Kinesiologist & Exercise Physiologist Degrees

It can be very easy to take movement for granted when, for so many, it is second nature. Thankfully, when movement is limited or needs to be increased, kinesiologists are the first professionals most people turn to.

The entire field of kinesiology is dedicated to examining how people move, how movement affects wellbeing, and how to help people move better. This broad field encompasses a variety of different careers, including fitness trainers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other movement-related professions. Kinesiologists are employed at hospitals, clinics, gyms, rehab centers, and long term care facilities to help patients and clients reach their mobility and fitness goals.

Job duties vary based on the education and job title. They can encompass writing fitness plans, choosing the best exercises for a client’s goals, helping with rehabilitation exercises, assessing current fitness levels, and assisting with exercises.

Education is critical towards becoming a kinesiologist. At a minimum, kinesiologists must earn an associate degree, which is suitable for careers such as a fitness trainer or a massage therapist. Those who have earned a bachelor’s in kinesiology can pursue careers such as occupational therapy assistants, chiropractors, long term care facility fitness instructors, or professional athletic trainers. Further education, such as a master’s or doctorate in physical therapy, can result in careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical education teacher, or researcher.

While there isn’t an overarching certifying body for kinesiologists, certifications in specialties or chosen careers can be pursued. The American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) both certify fitness trainers. Physical therapists are licensed by their state’s board and typically test with the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Occupational therapists are certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Arizona State University
University of West Alabama (Campus)
Methodist University
East Central University Online
Eastern Oregon University
Concordia University - Saint Paul

Pay for kinesiologists is as varied as the roles they can fill. Typically the more education required for the position the higher the pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), the average annual salaries for kinesiologist professions are:

  • Athletic trainer $50,540
  • Exercise physiologist $54,750
  • Fitness trainers $45,110
  • Occupational therapists $86,210
  • Physical therapists $90,170

The field of kinesiology is rapidly growing. With an aging population and an increased emphasis being placed on fitness and exercise for wellbeing, there is steady demand for professionals who know and understand movement. Between 2018 and 2028, there will be an expected 10 to 22 percent increase in jobs in kinesiology nationally.

Kinesiology offers a wide array of career options with strong earning potential and high job growth. Here are some fast facts about one of the top professions in this discipline: exercise physiology.

Kinesiologist (Exercise Physiology) fast facts
Projected Jobs Created1,500
Projected Job Growth10
Average Salary$54,750
Low Salary$34,990
Median Salary$49,170
High Salary$78,310
Entry-Level EDU Bachelor’s, Master’s Preferred
Sourced from BLS, June 2018

Accredited Degree & Certification Programs in Kinesiology

Kinesiology is a wide field and the desired career determines what type of degree is necessary. Occupational therapists, for example, can be licensed and work in their field with a master’s degree. Physical therapists, on the other hand, will need to earn a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree in order to practice.

Admission requirements for kinesiology programs vary based on the type of degree pursued but typical requirements include:

  • High school diploma or GED for bachelor’s programs
  • Bachelor’s degree for master’s or doctorate programs
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Test scores such as GRE, SAT, or ACT
  • English fluency. Many programs require an IELTS or TOEFL score for international students
  • Resume or CV
  • Official transcripts

Top programs in kinesiology, for all levels of degrees, include:

Arizona State University – College of Health Solutions

With undergraduate degrees in exercise science and kinesiology and graduate degrees in exercise and clinical exercise physiology, students have many options to choose from. Programs offered here are research-based with an emphasis on how to improve physical activity for better health outcomes. Ambitious students can even complete a five-year program and earn both a graduate and undergraduate degree. There is also a certificate program in personal fitness training.

Indiana University – School of Public Health

The master’s in science (MS) in kinesiology at the Indiana University School of Public Health offers students six tracks and two majors. Students all gain a broad foundation in kinesiology and then can specialize in ergonomics, biomechanics, exercise and sports psychology, motor control, exercise physiology, or sport and coaching science. All tracks feature a thesis or non-thesis option, depending on if students want to continue in research or have plans to immediately begin working.

University of Iowa – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department of health and human physiology offers six bachelor’s, four master’s, and one PhD. program. Students can earn arts degrees in health promotion or recreation management and science degrees in human physiology or therapeutic recreation. All of the degree programs place an emphasis on research with the goal of creating a better understanding of sport, recreation, and health.

Pennsylvania State University – College of Health and Human Development

Studying movement and how it impacts health and wellness is at the core of the kinesiology programs at Penn State College of Health and Human Development. Offering bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degree options, this department has a degree for every level of study. They even sponsor an innovative “exercise is medicine” campaign on campus to educate all students, faculty, and staff on how to stay mobile and healthy.

Michigan State University – College of Education

The Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State College of Education intertwines research and education in each of its five graduate and undergraduate programs. This 100-year-old department is a leader in the field as a member of the American Kinesiology Association (AKA), a faculty member as president-elect of the AKA, and three faculty in the prestigious National Academy of Kinesiology. This department places an emphasis on youth and the study of physical activity across a lifespan.

