2021 Best Online Kinesiology Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

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If you care about helping others be fit, active, and all-around healthy, then an online kinesiology degree could help prepare you to turn that interest into a fulfilling career.

Best Online Kinesiology Degrees

As a kinesiology student, you’d study topics like health promotion and human anatomy. After graduation, you could apply your newfound knowledge by helping others regain their strength or achieve optimal athletic performance.

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Earning an online kinesiology degree could be the first step toward becoming a professional in this growing field.

Online Kinesiology Degrees

Online Kinesiology Degrees

The field of kinesiology addresses the movement of the human body. Kinesiology professionals understand the mechanics of movement and apply that knowledge to help others become stronger, fitter, or more mobile.

At the bachelors degree level, kinesiology majors study topics like:

  • Exercise psychology
  • Fitness safety
  • Health promotion and communication
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Physical assessment
  • Program management
  • Rehabilitation practices
  • Sports medicine

Some bachelor’s degree programs in kinesiology have one or more options for concentrations or minors. These vary from school to school but could include health promotion, public health, or athletic training.

Elective courses can also help prepare you for specific career tracks. Depending on the program, the selection of electives may include topics like childhood fitness, exercise instruction, strength conditioning, or nutrition fundamentals.

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Kinesiology students may also participate in internships. Potential internship sites could include rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, recreational gyms, or health advocacy organizations.

After graduation, some kinesiology graduates enter the workforce. Exercise physiologists may have training in kinesiology, and other related positions include athletic trainer, health educator, fitness instructor, and coach.

Kinesiology studies can also provide valuable preparation for allied health professional programs. Some graduates continue their education with studies to become physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, or medical doctors.

Kinesiology Careers & Salaries

Kinesiology Careers & Salaries

Many kinesiology graduates have their sights set on fitness-related careers. Kinesiology studies especially prepare students for the responsibilities of exercise physiologists. These professionals work with patients in healthcare settings to help them develop safe and effective exercise plans to target their individual health needs.

Other kinesiology majors go on to become athletic trainers or fitness trainers, often working for schools or gyms. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise physiologists earn a median salary of $50,280 per year.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Occupational Therapy Assistants $62,940
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $60,660
Physical Therapist Assistants $59,770
Health Education Specialists $56,500
Exercise Physiologists $50,280
Athletic Trainers $49,860
Fitness Trainers and Instructors $40,510
Coaches and Scouts $36,330
Occupational Therapy Aides $30,180
Physical Therapist Aides $28,450

A passion for sport and exercise could inspire kinesiology graduates to become athletic coaches. Those who earn teaching licensure may work as physical education teachers in public or private schools.

Kinesiology students can also provide education in non-school settings. Health educators, for instance, work in health departments or community centers to teach people about the importance of physical activity and healthy living.

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Kinesiology is related to both physical and occupational therapy, so working as a therapist aide can be an entry-level job for those with kinesiology training. Therapist assistant jobs may be available as well, but they will require specific training and licensure.

With further education, this degree could also be a stepping stone to a career in medicine, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.

Bachelor of Kinesiology Curriculum & Courses

Bachelor of Kinesiology Curriculum

Kinesiology students study topics like human anatomy, healthy living, education, communication, and patient care. Course examples include:

  • Assessment Methods: Before you can create exercise plans for clients, you’ll first assess their current abilities and deficits by using methods like the ones you’ll study in this course.
  • Fitness for Special Populations: This course addresses caring for people with special health needs, such as advanced age, cardiac disease, or pulmonary damage.
  • Exercise Principles: You’ll study human physiology and how it relates to movement, strength training, exercise warm ups, and conditioning practices.
  • Fundamentals of Kinesiology: This introductory class sets the stage for your upper-division kinesiology courses.
  • Health Communication: Your time in this class will cover ways to share health information with patients, families, other care providers, and the general public.
  • Health Education and Promotion: You’ll learn instructional methods for communicating health and fitness information, and you’ll also discuss other strategies for influencing behavioral decisions.
  • Motor Development: You can learn about gross and fine motor skills throughout the human lifespan.
  • Movement of the Human Body: The curriculum for this class covers muscle and bone anatomy, the mechanics of movement, and principles for exercising safely and avoiding injury.
  • Nutrition: This class addresses the fundamentals of good eating that fuels the body so that you can support your patients’ all-around health and wellness.
  • Program Leadership: You can learn to analyze community needs, plan programs to meet those needs, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your programs after implementation.

