Get matched with vetted scholarships and enter our
I’m a high school student I’m a college or graduate student
100% Free. No Spam.
Start typing in the text field above
Load More
Advertiser disclosure

Student-centric advice and objective recommendations

Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.

Kinesiology Major Overview

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

Full Bio

Learn about our editorial policies

Updated: April 25th, 2022
Kinesiology Major Overview

If you’re passionate about exercise and how it can improve people’s lives, then a kinesiology major could be right for you. Students in this field learn about the science of human movement and gain the skills needed to achieve a variety of rewarding careers. In this guide, we’ll discuss what you need to know about majoring in this field. 

Related: Scholarships360 college major guides

What is a kinesiology major?

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. The field is broad in scope and encompasses many subfields such as sports medicine, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and sports psychology. It should be noted that although kinesiology and exercise science are similar, they’re actually two distinct fields of study. Kinesiology is the study of human movement, while exercise science is a subfield that focuses on how to improve health and wellness through that movement. 

Also see: Top physical therapy scholarships

Coursework to expect

Kinesiology students learn all about human anatomy and how the body responds to exercise. They take a science-based curriculum that involves a mix of classroom and laboratory studies. Not only do students learn the scientific nuts and bolts of their field, but they also gain solid communication and interpersonal skills that help them succeed in the professional world. Depending on the program, students may have the option to concentrate in a specific area such as athletic training, physical education, exercise science, or health fitness. 

Below are a few examples of courses you may encounter as a kinesiology major: 

  • Human Anatomy 
  • Disease and Exercise
  • Biochemistry of Exercise and Energy
  • Biomechanics of Human Movement 
  • Sport in American Society
  • Epidemiology in Public Health 
  • Motor Development and Control 

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Opportunities after graduation 

Since there’s so many concentrations within kinesiology, students who major in this field can pursue work in a variety of sectors. For instance, job opportunities range from being an athletic trainer to being a chiropractor. Regardless of the specific line of work you choose, nearly all kinesiology-related professions require a passion for helping others. 

Also see: Top 15 college majors for the future

Jobs you can get with a kinesiology degree

A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology opens up doors to a wide variety of career paths. Below are a few examples of jobs you can pursue with a degree in this field:

1. Athletic trainer

These professionals specialize in injury prevention and treatment for athletes. They commonly provide athletes with injury-preventive devices such as wraps and braces. When injuries do occur, trainers are often the first ones to perform an evaluation.

2020 Median Pay: $49,860 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 23% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Fitness trainers and instructors

Fitness trainers work with clients to promote cardiovascular health, muscle strengthening, and general well-being. They may train individual clients or lead group exercise classes. Trainers commonly work in fitness and recreational centers, or as self-employed freelancers. 

2020 Median Pay: $40,510 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 39% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Health education specialists

These professionals assess the health needs of individuals and communities and develop programs and events to promote wellness. For instance, health education specialists may distribute information about the availability of healthcare services. They may also advocate for improved health resources within their community.

2020 Median Pay: $48,140 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 17% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

4. Exercise physiologist 

Exercise physiologists help people with chronic diseases improve their overall health through exercise and fitness programs. Their patients commonly deal with heart disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes or pulmonary lung disease. 

2020 Median Pay: $50,280 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 13% (Faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Coaches and scouts 

These are the folks who work with athletes to help them perform to the best of their ability. Coaches and scouts typically break into the profession at the middle or high school level, and some go on to land jobs with college and pro sports teams. 

2020 Median Pay: $36,330 per year
Projected Growth (2019-2029): 26% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jobs that require advanced degrees 

A bachelor’s degree in kinesiology provides a great foundation to pursue a number of advanced degrees. Below are a few examples of kinesiology-related professions that require either a master’s or doctorate degree: 

1. Chiropractor

Chiropractors specialize in helping people manage back and neck pain. They use spinal adjustments and other forms of therapy to treat health problems related to nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree is required to enter this field. 

2020 Median Pay: $70,720 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 11% (Faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Physical therapist

Physical therapists help people overcome injuries and chronic conditions. They develop individualized treatment plans that involve exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and the use of equipment. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is required to enter this field. 

2020 Median Pay: $91,010 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 21% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Sports physician 

This line of work involves diagnosing and treating injuries sustained by athletes. Sports physicians, also known as sports medicine doctors, are often employed by college and professional sports teams. They hold a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. 

2020 Median Pay: $208,000 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 3% (Slower than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

4. Sports psychologist 

Sports psychologists work with athletes to help them improve the mental aspect of their game. When athletes have trouble maintaining focus, controlling their temper, or coping with the stress of high-level competition, they turn to sports psychologists for support. These professionals hold a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. 

2020 Median Pay: $82,180 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 8% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Occupational therapist 

This type of therapy involves helping people recover and develop the skills needed for daily living and working. For instance, they may show people with permanent disabilities how to use equipment such as leg braces or wheelchairs. Or they may help elderly patients lead more active lives. Occupational therapists need at least a master’s degree to enter the field. 

2020 Median Pay: $86,280 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 17% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related: Top public health scholarships 

How do I know if this major is right for me? 

If you’re considering a major in kinesiology , ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you enjoy fitness, exercise, and leading a healthy lifestyle? 
  • Are you passionate about helping others achieve their potential? 
  • Are you interested in health science? 
  • Will a degree in kinesiology help you achieve your career goals? 

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then a kinesiology major could be right for you!

Related: How to pick a major

3 reasons to join scholarships360

  • Automatic entry to our $10,000 No-Essay Scholarship
  • Personalized matching to thousands of vetted scholarships
  • Quick apply for scholarships exclusive to our platform

By the way...Scholarships360 is 100% free!

Join For Free