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List of Kinesiologist Schools

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School City State Website grads (2018)
Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington Indiana 452
University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa 444
Texas State University San Marcos Texas 402
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan 351
Texas Tech University Lubbock Texas 332
The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio Texas 331
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick New Jersey 328
Mississippi State University Mississippi State Mississippi 303
University of Houston Houston Texas 303
Temple University Philadelphia Pennsylvania 290
The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington Texas 277
Iowa State University Ames Iowa 272
Grand Valley State University Allendale Michigan 261
Texas A & M University-College Station College Station Texas 261
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville Tennessee 259
Colorado State University-Fort Collins Fort Collins Colorado 257
University of Maryland-College Park College Park Maryland 249
University of Memphis Memphis Tennessee 249
University of Nevada-Las Vegas Las Vegas Nevada 245
University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah 245
University of North Texas Denton Texas 238
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Wisconsin 233
Georgia Southern University Statesboro Georgia 231
University of Northern Colorado Greeley Colorado 226
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park Pennsylvania 224
Appalachian State University Boone North Carolina 222
Tarleton State University Stephenville Texas 216
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro North Carolina 215
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Chattanooga Tennessee 209
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Florida 208
Oregon State University Corvallis Oregon 205
Towson University Towson Maryland 205
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Texas 204
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign Illinois 191
Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches Texas 189
The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso Texas 189
University of Mississippi University Mississippi 188
University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago Illinois 185
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant Michigan 184
Sam Houston State University Huntsville Texas 182
University of Rhode Island Kingston Rhode Island 177
University of Delaware Newark Delaware 177
Concordia University-Chicago River Forest Illinois 176
University of Georgia Athens Georgia 175
Liberty University Lynchburg Virginia 170
Miami University-Oxford Oxford Ohio 170
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Michigan 170
Kennesaw State University Kennesaw Georgia 159
Texas Woman's University Denton Texas 157
Eastern Illinois University Charleston Illinois 156
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman Oklahoma 154
Salisbury University Salisbury Maryland 147
University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu Hawaii 147
SUNY College at Brockport Brockport New York 143
Coastal Carolina University Conway South Carolina 140
SUNY Cortland Cortland New York 140
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff Arizona 139
Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix Phoenix Arizona 134
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana 134
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe Louisiana 129
California State University-Chico Chico California 127
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro Tennessee 127
Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce Texas 121
The University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas 121
Ball State University Muncie Indiana 119
Southeastern Louisiana University Hammond Louisiana 118
Carroll University Waukesha Wisconsin 114
Washington State University Pullman Washington 113
Angelo State University San Angelo Texas 111
Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction Colorado 111
Kent State University at Kent Kent Ohio 111
McNeese State University Lake Charles Louisiana 111
University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville Virginia 110
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania 108
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas 108
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Edwardsville Illinois 107
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Texas 106
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Eau Claire Wisconsin 106
University of Toledo Toledo Ohio 102
Winona State University Winona Minnesota 102
Saint Louis University Saint Louis Missouri 99
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison Wisconsin 99
Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield Missouri 98
Georgia College & State University Milledgeville Georgia 97
The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler Texas 97
Louisiana Tech University Ruston Louisiana 94
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisconsin 91
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Michigan 91
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Oshkosh Wisconsin 90
Boise State University Boise Idaho 88
University of Wyoming Laramie Wyoming 88
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green Kentucky 86
Lindenwood University Saint Charles Missouri 84
William Paterson University of New Jersey Wayne New Jersey 84
Augusta University Augusta Georgia 83
Truman State University Kirksville Missouri 83
Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro Arkansas 81
High Point University High Point North Carolina 79
University of Central Oklahoma Edmond Oklahoma 79
West Texas A & M University Canyon Texas 79
CUNY Queens College Queens New York 78
Texas A & M University-Kingsville Kingsville Texas 78
University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston Texas 77
Northeastern State University Tahlequah Oklahoma 77
University of Central Arkansas Conway Arkansas 77
University of Hawaii at Hilo Hilo Hawaii 75
University of Scranton Scranton Pennsylvania 75
Indiana State University Terre Haute Indiana 74
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Carbondale Illinois 74