Of the 120 credit hours typically required for a bachelor’s degree, you may need to earn at least 36 credit hours from coursework that is specific to your kinesiology major.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology Program

Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology Program

Figuring out where to attend college is one of the most important steps in getting ready to earn a kinesiology degree. Looking through this list of questions may help you decide.

  • How much does it cost? The per-credit price varies from one school to another. It is possible, though, that financial aid can lower your tuition if you qualify.
  • Is the school accredited? The most reputable degrees—the ones most likely to lead to graduate programs or satisfactory employment—come from regionally accredited colleges.
  • What is the class schedule? Term lengths at online colleges may range from 6 to 16 weeks. Courses can be held year-round or during set semesters. You may check in at specific times or have the option to do schoolwork 24/7.
  • Where can I do an internship? Some kinesiology programs have partnerships with internship sites in their nearby area or around the country.

A school’s admissions counselor can answer these questions and more.

Admissions Requirements

Kinesiology Degrees admissions

The first step toward earning a kinesiology degree is applying and being admitted to school. Requirements vary from one college to the next, but common application materials include:

  • Personal essay
  • Resume
  • Scores from the ACT or SAT (not required at all schools)
  • Transcripts from high school and any college classes

Online degree in kinesiology programs may have set application deadlines, or they may offer rolling admissions and the opportunity to apply at any time. No matter when you apply, there may be a required fee to cover the cost of processing your materials.

Accreditation

Kinesiology Degrees accreditation

Students often enter kinesiology programs with future studies in mind. For example, they may plan to enter a professional program for physician assistant or physical therapist training.

Without a regionally accredited degree, getting into a graduate program may not be possible. In fact, regional accreditation is critical for a variety of reasons. Accreditation indicates that a college meets common academic standards, bolstering a college’s reputation.

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Other higher education institutions are more likely to accept transfer credits from regionally accredited schools. Job applicants are also more likely to get hired if they hold accredited degrees. Plus, accreditation is a requirement when using federal student aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Kinesiology Degrees financial aid

Government and private financial assistance can be quite valuable when it comes time to pay your tuition bills. You can plan accordingly by turning in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The federal government has grant and loan programs available for qualifying undergraduate students. Many states offer similar programs, and you may be able to receive both state and federal funds. Colleges often hand out tuition assistance as well. Students may receive scholarships because of merit or financial need.

Similarly, private organizations run scholarship programs. You can apply for scholarships that are specific to kinesiology majors or ones that are for college students in any department. Some workplaces also have tuition assistance funds for their employees.

What Is Kinesiology?

What Is Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the study of movement of the human body. If you pursue a college degree in kinesiology, you can learn about the parts of the body and how they work together to enable movement. You can also study ways to increase people’s mobility or develop their physical health through exercise.

Kinesiology is useful in a variety of disciplines. Exercise physiologists usually have training in physiology. The lessons learned in this program can also help graduates become effective athletic trainers, fitness instructors, coaches or health educators. Kinesiology bachelor’s degrees can also get students ready for advanced studies in allied health fields.

Is Kinesiology a Good Major?

Yes, kinesiology is a good major for many undergraduate students. This degree program can provide the foundation for a career in fitness, exercise, athletics, or wellness. With kinesiology studies, you can turn your personal passion for healthy living into a career that benefits others.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most exercise physiologists earn between $36,070 and $78,170 annually. Those who hold government positions make a median of $75,740 each year. Professionals in this field also work as health educators, coaches, and fitness instructors. These jobs can help others improve their health or perform their best.

Is Kinesiology Hard?

kinesiology major

Whether you find kinesiology challenging may depend on your strengths and skills. Earning kinesiology degrees online requires studying topics like anatomy and physiology. You’d also learn about biomechanics, which relates to body structure and motion.

Behavioral science and psychology are other topics that kinesiology students explore. These disciplines provide insight into the best methods of health promotion and education.

Many kinesiology majors also complete an internship. During an internship, you can put your classroom lessons into practice, gain insight from mentors, and get used to working in a professional health or fitness environment.

