Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of how the body moves.
One of the premises that is involved in the classes that a kinesiology major would take is that there is a certain innate healing energy that can be found within the body.
It does its best to take care of itself, but sometimes might need a little help to reach the right state.
Numerous career options are available to those with a kinesiology degree.
Here are some of the best-paying opportunities which are currently available.
Jobs that Require a Kinesiology Degree
Kinesiology degrees are available at every level.
Most jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology to be considered for employment, but some careers may accept applicants who are still kinesiology majors.
Here are the best jobs that require a degree in this field and what you can expect to earn.
#1. Personal Trainer
With a kinesiology degree, you can help people achieve their fitness goals.
You could work at a private gym, be employed as a contractor for a professional athlete, or work with schools or sports teams to help people boost their health and physical fitness.
There are numerous specialties that are available in this career option, from being an aerobics instructor to designing training regimens, so an interest can be pursued.
Personal trainers generally start around $30,000 per year, but it is not uncommon for those with a kinesiology degree in this career field to earn twice that amount.
Private contractors can set their own rates and hours.
#2. Exercise Physiologist
This career option would have you using your kinesiology degree to help perform individualized health assessments.
You could be called upon to create specific exercise programs for a prescribed treatment plan.
Some kinesiology majors interested in this career option work with personal trainers that need help with human kinetics in the services they provide.
The goal of this job option is to help people establish helpful and healthy lifestyle routines.
Exercise physiologists typically start around $40,000 per year.
Having 5 years of professional experience and a graduate degree can double this salary in some geographical locations.
Private contractors can earn even more and may have additional hour flexibility.
Many kinesiology majors eventually find their way into a career by becoming employed as a kinesiologist.
In this career option, you would be performing research on the movements of the human body to further the educational resources that are available.
You might also find employment in rehabilitation facilities, therapy centers, or in clinical research settings.
To work as a kinesiologist, a graduate degree in this field or an associated area of medical science is usually required in addition to a 4-year degree in kinesiology.
Some jobs may also require a specialization in data collection.
Kinesiologist earn about $65,000 when they first get started, with some geographic areas offering a salary that may be up to 20% higher.
As professional experience increases, so will the salary, with the average kinesiologist with a graduate degree often earning above $100,000 annually.
This career option allows those with a kinesiology degree to develop or implement new prosthetics for patient use.
It is a job where the design, fitting, and therapeutic use of medical devices is part of the daily routine.
This may include working directly with patients to provide a customized fit, adapting medical devices to a prescription or treatment plan need, or researching how new technologies can improve the field of orthotics, like 3D printing.
The goal of this career option is to help people restore their physical functioning in some way.
An orthotist can earn an annual salary of around $70,000.
A graduate degree is typically required for employment in this career option.
There may be specific research requirements that require additional education or experience as well, even for an entry-level job.
#5. Physical Therapist
In this career option, you would need to receive a graduate degree in an approved area of physical therapy to find employment.
A kinesiology major would need to think of this option as a “pre-physical therapy” career opportunity, like earning a science-based degree before entering medical school.
(A kinesiology degree does qualify many applicants to apply for an accredited medical school to become a physician.)
The goal of this career option would be to help people recover movement and motion while reducing pain by implementing a therapy plan.
This may include lifting weights, performing stretches, and performing massage therapy to help bring pain relief.
Physical therapists typically earn about $80,000 per year in the United States right now.
Employment may either be with a medical provider, in a partnership, or working alone in a self-run business.
Some payment rates may be dictated by insurance plans.
#6. Strength and Conditioning Coach or Trainer
Sometimes this position might be advertised as an “athletic trainer.”
It is a little different from personal training or exercise physiology because there is one specific goal in mind: to improve strength and stamina.
Sports teams may hire someone with a kinesiology degree to be a team coach so that multiple athletes can be served by the same position.
Some teams may hire individual trainers to help people be able to avoid injury.
Employment in this career option can be found in schools, in military settings, and in medical facilities.
It is possible to find work in this position with a 4-year degree only, although applicants with a graduate degree will often qualify for a higher salary.
Strength and conditioning coaches and trainers earn an average of about $60,000 annually.
When working for an educational institution in a state-based job, then the average salary goes up about 20%.
Coaches and trainers working in medical settings can expect a 30-40% increase in salary.
Having a graduate degree also adds up to 20% more in potential salary with this career option.
#7. Massage Therapist
Knowing how the body moves and what can stimulate it to heal can make a kinesiology major become a very effective massage therapist.