University of Southern Indiana Evansville Indiana 72
Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette Indiana 71
Saginaw Valley State University University Center Michigan 71
CUNY Brooklyn College Brooklyn New York 70
University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota 70
University of New Hampshire-Main Campus Durham New Hampshire 68
Colorado State University-Pueblo Pueblo Colorado 67
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem North Carolina 67
Rice University Houston Texas 66
Salem State University Salem Massachusetts 66
Elon University Elon North Carolina 65
Montclair State University Montclair New Jersey 65
Pasadena City College Pasadena California 65
Campbell University Buies Creek North Carolina 64
Mississippi College Clinton Mississippi 64
New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces New Mexico 63
Grand Canyon University Phoenix Arizona 62
Illinois State University Normal Illinois 62
Texas A & M University-San Antonio San Antonio Texas 62
Troy University Troy Alabama 62
University of Minnesota-Duluth Duluth Minnesota 61
Youngstown State University Youngstown Ohio 61
California Lutheran University Thousand Oaks California 60
Gannon University Erie Pennsylvania 60
Saint Ambrose University Davenport Iowa 60
Western Illinois University Macomb Illinois 60
Delaware State University Dover Delaware 58
Sul Ross State University Alpine Texas 58
University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha Nebraska 58
Texas A & M International University Laredo Texas 57
Western Oregon University Monmouth Oregon 57
Fort Lewis College Durango Colorado 55
Syracuse University Syracuse New York 55
Western Washington University Bellingham Washington 55
Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery Alabama 53
Pacific University Forest Grove Oregon 53
Pepperdine University Malibu California 53
Columbus State University Columbus Georgia 52
University of South Carolina-Aiken Aiken South Carolina 52
Whittier College Whittier California 51
Bellarmine University Louisville Kentucky 50
George Mason University Fairfax Virginia 50
California State University-Los Angeles Los Angeles California 49
Georgia Gwinnett College Lawrenceville Georgia 49
Marshall University Huntington West Virginia 49
Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma Washington 49
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti Michigan 48
Elmhurst College Elmhurst Illinois 48
Hope College Holland Michigan 48
Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego California 48
University of Idaho Moscow Idaho 47
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana 47
Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem North Carolina 47
Winthrop University Rock Hill South Carolina 47
Chapman University Orange California 46
CUNY Lehman College Bronx New York 46
Cypress College Cypress California 46
University of Maryland Eastern Shore Princess Anne Maryland 46
Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall Minnesota 45
Moorpark College Moorpark California 44
Morehead State University Morehead Kentucky 44
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg Pennsylvania 44
St. Mary's University San Antonio Texas 44
Westmont College Santa Barbara California 44
Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory North Carolina 43
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Ohio 43
Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston South Carolina 42
Harding University Searcy Arkansas 42
Jacksonville University Jacksonville Florida 42
La Sierra University Riverside California 42
Lander University Greenwood South Carolina 42
Trine University Angola Indiana 42
Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga California 41
County College of Morris Randolph New Jersey 41
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa Texas 41
University of San Francisco San Francisco California 41
Vanguard University of Southern California Costa Mesa California 41
Central Connecticut State University New Britain Connecticut 40
Belmont University Nashville Tennessee 39
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers Florida 39
Western State Colorado University Gunnison Colorado 39
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita California 38
Cumberland University Lebanon Tennessee 38
Hampton University Hampton Virginia 38
Long Island University Brookville New York 38
North Dakota State University-Main Campus Fargo North Dakota 38
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale Florida 38
Regis University Denver Colorado 38
Rockhurst University Kansas City Missouri 38
University of Vermont Burlington Vermont 38
Huston-Tillotson University Austin Texas 37
North Central College Naperville Illinois 37
Santiago Canyon College Orange California 37
University of Mount Union Alliance Ohio 37
University of New England Biddeford Maine 37
Charleston Southern University Charleston South Carolina 36
Citrus College Glendora California 36
De Anza College Cupertino California 36
East Los Angeles College Monterey Park California 36
Northern Michigan University Marquette Michigan 36
University of Evansville Evansville Indiana 36
Wright State University-Main Campus Dayton Ohio 36
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks Reading Pennsylvania 35
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg Kansas 35
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford Oklahoma 35
University of Montevallo Montevallo Alabama 35
West Virginia Wesleyan College Buckhannon West Virginia 35
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa California 34
Benedictine University Lisle Illinois 34
Frostburg State University Frostburg Maryland 34
Minnesota State University Moorhead Moorhead Minnesota 34
Saint Edward's University Austin Texas 34
Springfield College Springfield Massachusetts 34
University of Dayton Dayton Ohio 34
Willamette University Salem Oregon 34
Baylor University Waco Texas 33
Berry College Mount Berry Georgia 33
East Carolina University Greenville North Carolina 33
Fairmont State University Fairmont West Virginia 33
Immaculata University Immaculata Pennsylvania 33
Roanoke College Salem Virginia 33
University of Kentucky Lexington Kentucky 33
Houston Baptist University Houston Texas 32
Modesto Junior College Modesto California 32
Southwestern College Chula Vista California 32
University of Connecticut Storrs Connecticut 32
