How to Become a Kinesiologist

If you are interested in human movement and well-being, then a career as a kinesiologist may be right for you. Kinesiologists study efficiency and optimizing movements in our bodies.

In this career you might work with those in rehabilitation as they struggle to get back to being fully operational, or athletes who are simply trying to optimize their movements to become more efficient at their sport. Occasionally kinesiologists will work in the workplace, similar to a corporate wellness director, and help build programs in the organization to improve the health and well-being of employees within the company.

Kinesiologists may be self employed, work with a company or be part of a medical group comprised of other health professionals.

If you are thinking about a career in kinesiology, then you might consider:

  • Do you have an entrepreneur mindset? Often kinesiologists build their own practices. You may have to be good at finding clients and driving your own business. If this is a concern to you, then you might need to look for a specialty that will keep you in an organizational practice, rather than an individual one.
  • Are you health-minded and interested in active lifestyles? A genuine interest in this field will go a long ways towards the difficult bookwork and courses you will need to take in biology, anatomy, and other areas.
  • Do you motivate others? It is important for most kinesiologists to be a source of inspiration, since they work directly with their clients. Working with injury rehabilitation, professionally analyzing and optimizing athletes’ movements or working in other client-based areas will require personal connection and professional encouragement to be successful in your practice.

Education and Requirements

To become a kinesiologist you will need a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or human kinetics. Many focus in specific areas, like physical therapy or sports fitness during their education. Choosing a specialized focus or getting further education in a postgraduate program will help with career options and staying competitive in the job market. Specific areas of kinesiology, like bio-mechanics or orthopedic surgery are additional education options for kinesiologist majors desiring an in-depth career path.

Salary and Outlook

With a large diversity of available jobs and positions in kinesiology, the salary in this field will depend on experience, position and education. Building a reputation and having a valuable education to build your practice on will be important.

Wages can range anywhere from $37,000-$65,000 for average kinesiologists, with higher salaries for specialty careers and master’s level positions. Because many kinesiologists have their own practice and are self employed, this number is very difficult to pin down.

Outlook in this industry is very good. With health and wellness becoming an increasingly important factor in the business world and a high priority in the lives of individuals, kinesiology positions should see increased growth.

As corporations look for ways to cut insurance costs for their employees and athletes continue to be a popular social source of entertainment, kinesiologists will continue to be hired to help in these areas, studying and optimizing human movement.

Tips for Becoming a Kinesiologist:

  1. Focus on a well-rounded education and consider choosing a specific focus in this field. By having a developed history and a specialized value, you will be more competitive in the job market and a more valuable candidate for employers or clients looking to hire a kinesiologist.
  2. Consider shadowing or interviewing a kinesiologist. Getting a feel for a specific area of work in this field might be helpful in determining the path you would like to take.
  3. Volunteer in the community. Getting to know a network of people will be important for expanding your practice. By volunteering in the community, you build a great resume piece, plus you get to know people you might not otherwise meet.

Sources: http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-i-become-a-kinesiologist.htm, http://www.americankinesiology.org/careers-in-kinesiology, http://ahhri.nan.on.ca/article/health-careerskinesiologist-181.asp, http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/forging-your-fitness-career-path

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