This career option is often considered to be an entry-level job, but under the right circumstances, it can be a high-paying job.
Massage therapists can work independently, in physical therapy settings, or in medical facilities.
They may be called upon to design a series of therapeutic sessions to assist with a patient treatment plan as well.
There are two basic forms of massage therapy available: recreational and medical.
Recreational therapy would be more like the portable chairs you might see at a mall.
Medical therapy could be a prescribed service offered by a patient’s doctor.
The goal of this job is to provide pain relief.
Massage therapy is often used to stimulate the body’s muscles so they will relax, but some health conditions can benefit from regular therapy.
Individuals suffering from migraines often seek out regular assistance from a local massage therapist.
When employed in more of a recreational setting, a full-time salary with an employer might only be about $30,000 per year.
Working independently, it would be possible to earn up to $60 per hour when providing specific services, such as a neck and back massage.
Medical massage therapists typically earn about $60,000 per year, especially if they hold a graduate degree in kinesiology or a related field.
When combined with other forms of therapy, such as occupational therapy, it may be possible to double this annual salary in some locations.
#8. Activity Specialist
A growing trend in the United States is to provide community-based activities through a local parks and recreation department.
Specific classes are offered, ranging from Yoga to park aerobics, allowing people to come closer to their fitness goals without needing to sign up for a gym membership.
These group activities can also remove the discomfort that some feel when working one-on-one with a trainer.
Activity specialists usually work part-time so that it works with another career option for their kinesiology degree.
Most parks and recreation departments may allow 3-4 classes to be offered per week, although larger cities may have enough interest in kinesiology activities to provide a full-time position.
This type of position is usually paid on a per-class or per-activity schedule.
Payment rates may vary from $20 per class to $200 per class, depending on the size of the class and the activity being performed.
If working in a full-time position, expect to receive an offer between $15-$20 per hour in most regions.
#9. Youth Services Counselor
Juvenile justice is an overlooked career possibility when pursuing a career in kinesiology.
Youth corrections, residential treatment facilities, outdoor programs, and other youth services that may be court-ordered are often required to provide recreational, therapeutic, and experiential training and therapy options.
In this type of career, you might be asked to take a group of at-risk youths on a multi-day hike into the backcountry.
You could be asked to work with horses and design therapy programs that work with the animals.
Many kinesiology majors can find work as recreational officers in the juvenile justice system, designing programs and activities that can keep kids active while in a high security setting.
Because this is considered a social career option, the salary options which are available are typically lower than in other kinesiology careers.
Most positions have an average salary that is under $40,000 per year – even if you hold a graduate degree.
Hours can be irregular and workers may be called upon to deal with potentially violent youth at times.
#10. Medical Writer
Many people today prefer to research information about how they can help themselves.
Whether they have stress that needs to go away or an injury that they’re trying to heal, working as a medical writer can help people receive the information they need.
Medical writers are typically paid at a higher rate than other writers because of their specific area of expertise.
You can find employment with print media, televised media, or work independently as a blogger or administrator of your own website.
One reason to pursue this career opportunity is the sheer number of products or services that can be provided, creating multiple sources of passive income generation.
You could write an ebook on kinesiology and sell it on Amazon Direct Publishing.
You could write a therapeutic self-help book that might be picked up by a traditional publisher.
A daily blog could create regular advertising revenue through sponsored posts, banner advertising, or direct sales (or all 3).
You could even design your own therapeutic products to sell directly to customers if you wish.
The salary options for a medical writer depend on how active they are.
A full-time medical writer for media can typically earn about $50,000 per year, though highly experienced writers with a kinesiology background could earn over $100,000 if their writing is somewhat prolific.
On the other end of the spectrum, a writer that is relying on blog revenues with their kinesiology knowledge might earn an average of $12,000 per year.
There is one added benefit to this career option: most medical writers can set their own hours.
When there are several products available to the general marketplace, it becomes possible to generate enough passive income that some days may require zero work to earn a full-time income.
What Are the Best Jobs for Kinesiology Majors?
Many of the jobs that are available for kinesiology majors are based on the principle that people can help themselves heal.
Whether it is from stress, a physical injury, or another issue that is affecting personal health, these careers will help you use the knowledge you’ve gained from your education and change the world in a positive way.
Although some job opportunities do pay more than others, the rewards of this career go beyond a regular paycheck.
There is a certain pride which comes when you can help people improve their lives.
Finding the right job often means looking for the intangible rewards which are offered in addition to a fair paycheck.