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Belton Texas 32
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina 32
Wesley College Dover Delaware 32
Murray State University Murray Kentucky 31
Adrian College Adrian Michigan 30
Seattle University Seattle Washington 30
University of Northwestern-St Paul Saint Paul Minnesota 30
Cerritos College Norwalk California 29
Cuesta College San Luis Obispo California 29
El Camino Community College District Torrance California 29
Franklin College Franklin Indiana 29
Hartnell College Salinas California 29
LaGrange College Lagrange Georgia 29
Linfield College-McMinnville Campus McMinnville Oregon 29
Reedley College Reedley California 29
Southern Adventist University Collegedale Tennessee 29
Adams State University Alamosa Colorado 28
Carthage College Kenosha Wisconsin 28
Marian University Indianapolis Indiana 28
Rose State College Midwest City Oklahoma 28
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara California 28
Santa Monica College Santa Monica California 28
Southwestern University Georgetown Texas 28
University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio Texas 28
John Carroll University University Heights Ohio 27
Bakersfield College Bakersfield California 27
Clovis Community College Fresno California 27
Longwood University Farmville Virginia 27
Manchester University North Manchester Indiana 27
Simmons University Boston Massachusetts 27
University of Tulsa Tulsa Oklahoma 27
Endicott College Beverly Massachusetts 26
Long Beach City College Long Beach California 26
Norfolk State University Norfolk Virginia 26
University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville Alabama 26
University of Mary Bismarck North Dakota 26
Carson-Newman University Jefferson City Tennessee 25
Lipscomb University Nashville Tennessee 25
Los Medanos College Pittsburg California 25
San Diego Mesa College San Diego California 25
Skyline College San Bruno California 25
Texas Lutheran University Seguin Texas 25
Biola University La Mirada California 24
Cabrillo College Aptos California 24
Capital University Columbus Ohio 24
Dutchess Community College Poughkeepsie New York 24
Ventura College Ventura California 24
Catawba College Salisbury North Carolina 23
Colby-Sawyer College New London New Hampshire 23
College of San Mateo San Mateo California 23
Dixie State University Saint George Utah 23
Grove City College Grove City Pennsylvania 23
West Liberty University West Liberty West Virginia 22
Barry University Miami Florida 22
Bemidji State University Bemidji Minnesota 22
Central Washington University Ellensburg Washington 22
Fullerton College Fullerton California 22
Gavilan College Gilroy California 22
Lewis University Romeoville Illinois 22
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate Tennessee 22
Mercer County Community College West Windsor New Jersey 22
Missouri Valley College Marshall Missouri 22
Rocky Mountain College Billings Montana 22
University of Arkansas Fayetteville Arkansas 22
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford Bradford Pennsylvania 22
University of Puget Sound Tacoma Washington 22
University of West Alabama Livingston Alabama 22
West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester Pennsylvania 22
Albion College Albion Michigan 21
Belhaven University Jackson Mississippi 21
Briar Cliff University Sioux City Iowa 21
College of the Desert Palm Desert California 21
Georgian Court University Lakewood New Jersey 21
Glendale Community College Glendale California 21
Monmouth College Monmouth Illinois 21
Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio Texas 21
Plymouth State University Plymouth New Hampshire 21
University of Jamestown Jamestown North Dakota 21
Walsh University North Canton Ohio 21
Huntingdon College Montgomery Alabama 20
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie Michigan 20
Manchester Community College Manchester New Hampshire 20
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe Kansas 20
North Carolina Wesleyan College Rocky Mount North Carolina 20
Southwest Baptist University Bolivar Missouri 20
University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa Florida 20
American River College Sacramento California 19
Brigham Young University-Hawaii Laie Hawaii 19
McKendree University Lebanon Illinois 19
Southeastern University Lakeland Florida 19
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria California 18
Antelope Valley College Lancaster California 18
Ave Maria University Ave Maria Florida 18
Avila University Kansas City Missouri 18
Bethel University Saint Paul Minnesota 18
Bob Jones University Greenville South Carolina 18
DePauw University Greencastle Indiana 18
Golden West College Huntington Beach California 18
Merced College Merced California 18
Point University West Point Georgia 18
Schreiner University Kerrville Texas 18
The Master's University and Seminary Santa Clarita California 18
Anderson University Anderson Indiana 17
Anderson University Anderson South Carolina 17
Aquinas College Grand Rapids Michigan 17
Augsburg University Minneapolis Minnesota 17
Cleveland State University Cleveland Ohio 17
Freed-Hardeman University Henderson Tennessee 17
Jarvis Christian College Hawkins Texas 17
Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln Nebraska 17
Occidental College Los Angeles California 17
Rowan College at Gloucester County Sewell New Jersey 17
Saddleback College Mission Viejo California 17
Saint Augustine's University Raleigh North Carolina 17
Seattle Pacific University Seattle Washington 17
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio 17
University of Southern Maine Portland Maine 17
University of Wisconsin-River Falls River Falls Wisconsin 17
William Jessup University Rocklin California 17
William Penn University Oskaloosa Iowa 17
Austin Community College District Austin Texas 16
Bluefield College Bluefield Virginia 16
Hanover College Hanover Indiana 16
Maryville College Maryville Tennessee 16
Michigan Technological University Houghton Michigan 16
Northwestern College Orange City Iowa 16
Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais Illinois 16
Oxnard College Oxnard California 16
Rio Hondo College Whittier California 16
Seton Hill University Greensburg Pennsylvania 16
St Olaf College Northfield Minnesota 16
United States Military Academy West Point New York 16
University of Mount Olive Mount Olive North Carolina 16
Whitworth University Spokane Washington 16
