What Can You Do With a Kinesiology Degree?

What Can You Do With a Kinesiology Degree?

Key Takeaways

  • A kinesiology degree opens job opportunities as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, personal trainer, or fitness instructor, among others.

  • A master’s degree in kinesiology is not necessary for most kinesiology jobs, and some positions may only require an associate degree.

  • A degree in kinesiology can open up doors to high-paying jobs in sports, universities, rehabilitation, and community centers.

After completing your bachelor’s in kinesiology, you’ll be at the critical juncture of choosing your career path. Employment potential, future growth, academic choices, and the job market of different fields might be some things you’re thinking through as you determine where to get a job.

So, what can you do with a kinesiology degree? We’re sharing several options that you can consider in this field.

personal trainer working with a client

What can you do with a kinesiology degree?

You can tap multiple careers with a kinesiology degree, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, personal trainers, athletic trainers, and fitness instructors. You can even become a dietician, chiropractor, and rehabilitation expert.

With further education, fields of biomechanics, physicians, and cardiac rehabilitation experts also become accessible to you. We have shortlisted some of the most rewarding careers after the kinesiology degree, along with average salaries and job growth potential in the coming years.

So, if you have a kinesiology degree, here are a few career paths you should consider.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in this exciting field, there are a number of accredited online bachelor’s in kinesiology degree programs available in the United States.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists work to heal patients from the pain of chronic illnesses, fractured bones, or issues with tendons and ligaments. They create plans combining hands-on techniques, exercises, stretching, and therapy equipment to relieve pain or restore functionality of body organs.

A kinesiology student might need additional certifications to pursue a career in physical therapy. Generally, a doctorate degree in kinesiology with a physical therapy specialization paves the path to becoming a licensed physical therapist. There are also a number of online doctorate degree programs in physical therapy for those interested in this career path.

An online master’s in kinesiology from a top-ranked school could be a solid stepping stone into a career as a physical therapist.

  • Salary: $87,232 annual national average
  • Reputed University for Higher Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Job Growth: 15%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
dietician meeting with a client

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers work closely with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. A trainer creates a customized plan tailored to his client’s unique needs, including exercise routines, diet options, and lifestyle changes. These trainings aim to enhance stamina, lose weight, gain muscle strength and mass, and improve physical mobility.

A high school diploma is sufficient to get you started with personal training. At the same time, an associate degree enhances your chances of employment. Personal trainers work in gyms, community centers, sports complexes, or private settings.

  • Salary: $44,960 annual national average
  • Certification: Indiana University
  • Job Growth: 14%, according to BLS


Dieticians help their clients with fitness-related goals, gaining muscles, or recovering from illness-related symptoms by adjusting their diet. They also suggest the foods be taken before and after an exercise regime to ensure maximum vitality and strength.

Some consult dieticians on their own for their fitness-related concerns. In contrast, most people go to dietician consulting for severe diseases like eating disorders, diabetes, and obesity. The dietician closely observes the patient’s history and eating habits and gives counseling services to him along with meal planning.

With your kinesiology or similar degree, you must complete at least 1,000 hours of supervisory training to make your dream a reality.

  • Salary: $56,190 average base salary per year
  • Higher Education: University of Illinois
  • Job Growth: 7%, according to US BLS

Athletic Trainer

The type of personal trainers who work closely with athletes are athletic trainers. Athletic trainers work in high schools, colleges, universities, sports complexes, and sports leagues to provide emergency services in case of injuries and concussions.

They are the first to provide emergency care to the athletes if they suffer from an injury during the practice sessions or live sports. They work closely with the physician for emergency and follow-up treatment. Athletic trainers also prepare athletes for competitions and provide plans for injury prevention and post-injury procedures.

  • Salary: $44,960 average base salary per year
  • Certification: ATC Credential from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA)
  • Job Growth: 14%, according to US BLS


Kinesiologists help people with chronic pain or injuries and apply acupressure techniques to trigger internal body healing. He keenly observes issues related to body position and movement. He tailors his treatment to recover the normal functioning of the human body without the need for surgery or medicine.

Some people interchange the terms kinesiologist and physical therapist. However, these are two distinct job roles. A kinesiologist is concerned with the body’s overall wellness, and they usually work with athletes, unlike physical therapists.

  • Salary: $68,568 average base salary per year
  • Higher Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Job Growth: 17%, according to Zippia

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists work with people with chronic illnesses, long-term disabilities, and developmental disorders. These therapists also treat patients suffering from severe accidental injuries.

Occupational therapists help patients gain mobility and physical balance by applying therapeutic treatments. They achieve this by applying various therapeutic techniques and assistive devices, adjusting daily routines, and providing regular support.

To become an occupational therapist with a kinesiology degree, you need to complete the necessary courses and master’s program in occupational therapy.

  • Salary: $89,481 average base salary per year
  • Higher Education: Alabama State University
  • Job Growth: 12%, according to US BLS
occupational therapist working with a client
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Is a master’s degree necessary to pursue a career as a kinesiology professional?

A master’s degree is not mandatory for a career in kinesiology. However, it enhances one’s chances of obtaining lucrative jobs in the kinesiology sector based on specialization during the master’s degree. Some positions like a personal trainer and fitness instructor can be secured with an associate degree in kinesiology.

Can I open my private practice after completing my kinesiology degree?

Yes, you can open your private practice after completing a kinesiology degree. However, you may need additional certifications and proper licenses to operate independently, depending on your location and the services offered. Moreover, having business acumen will come in handy in running your clinic and gaining clients.

Is a kinesiology degree worth it?

Yes, if you are passionate about movement science and physiology, a degree in kinesiology is worth it, as it can open up doors to high-paying jobs in sports, universities, rehabilitation, and community centers.

If you are passionate about physical movement and body anatomy, a career in kinesiology can be pretty rewarding. However, before finalizing your degree specialization, explore these job roles and their scope to live your dream life.

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