In order to become a kinesiologist, a person must complete a four-year university degree in Kinesiology, Human Kinetics, or an equivalent major. There are a number of specialization options for kinesiologists, such as athletics, rehabilitation, or ergonomics. Kinesiologists work in a variety of settings and may perform a wide variety of duties.
Kinesiology is the study of human movement. This might include optimizing movement for people like professional athletes if the kinesiologist is highly interested in fitness and sports. Other kinesiologists work to rehabilitate movement in people with disabilities or injuries, often working in combination with other health and medical professionals. Improving ergonomic conditions and health in the workplace or creating programs that help injured or disabled employees return to work are other potential focus areas someone who wants to become a kinesiologist might choose.
A person who wants to become a kinesiologist should have a strong interest in anatomy, physiology, health, and possibly also fitness and recreation if he or she plans on working in athletics. Successful kinesiologists enjoy working with people and machines, and are self-motivated problem-solvers who are willing to assume leadership positions. Kinesiology is a rapidly developing and changing field, and someone who wants to become a kinesiologist should be open to change and enjoy keeping up with new scientific research in this field.
There are many different career path options for a person who wants to become a kinesiologist. Kinesiologists work in medical settings, research, occupational and physical therapy, and in athletic training, among other fields. An advanced degree or other further training at the postgraduate level will likely be required for some of these career options, such as specialized work in prostheses, bio-mechanics, or orthopedic surgery. Kinesiologists may work for an employer, enter into a partnership with other medical and health professionals, or be self-employed.
The career outlook for someone who wants to become a kinesiologist is good, particularly if training beyond an undergraduate degree is obtained. Salary will depend on years of experience, training, specialization, and the setting in which the kinesiologist chooses to work. The broad range of potential jobs and areas of focus is a strong benefit of this career, particularly for people with an entrepreneurial mindset. This may be considered to be a downside rather than a benefit for other people, such as those who would prefer a clear path to follow which would guarantee advancement or promotion within a single company.