Bryan College-Dayton Dayton Tennessee 15
Cornell College Mount Vernon Iowa 15
Cornerstone University Grand Rapids Michigan 15
Dordt College Sioux Center Iowa 15
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York 15
Irvine Valley College Irvine California 15
King's College Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania 15
Lasell College Newton Massachusetts 15
Ottawa University-Ottawa Ottawa Kansas 15
Peru State College Peru Nebraska 15
Randolph College Lynchburg Virginia 15
Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish Maine 15
San Diego Christian College Santee California 15
San Jose City College San Jose California 15
Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa California 15
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Magnolia Arkansas 15
University of Dubuque Dubuque Iowa 15
University of Mobile Mobile Alabama 15
Wisconsin Lutheran College Milwaukee Wisconsin 15
Butte College Oroville California 14
DeSales University Center Valley Pennsylvania 14
Folsom Lake College Folsom California 14
George Fox University Newberg Oregon 14
Georgetown College Georgetown Kentucky 14
Hamline University Saint Paul Minnesota 14
Hardin-Simmons University Abilene Texas 14
Ohio Northern University Ada Ohio 14
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach Florida 14
Shasta College Redding California 14
Shaw University Raleigh North Carolina 14
Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth Texas 14
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls South Dakota 14
West Valley College Saratoga California 14
Augustana University Sioux Falls South Dakota 13
Cabrini University Radnor Pennsylvania 13
Castleton University Castleton Vermont 13
Central Baptist College Conway Arkansas 13
Hastings College Hastings Nebraska 13
Lee University Cleveland Tennessee 13
Loras College Dubuque Iowa 13
Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware Ohio 13
Santa Ana College Santa Ana California 13
Transylvania University Lexington Kentucky 13
Alabama A & M University Normal Alabama 12
Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain Mississippi 12
Concordia University-Nebraska Seward Nebraska 12
Davis & Elkins College Elkins West Virginia 12
Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill California 12
Dickinson State University Dickinson North Dakota 12
Grand View University Des Moines Iowa 12
Hannibal-LaGrange University Hannibal Missouri 12
Kansas Wesleyan University Salina Kansas 12
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 12
Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston Idaho 12
Manchester Community College Manchester Connecticut 12
Marian University Fond Du Lac Wisconsin 12
Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis Missouri 12
Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City Oklahoma 12
Presentation College Aberdeen South Dakota 12
Raritan Valley Community College Branchburg New Jersey 12
San Diego Miramar College San Diego California 12
Simpson College Indianola Iowa 12
Texas Southern University Houston Texas 12
Tusculum University Greeneville Tennessee 12
Union College Barbourville Kentucky 12
University of North Alabama Florence Alabama 12
Wittenberg University Springfield Ohio 12
Aurora University Aurora Illinois 11
Central Christian College of Kansas McPherson Kansas 11
East Tennessee State University Johnson City Tennessee 11
Eastern University Saint Davids Pennsylvania 11
Emmanuel College Franklin Springs Georgia 11
Evangel University Springfield Missouri 11
Foothill College Los Altos Hills California 11
Greensboro College Greensboro North Carolina 11
Holy Names University Oakland California 11
John Brown University Siloam Springs Arkansas 11
Kean University Union New Jersey 11
Malone University Canton Ohio 11
Prairie State College Chicago Heights Illinois 11
Sacramento City College Sacramento California 11
Southern Nazarene University Bethany Oklahoma 11
Valparaiso University Valparaiso Indiana 11
Wingate University Wingate North Carolina 11
Brevard College Brevard North Carolina 10
Dakota State University Madison South Dakota 10
Defiance College Defiance Ohio 10
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware 10
Hillsdale College Hillsdale Michigan 10
Los Angeles Harbor College Wilmington California 10
Methodist University Fayetteville North Carolina 10
Monterey Peninsula College Monterey California 10
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago Illinois 10
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Bartlesville Oklahoma 10
Pfeiffer University Misenheimer North Carolina 10
Shawnee State University Portsmouth Ohio 10
Smith College Northampton Massachusetts 10
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas 10
Trinity International University-Illinois Deerfield Illinois 10
Alderson Broaddus University Philippi West Virginia 9
Bacone College Muskogee Oklahoma 9
Bethel College-Indiana Mishawaka Indiana 9
Columbia University in the City of New York New York New York 9
Imperial Valley College Imperial California 9
Ithaca College Ithaca New York 9
Kentucky Wesleyan College Owensboro Kentucky 9
Lamar University Beaumont Texas 9
McMurry University Abilene Texas 9
Mission College Santa Clara California 9
Ohio Dominican University Columbus Ohio 9
Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee Oklahoma 9
Onondaga Community College Syracuse New York 9
Salem College Winston-Salem North Carolina 9
Sierra College Rocklin California 9
Southern Wesleyan University Central South Carolina 9
Urbana University Urbana Ohio 9
Benedictine College Atchison Kansas 8
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg Pennsylvania 8
Buena Vista University Storm Lake Iowa 8
Canada College Redwood City California 8
Chabot College Hayward California 8
Chowan University Murfreesboro North Carolina 8
Crafton Hills College Yucaipa California 8
Eureka College Eureka Illinois 8
Feather River Community College District Quincy California 8
Fresno City College Fresno California 8
Los Angeles Mission College Sylmar California 8
Los Angeles Pierce College Woodland Hills California 8
Southwestern Adventist University Keene Texas 8
Sterling College Sterling Kansas 8
SUNY Morrisville Morrisville New York 8
Texas Christian University Fort Worth Texas 8
Trinity Christian College Palos Heights Illinois 8
Triton College River Grove Illinois 8
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls Iowa 8