What Can You Do with a Kinesiology Degree?

Kinesiology Degree careers

Kinesiology graduates often work as exercise physiologists to provide personalized exercise guidance for healthcare patients. Kinesiotherapists fall within this category. They design fitness plans for rehabilitative purposes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they often work for US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities. Other professionals in the field work as athletic trainers or coaches. Some also work as fitness instructors.

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Some kinesiology majors go on to get their teaching licensure. After that, they can work as physical education teachers for kids or teens. Graduates may want to work in physical or occupational therapy as aides or assistants. Continuing to graduate school to become a physical or occupational therapist is another possibility.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology Online?

It often takes 4 years of full-time schooling to graduate with a degree in kinesiology. That’s the common timeframe for bachelor’s degree programs at colleges that divide the school year into two semesters.

Fast-track online programs may move more quickly. Students may shave several months or a year off of their college commitment by taking year-round classes in an accelerated format. Accelerated classes typically last 6 weeks or 8 weeks instead of the traditional 16 weeks.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Kinesiology Degree?

Kinesiology Degree jobs

After earning a bachelors in kinesiology online, many graduates pursue careers as exercise physiologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, such professionals usually work for the government or hospitals.

Some students choose to continue their educations and enroll in one of the masters in kinesiology online programs that some universities offer.

Kinesiology students can also consider working with athletes. Job examples include being a team coach or an athletic trainer in a school. A kinesiology graduate’s understanding of the human body could be useful in therapy settings as well. Some may work as occupational or physical therapist aides.

Graduates may also choose to pursue teaching roles. They can provide fitness instruction, run nonprofit initiatives to encourage active living, or pursue licensure to teach physical education in public schools.

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology vs. Exercise Science?

If you’re committed to a fitness-related career, you may be debating whether to earn an online exercise science degree or a kinesiology degree.

Kinesiology Exercise Science
  • Science of human body movement
  • Has broader curriculum that deals with athletic and general movement
  • Contributes to patients’ rehabilitation efforts
  • Discipline that explores the effects of movement and exercise
  • Has more focused curriculum on movement for exercise purposes
  • Deals with the creation of personalized fitness plans for clients

Essentially, exercise science is a branch of kinesiology.

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelors in Kinesiology vs. Physical Therapy?

Both kinesiology and physical therapy involve studying how the human body works and helping others achieve optimal mobility.

Kinesiology Physical Therapy
  • This track focuses on the study of human movement.
  • Care plans focus on exercise regimens.
  • Minimum educational requirement for exercise physiologists or kinesiotherapists is a bachelor’s degree.
  • PT focuses on providing diagnoses and administering treatment plans for those with hindered mobility.
  • Care plans include exercises and other therapies, such as massage or heat treatments.
  • Required education for physical therapists is a doctorate.

Kinesiology is also one option for a suitable undergraduate degree before entering a physical therapy doctoral program.

What’s the Difference Between a BA vs. BS in Kinesiology?

Some schools have Bachelor of Science (BS) in Kinesiology programs, while other schools offer Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Kinesiology programs.

BS in Kinesiology BA in Kinesiology
  • Places greater emphasis on math and natural science courses, such as calculus and chemistry
  • May have fewer elective courses
  • May help students get into graduate programs
  • Places more emphasis on social science classes, such as psychology
  • May have more space in the schedule for electives
  • Often leads right into the workforce

Some colleges offer both a BS track and a BA track.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology Worth It?

Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology is worth it for many students. Exercise physiology techniques can help people regain their strength, mobility, and independence after medical incidents. It can be particularly useful after cardiac or pulmonary situations.

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As a kinesiology professional, you could participate in patients’ recovery journeys. Plus, job openings in this field are predicted to increase over the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in demand for exercise physiologists, and jobs for athletic trainers are expected to grow at a 23% rate.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Kinesiology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers an online program for a BS in Sports and Health Sciences. Students in the program have access to proprietary course content and certification exams through APU’s partnership with the National Academy of Sports. Courses start monthly and are 8 to 16 weeks long. The program includes the study of anatomy and physiology, sports psychology, and kinesiology.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

The online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program at California Baptist University is designed to help students pursue careers in human movement and fitness. The program can help prepare students for certification exams from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. It is accredited by WSCUC.

