A person who wants to help people with movement disorders and other difficulties with moving may want to know what the degree needed to be a kinesiologist is. There are a few degree options that prepare a person to work as a kinesiologist. A kinesiologist may also be called a kinesiotherapist or an exercise physiologist.
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A person could earn a bachelor’s degree in an accredited program to become a kinesiologist. A Bachelor of Science degree in a major such as exercise physiology, exercise science or kinesiotherapy is a good choice. Some accredited colleges and universities may offer this as a bachelor of arts degree. There are not a lot of undergraduate programs directly related to kinesiology.
Earning a master’s degree is a good choice for a person who wants to advance in their career as a kinesiologist. While some graduate schools may offer a kinesiotherapy graduate degree, others may offer a related degree such as a master’s in exercise physiology or exercise science.
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College Courses That Are Helpful for a Kinesiology Career
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, taking a wide range of courses in physiology, human anatomy and other sciences is a good idea for a person who wants to work as a kinesiologist. Classes such as biology, biochemistry, body mechanics, physics and medical terminology will be helpful for a career in kinesiotherapy. A person may also want to take courses in business management, patient care, healthcare administration, business accounting, government affairs and communications. Many kinesiology jobs are at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). A person may wish to apply for an internship during their undergraduate or graduate studies to learn more about how the VA works, the services it provides and the patients that it serves.
A clinical internship is required to become a kinesiologist. The American Kinesiotherapy Association offers a registration program for bachelor’s and master’s degree holders who have completed an accredited program and a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours as a kinesiotherapy intern. The 1,000-hour clinical internship involves having the student shadow a kinesiologist and work under their supervision. Once a person is registered, they can earn certification in a specialty of kinesiology. The available specialties include adaptive sports, amputee, aquatics, cardiac rehabilitation, driver rehabilitation and ergonomic evaluation. Geriatrics, multiple sclerosis, posture evaluation, senior health and safety and weight management are also specialties for registered kinesiotherapists. After a person is registered as a kinesiotherapist, they need to take continuing education classes to maintain their registration. Those courses may be in research methods, discoveries in kinesiology techniques, human physiology and other related topics.
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Knowing what type of degree a person needs to become a kinesiologist helps a person choose the right major in college and graduate school. Earning the right degree and taking the proper courses will prepare a person for a successful career in kinesiology. A person who wants to know what degree is needed to be a kinesiologist may also want to consider applying for an internship or getting some work experience in a related field during their undergraduate or graduate studies.