Alice Lloyd College Pippa Passes Kentucky 7
Barton College Wilson North Carolina 7
Chatham University Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 7
Gateway Community College New Haven Connecticut 7
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke Virginia 7
Lewis and Clark Community College Godfrey Illinois 7
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen California 7
Union University Jackson Tennessee 7
Warner Pacific University Portland Oregon 7
Westminster College Fulton Missouri 7
Asbury University Wilmore Kentucky 6
Becker College Worcester Massachusetts 6
Cedarville University Cedarville Ohio 6
College of Lake County Grayslake Illinois 6
College of the Sequoias Visalia California 6
DePaul University Chicago Illinois 6
East Texas Baptist University Marshall Texas 6
Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg Virginia 6
Georgia State University Atlanta Georgia 6
Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant Iowa 6
Lake Tahoe Community College South Lake Tahoe California 6
Los Angeles Trade Technical College Los Angeles California 6
Montana State University Bozeman Montana 6
Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills Illinois 6
Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon Ohio 6
Normandale Community College Bloomington Minnesota 6
North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park Minnesota 6
Oral Roberts University Tulsa Oklahoma 6
Regis College Weston Massachusetts 6
Sheridan College Sheridan Wyoming 6
William Woods University Fulton Missouri 6
Brigham Young University-Provo Provo Utah 5
Columbia College Sonora California 5
Concordia University-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Michigan 5
Fresno Pacific University Fresno California 5
Greenville University Greenville Illinois 5
Louisiana College Pineville Louisiana 5
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls Texas 5
New England College Henniker New Hampshire 5
Northeast Lakeview College Universal City Texas 5
Northern Vermont University Johnson Vermont 5
San Diego State University San Diego California 5
Southern Connecticut State University New Haven Connecticut 5
Three Rivers Community College Norwich Connecticut 5
Union College Lincoln Nebraska 5
Warner University Lake Wales Florida 5
Wilmington College Wilmington Ohio 5
College of Western Idaho Nampa Idaho 4
Ancilla College Donaldson Indiana 4
Andrews University Berrien Springs Michigan 4
Campbellsville University Campbellsville Kentucky 4
Cedar Crest College Allentown Pennsylvania 4
Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest California 4
Dean College Franklin Massachusetts 4
Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake Indiana 4
Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner Massachusetts 4
Mountwest Community and Technical College Huntington West Virginia 4
Norwich University Northfield Vermont 4
Ouachita Baptist University Arkadelphia Arkansas 4
Piedmont College Demorest Georgia 4
Redlands Community College El Reno Oklahoma 4
San Joaquin Delta College Stockton California 4
Solano Community College Fairfield California 4
Webster University Saint Louis Missouri 4
Bucks County Community College Newtown Pennsylvania 3
Crown College Saint Bonifacius Minnesota 3
Drury University Springfield Missouri 3
Grayson College Denison Texas 3
Hendrix College Conway Arkansas 3
Huntington University Huntington Indiana 3
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne Wyoming 3
Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville Pennsylvania 3
Mendocino College Ukiah California 3
Northeast Community College Norfolk Nebraska 3
Randall University Moore Oklahoma 3
San Diego City College San Diego California 3
Taft College Taft California 3
The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alabama 3
University of Providence Great Falls Montana 3
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras San Juan Puerto Rico 3
University of Southern California Los Angeles California 3
Viterbo University La Crosse Wisconsin 3
Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove Illinois 3
Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs Wyoming 3
Wilson College Chambersburg Pennsylvania 3
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois 2
College of the Redwoods Eureka California 2
CUNY Bronx Community College Bronx New York 2
Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell South Dakota 2
Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City North Carolina 2
Florida International University Miami Florida 2
Goshen College Goshen Indiana 2
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana 2
LeTourneau University Longview Texas 2
Mt San Jacinto Community College District San Jacinto California 2
Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts 2
Palomar College San Marcos California 2
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York 2
The College of Idaho Caldwell Idaho 2
The University of West Florida Pensacola Florida 2
University of Houston-Victoria Victoria Texas 2
University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Mayaguez Puerto Rico 2
University of the Sciences Philadelphia Pennsylvania 2
Lassen Community College Susanville California 1
Azusa Pacific University Azusa California 1
Bay Mills Community College Brimley Michigan 1
Bergen Community College Paramus New Jersey 1
Coker College Hartsville South Carolina 1
College of Saint Mary Omaha Nebraska 1
Contra Costa College San Pablo California 1
El Paso Community College El Paso Texas 1
Evergreen Valley College San Jose California 1
Glendale Community College Glendale Arizona 1
Hiram College Hiram Ohio 1
Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights Minnesota 1
Keene State College Keene New Hampshire 1
Lebanon Valley College Annville Pennsylvania 1
Macomb Community College Warren Michigan 1
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Abington Abington Pennsylvania 1
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Brandywine Media Pennsylvania 1
Rowan College at Burlington County Mount Laurel New Jersey 1
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud Minnesota 1
Texas A & M University-Texarkana Texarkana Texas 1
University of Saint Mary Leavenworth Kansas 1
Victor Valley College Victorville California 1
Yuba College Marysville California 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online Programs in Kinesiology