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Concordia University – St. Paul

Concordia University St Paul campus

Concordia University—St. Paul offers a B.A. in Exercise Science. Students are required to complete 10 courses and an internship that matches their interests. The program has a 95% employment rate after graduation. This is a flexible online program with both synchronous and asynchronous coursework.

Concordia University-Saint Paul is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

East Central University

East Central University campus

A Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology can be earned 100% online at East Central University. The program requires a total of 124 credit hours, and courses are 8 weeks long. It includes studies in sports nutrition, first aid, anatomy, coaching theory, sports administration, and athletic injuries and prevention.

East Central University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Kansas State University

Kansas State University campus

The Bachelor’s in Kinesiology program at Kansas State University is designed to teach students how to use physical activity to improve people’s health. The program requires the completion of 120 credit hours and can be completed 100% online. Courses include Biobehavioral Bases of Physical Activity, Measurement and Research Techniques in Kinesiology, and Physiology of Exercise.

Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Montreat College

Montreat College campus

Montreat College offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. The degree can help open the doors to multiple career opportunities in the health field. There are six start dates per year. Courses include Anatomy and Physiology with Lab, Lifelong Motor Development, Biomechanics, Human Nutrition, and Applied Physiology of Exercise.

Montreat College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University campus

The B.S. in Kinesiology program at North Carolina Central University can help students prepare for their pursuit of certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The goal of the program is to enable students to move on to graduate and professional programs in kinesiology or allied health fields, such as physical therapy, upon graduation.

North Carolina Central University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University campus

The B.S. in Kinesiology from Oregon State University requires 180 credits and can be earned fully online. The program is primarily intended for those who want to enter the health and wellness industry. There are four start dates each year.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Ottawa University

Ottawa University campus

Ottawa University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science. Students in the program can choose from three concentrations: Coaching/Administration, Personal Training/Strength and Conditioning, or Pre-Allied Health. Students who choose the coaching concentration can earn certification from the American Sports Education Program (ASEP).

Ottawa University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Tarleton State University

Tarleton State University campus

Tarleton State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Six concentrations are available, three of which are Athletic Training, Exercise and Allied Health Professions, and Fitness, Athletic, and Strength Training.

The others are Coaching, Athletic Administration, and Recreation, Exercise and Sport Studies, and Physical Education Teacher Education. The Teacher Education concentration can certify students to teach in Texas public schools.

Tarleton State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. The program includes studies in biomechanical, physiological, and psychological aspects of exercise and physical activity. Advisers are available to assist students in choosing the right courses to take in order to pursue admission into an allied health program.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tulane University

Tulane University campus

Tulane University offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science that can be earned either on campus or through a combination of online and on-campus classes. This program is often a good fit for students who want to pursue careers as exercise physiologists, athletic trainers, and fitness instructors and in other related professions.

Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Kansas

University of Kansas campus

The University of Kansas offers a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science on campus and online. Students pursuing this degree have opportunities to study exercise physiology, biomechanics, biochemistry, and kinesiology and have the option to complete an internship. The online program provides recorded lectures and flexible scheduling.

The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Louisiana – Lafayette

University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus

The B.S. in Health Promotion and Wellness from the University of Louisiana—Lafayette can be earned 100% online. Courses are available in 8 week and 16 week sessions. Students in the program have access to an online community, tutoring, and 24/7 tech support. The program is designed to prepare students for taking the exam to become a Certified Health Education Specialist.

The University of Louisiana Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota’s Kinesiology B.S. program is available both on campus and online. The program is designed for those wanting to pursue careers in education, health and fitness, allied health professions, or athletic coaching. Students are required to complete a 10 credit internship to gain practical experience.

The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Kinesiology Degree Online

Kinesiology Degree Online

In a kinesiology program, you can learn important principles for helping people increase their health and fitness.

Exercise physiologists and other sport and exercise professionals have the chance to guide people toward choices and activities that may improve their quality of life. For many people, this is a satisfying career in an in-demand field.

You can take online classes to get a credible kinesiology degree from an accredited school. Working professionals and other students who need a flexible schedule often appreciate the convenience of computer-based learning.

If you’re ready to find the program that’s right for you, you can start looking at kinesiology schools online today!

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.