time it isn’t a certified career in the US. However, a degree in kinesiology will lead you to many other career paths that all have to do with the human body and how it moves.
Generally speaking, a kinesiologist is someone who studies human body movement and its motion. Possible careers you might choose to do with your degree include an occupational therapist, sports and physical therapist, biomechanics, orthopedic doctor, sports psychology, and strength and conditioning coach.
There are other courses that allow you to study kinesiology as a complement to other types of treatment and medicine. A common alternative medical provider that uses kinesiology with their practice is a chiropractor, and since the 1960s this has been an integral part of the role and treatment.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Role
Depending on what specific role you decide to take on and the study path that you take, there are many roles and responsibilities that someone interested in kinesiology might have:
- Teaching physical education to patients;
- Consulting one on one with patients regarding their needs;
- Researching and developing new procedures;
- Researching human motor performance;
- Workplace ergonomics;
- Treating injuries and conditions of the body;
- Occupational health and safety;
- Teaching to cope with physical injuries;
- Rehabilitation services;
- Consulting services for individual or groups;
- Developing policies for rehabilitation;
Although a kinesiologist is not a certified career within the US, it is in Canada, and they opened the first ever Kinesiology Department at the University of Waterloo in 1976. Kinesiologists work as regulated health professionals and work in all areas including fitness, clinical settings, research departments, rehabilitation, hospitals, care facilities, and health and safety.
The Benefits of Being a Kinesiologist
Choosing a career in the medical field, whether it’s traditional western medicine or alternative practice is always hugely beneficial for both you and your patients. These are just a few of the benefits you can expect to find when you study kinesiology and work in a related role.
- Varied role
There are so many different roles and duties you could have as a graduate in kinesiology and no two days will ever be the same. If you’re someone who likes to have a mixed bag at work, this is a great avenue to study in.
- Helping others
No matter what type of work you do, you’ll be guaranteed to help others when you work in the field of kinesiology. Whether they are injured, suffering from a medical condition, or simply needing help to get their body efficiency back to a good level, you will be helping.
- Strong relationships
Working closely with patients will ensure that you develop a good bond and one that can last a lifetime. Being able to help others will mean patients remember you for years to come.
- More opportunities
Having a degree in kinesiology can open so many doors for you and get you ready for virtually any career in the medical field, with additional study required in some cases.
How to Become A Kinesiologist
As there are many different careers you can take with a kinesiology degree, there’s no set path you’ll have to follow. The best thing to do is figure out what area interests you the most and then work towards that.
In order to become a kinesiologist firstly, you’ll have to complete either a bachelor degree or masters degree in this or another related field. These include things like human kinetics, exercise physiology, and exercise science. Again, the specific area you want to work in will likely help lead you towards this choice.
Those who complete a bachelor’s degree will be able to work in roles that help others create exercise plans or need help with human movement. However, they will be somewhat limited compared to those with a master’s degree as they won’t actually be able to diagnose or treat patients as a medical professional.
There are still many roles that you can take with a bachelor’s degree though, including lecturer, researcher, and other jobs that involved applied kinesiology. However, for a more in-depth role that includes medical treatment, a master’s degree will be required.
Once you have completed your study, you’ll need to do a set amount of hours in order to gain your practical experience. Depending on the role you are applying for and your degree, this could include anything from a few hours to many months of work experience. You may also have to pass a certification exam and become a licensed practitioner in your state, but again it will depend on the role you’re applying and studying for.
Ideal Traits of a Kinesiologist
There are certain types of people that are better suited to roles like this where they’re treating others and working with the human body. Usually, your interest in such a role should indicate that you’re right for the job, but there are other traits that will be considered useful.
Many of your clients will have experienced injuries, accidents, or other medical conditions so compassion will play a huge role in your ability to treat them well.
Working with people who have injuries or other medical conditions can be long and tedious work. This type of work is better suited to those who are patient and able to work with those who need extra time and help to heal.
- Passion for health and fitness
A love for all things to do with health and fitness is essential, not only to help your clients but also to show others that you understand its importance as well.
- Thirst for knowledge
The medical field is constantly changing and new advancements are made each day, including in the study of kinesiology. You must be prepared and excited to do research about what these changes might be.
- Communication skills
Being able to speak with patients and clients, as well as develop thorough plans for their treatment requires top-level communication skills.
Salary and Career Growth
As there are many different fields that one might follow with their kinesiology degree, it’s hard to give a set amount in regards to salary. These are just a few of the popular jobs that use this degree and what their average median salary is:
- Exercise physiologist: $47,000
- Athletic trainer: $44,000
- Physical therapist: $84,000
Career growth is what makes this such an attractive option for many, as once you start on the path of becoming a kinesiologist there’s no end to where it might take you. You may work in private practice, at a hospital, health center, gym, spa, elderly home, rehabilitation center, or just about anywhere that requires physical healing.
An Exciting Career Healing Others
If you’ve always had an interest in helping others and would rather not use medications or serious medical interventions to do so, learning how to become a kinesiologist would be a great career choice. There are so many options for how you can use this degree and all of them allow you to help others through your work.
Depending on the level of study you commit to and what area of specialty you work with, you can expect to spend at least three years preparing for the role. However, once qualified there are countless choices that work with the study of human movement and it’s an area of health that will always be important.