Students who need greater flexibility in their studies can choose to complete an online or hybrid program. These programs allow students the ability to complete coursework on their own schedule without having to relocate. Also, hybrid and online programs allow students to continue to work while completing their studies or maintain a family/studies balance.

Top online and hybrid kinesiology programs include:

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – School of Kinesiology

The School of Kinesiology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers an online health and wellness degree. This bachelor’s in science program provides a path towards becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). While the program typically takes four years to complete, it can be accelerated. Graduates are prepared to implement wellness programs in workplaces, develop community fitness programs to improve health, and evaluate existing programs for efficacy.

The University of Texas at Tyler – College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Faculty at The University of Texas at Tyler College of Nursing and Health Sciences are published in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the National Medical Association, and the International Journal of Exercise Authors.

Because of the strong publishing tradition at UTT, students have access to cutting-edge research and developments in kinesiology. Courses here are offered in a traditional face-to-face format, online, or a combination of the two offering students the flexibility to pursue their studies as they see fit.

California University Pennsylvania – College of Education and Human Services

A master’s in science in exercise science and health promotion and a professional certificate can be earned in as little as a year at California University Pennsylvania College of Education and Human Services. This 100 percent online program prepares students for careers in athletics, physical fitness, healthcare, and corporate wellness.

Fresno Pacific University – School of Natural Sciences

Work and study can happen simultaneously for students earning an online master of arts in kinesiology at Fresno Pacific University School of Natural Sciences. This program has an emphasis on physical education and prepares graduates to be educators in fitness and exercise for all grade levels, including college. An undergraduate degree in kinesiology is required for admission but may be substituted for proof of work experience in physical fitness education.

The University of Kansas, Edwards Campus

The University of Kansas (Edwards Campus) offers online and in-person bachelor’s in exercise science. Graduates of this program have the skills to write nutrition plans, help preserve mobility in elderly patients, assist military personnel in readiness fitness, coach in strength and conditioning for athletes, and help treat and prevent chronic diseases through exercise.

School City State Website grads (2018)
American Public University System Charles Town West Virginia 313
Georgia Southern University Statesboro Georgia 231
University of Northern Colorado Greeley Colorado 226
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro North Carolina 215
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Florida 208
Towson University Towson Maryland 205
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Texas 204
California Baptist University Riverside California 202
The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso Texas 189
Sam Houston State University Huntsville Texas 182
Concordia University-Chicago River Forest Illinois 176
Liberty University Lynchburg Virginia 170
Texas Woman's University Denton Texas 157
University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu Hawaii 147
Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul Minnesota 141
University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington North Carolina 140
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe Louisiana 129
Angelo State University San Angelo Texas 111
McNeese State University Lake Charles Louisiana 111
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Texas 106
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Mississippi 97
University of Wyoming Laramie Wyoming 88
Texas A & M University-Kingsville Kingsville Texas 78
Sul Ross State University Alpine Texas 58
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg Missouri 56
Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery Alabama 53
Logan University Chesterfield Missouri 52
Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory North Carolina 43
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa Texas 41
Southern Utah University Cedar City Utah 37
San Antonio College San Antonio Texas 34
University of Connecticut Storrs Connecticut 32
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio 30
LaGrange College Lagrange Georgia 29
Baker University Baldwin City Kansas 25
Mercy College Dobbs Ferry New York 23
University of the Southwest Hobbs New Mexico 21
University of Louisville Louisville Kentucky 14
East Mississippi Community College Scooba Mississippi 7
United States Sports Academy Daphne Alabama 7
Clarendon College Clarendon Texas 5
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls Texas 5
University of Western States Portland Oregon 3
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Stillwater Oklahoma 2
Lakeland University Plymouth Wisconsin 2
Southeastern Oklahoma State University Durant Oklahoma 2
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park Pennsylvania 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Core & Elective Courses in Kinesiology Programs

