Kinesiology is the study of the way the body moves during physical activity, and has applications in athletics and exercise, physical fitness, and physical rehabilitation, among others. Kinesiology lays the groundwork for a variety of careers, including coaching, athletic training, fitness training, research, teaching, health promotion, and sports medicine. The discipline is a good fit for individuals who enjoy physical activity, are concerned about human health, and who exhibit leadership and people skills, since most careers in kinesiology require working with others to achieve certain goals, whether in sports, training, or education. Because of the physical nature of kinesiology and the emphasis on lab work, online degree programs in kinesiology are often hybrid programs that incorporate campus-based labs and activities, as well as site-based internships, alongside online course work. The best online degree programs in kinesiology are those that are designed to prepare students for licensure or certification needed for specific careers, since such credentials will be valuable in obtaining employment.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Kinesiology
An associate degree in kinesiology is a good fit for students who intend to eventually transfer their credits to a four-year kinesiology program, but who would like to get their general education requirements out of the way at the lower cost of a community college. While online college degree programs in kinesiology are not commonly offered online, some community colleges may offer some individual online courses. Online associate degrees are available, however, in related areas. For example, Broadview University’s Associate of Applied Science in Health Fitness features many of the same courses you would take in an associate-level kinesiology program, including biomechanics, nutrition, fitness analysis, and a supervised internship, and can help prepare students for careers as fitness trainers.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Kinesiology
Most online bachelor degree programs in kinesiology are actually degree completion programs that require students to have completed a certain amount of credits and maintain a certain GPA before enrolling in the program. For example, the University of Florida’s online bachelor’s degree in applied physiology and kinesiology is a completion program that requires students to have already completed anatomy and physiology courses with associated labs, as lab work is difficult to incorporate into an online program designed for place-bound students. Bachelor’s programs often require courses in biomechanics, exercise physiology, fitness programming, exercise nutrition, and care and prevention of athletic injuries. Most quality programs will help students coordinate kinesiology internships at schools, youth or adult recreation centers, wellness centers, fitness studios and organizations, and more.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Kinesiology
Online masters degree programs in kinesiology are more widely available than undergraduate programs. Such programs may deliver their online course work live, such as University of Texas at Tyler’s online Master of Science in Kinesiology program, or asynchronously through Blackboard, like Fresno Pacific University’s online Master of Arts in Kinesiology. Master’s programs in kinesiology, particularly ones that emphasize physical education, are a good fit for credentialed teachers who wish to become P.E. teachers. They are also a good fit for current P.E. teachers who want to increase their earning potential. Courses may include sports psychology, teaching methods in physical education, kinesiology research methods, and physical education assessment.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Kinesiology
Students will be hard-pressed to find a fully online degree program in kinesiology at the doctoral level, although some doctoral programs in kinesiology may offer a few courses online. Ph.D programs in kinesiology are highly specialized, with students concentrating their studies on a specific area of kinesiology, such as sports management, motor control and learning, exercise physiology, or obesity studies, to name a few. Core courses will depend greatly on a student’s specialization, but all students take advanced courses in research methods that will prepare them for their dissertation research. Many students pursuing a Ph.D in Kinesiology participate in teaching assignments, as many are preparing for academic careers teaching kinesiology and related subjects at the college level. Doctoral programs in kinesiology conclude with the submission and oral defense of a dissertation that details a student’s original research into a relevant area of kinesiology.
Online Degree Programs in Kinesiology in the Work Place
Common careers for students who have graduated from accredited online degree programs in kinesiology include coaches and assistant coaches, athletic trainers, corporate wellness managers, fitness instructors and fitness workers, sports and recreation directors, and P.E. teachers, depending on a student’s background and credentials. The median yearly pay for coaches and scouts was $28,340 in May 2010, although coaches who worked at colleges, universities, and professional schools reported a median of $39,750, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Coaching salaries vary according to their employer, years of experience, and location. Coaches will experience rapid job growth over the current decade, with 29% job growth projected through 2020.
Fitness trainers and instructors reported a median yearly salary of $31,090 in May 2010. As with coaches, significant job growth is expected for these professionals through 2020, with 24% job growth projected. Job growth in health and fitness professions will be spurred by demand from people of all ages for ways to lose weight and stay healthy, as well as increasing interest in fitness programs such as yoga and Pilates, the BLS explains. Many fitness trainers supplement their salary with a full-time job in another area, and salaries for fitness trainers depend on one’s experience, type of employer or number of clients, location, and other factors.