Kinesiology courses train students to understand and analyze movement. Skills gained in these programs vary based on the level of degree pursued. Depending on the specialization, graduates of a master’s level program will have the ability to:

  • Educate clients on wellness
  • Write exercise programs to improve health
  • Help patients recover from injury with therapy
  • Coach professional athletes on movement to improve performance
  • Teach physical education classes to groups of students
  • Help prevent and treat diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease through physical movement
  • Analyze client movement to recommend exercise to improve mobility

Course requirements vary based on school, degree, and specialization. However, there is a core set of courses that are typically required. These include:

  • Biology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Math
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Health promotion
  • Science of exercise
  • Corporate wellness
  • Injury prevention
  • Psychology
  • Coaching
  • Wellness

Because working as a kinesiologist often entails working directly with clients or patients, most kinesiology programs have an internship, practicum, or clinical experience requirement.

Accreditation of Kinesiology Degree Programs

It is important to attend an accredited program for numerous reasons. First, it guarantees that the program has reached a minimum standard of quality of education. Secondly, it makes transferring between programs easier as the courses completed are more likely to have equivalencies and be recognized by other institutions. Third, it can make the path for certification and licensure much quicker.

There are two main kinds of certification- programmatic and regional or national. Programmatic certification is for a specific course of study and can be for a department or just a single program. Regional or national accreditation is typically for an entire school, college, or university. For example, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) are all regional accrediting bodies Students should look for both to ensure the highest quality program.

Programmatic accreditation is done based on the kind of kinesiology degree obtained. Top programmatic accreditors include:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
  • Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES)
  • Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE)
  • The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)

Career Outlook

With such a variety of careers for kinesiologists, there is a wide variety of pays and career outlooks. Here are the top kinesiologist positions and projected growth from 2018 to 2028:

  • Occupational therapists: $84,270 (median annual salary) and 18 percent job growth
  • Exercise physiologist: $49,270 (median annual salary) 10 percent job growth
  • Fitness trainers and instructors: $39,820 (median annual salary) and 13 percent job growth
  • Athletic trainer: $47,510 (median annual salary) and 19 percent job growth
  • Physical therapists: $87,930 (median annual salary) and 22 percent job growth

According to the BLS (May 2019), the detailed salary percentiles for exercise physiologists are:

  • 10th percentile: $34,990
  • 25th percentile: $41,530
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,170
  • 75th percentile: $61,650
  • 90th percentile: $78,310

This highest paying states currently are California, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, and Massachusetts.

Career Facts Kinesiologist (Exercise Physiology)
Related CareersChiropractor, massage therapist, nurse, respiratory therapist, sports administrator
Common Job TitlesFitness trainer, athletic trainers, occupational therapist, physical therapist, physical education teacher
Technology & EquipmentFree weights, elastic therapy bands, dumbells, medicine balls, gym equipment such as stationary bikes and treadmills, oximeters, body fat composition scales, blood pressure monitors, dynamometers for measuring force, measuring devices such as measuring tape and goniometers, stethoscope
Sourced from BLS, June 2018

Licensing & Certification in Kinesiology

Some kinesiologist careers require certification and licensure while others do not. For some careers, there are certifications that may be obtained to increase credibility and employability.

Exercise physiologists are only required to be licensed in the State of Louisiana. For all other states, licensing and certification is optional. Most exercise physiologists are certified through the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP). In order to be eligible to take the test, applicants are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree. Continuing education is required to maintain certification.

Occupational therapists are required to be certified and licensed in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Applicants must graduate from an Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in order to be eligible to take the certification exam. Examinations are done through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Licensing is done on a state by state basis and may require fieldwork in addition to education and a passing exam score.

Physical therapists can obtain certification through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). While licensure is mostly done on a state by state basis, there has been a compact enacted by 27 states standardizing requirements and allowing for reciprocity in participating states. Certification can be obtained by passing the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Applicants must check with their jurisdiction to learn about education requirements.

Athletic trainers are required to be licensed in all but four states. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most require certification from the National Athletic Trainer Association (NATA). Applicants must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited program and pass the NATA Board of Certification (BOC) exam. Prospective athletic trainers should check with their local boards to ensure they meet all the requirements prior to applying for licensure.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world-traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was six and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 25 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. When not writing or parenting she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.