Kinesiology degrees offer an excellent academic background for careers in physical therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy, and many other professions related to whole-body health and rehabilitation.

This guide explains many of the variables you need to know to identify and research online associate programs in kinesiology. It places a special emphasis on common coursework, admission standards and academic prerequisites, and career options.

What Are the Best Kinesiology Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Two:

Rank School Location
1 Finger Lakes Community College Canandaigua, NY
2 San Antonio College San Antonio, TX

The curriculum of an online associate degree in kinesiology provides a strong base for further study in the field, while also opening doors to fast-growing roles like fitness trainers and instructors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of these positions will grow by 13% between 2018 and 2028 -- more than twice the growth rate for the average occupation in the U.S.

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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Kinesiology Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Finger Lakes Community College

Canandaigua, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 31%

FLCC's online associate degree in kinesiology and human performance prepares graduates to pursue a bachelor's degree or to land entry-level careers in the health and wellness field.

The 64-credit program explores topics like anatomy, injury rehabilitation, athletic performance, nutrition, and wellness. Students also learn to create exercise and treatment plans for clients. All courses use an asynchronous format, allowing students to access course material at their convenience. This program also features an athletic training practicum course that prepares learners for certification as a personal trainer.

FLCC is located in Canandaigua, New York. Applicants to this associate in kinesiology program must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. Most full-time students graduate within two years.

2

San Antonio College

San Antonio, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

SAC offers an associate in kinesiology that focuses on key concepts related to fitness, athletic training, and physical education. The program prepares graduates for careers as personal trainers, wellness coaches, and physical education teachers.

Students can take classes like indoor cycling, core training, water aerobics, extreme fitness, physical conditioning, and cardio bootcamp. General education classes are available online, but most major classes take place at the school's campus in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio.

The curriculum of this program covers the first two years of a kinesiology bachelor's program at Texas A&M University at San Antonio or the University of Texas at San Antonio. Prospective students must submit their high school transcripts or GED scores. The average SAC student graduates with less than $10,000 of student debt.

Online Associate in Kinesiology Program Overview

At the associate level, kinesiology programs teach foundational knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. They also examine interactions between motion and physical health by observing how kinetic movement affects exercise and athletic training, patient rehabilitation from surgeries and injuries, and the treatment and prevention of chronic physical conditions and diseases.

Degree-seekers supplement core coursework with science classes designed to expand a learner's understanding of kinesiology fundamentals and electives that expose learners to humanities and liberal arts subjects.

Notably, kinesiology programs vary in their degree designations. Many award an associate of science or associate of applied science, although some lead to an associate of arts. This reflects differing pedagogical approaches: science programs tend to maintain a sharper focus on biology, physiology, and movement function, while arts programs may favor an approach that relates coursework to specific activities, such as sports or dance.

Though an associate degree will suffice for some entry-level positions, many kinesiology-related professions require a bachelor's degree and/or licensure.

Common Associate in Kinesiology Degree Courses

Introduction to Kinetics

This class analyzes the human development processes that inform the study of biomechanics, movement function, and kinetics. Some instructors explore beyond biology and physics to examine related issues through social lenses, considering the factors that guide individual decisions to participate in or avoid exercise, sports, and other physical activities.

Human Anatomy

Students learn about the major anatomical structures of the human body. Coursework explores bodily directions and planes in detail, while also introducing the scientific terminology and vocabulary for specific anatomical systems and body parts.

Human Physiology

This introductory course builds on basic human anatomy concepts and helps students apply the principles and concepts of integrated bodily functions. Physiology coursework often pays particular attention to musculoskeletal systems and metabolic pathways due to their prominence in kinesiology.

Introduction to Biochemistry

Kinesiology students often go on to make extensive use of basic biochemistry principles in their future careers, particularly as they relate to injury recovery and healing. This class introduces students to chemical processes in biological organisms and includes an examination of the functions and structural features of important macromolecules.

First Aid

Given that many kinesiology degree-holders go on to work in health-related professions, first aid certification functions as an important professional qualification. Thus, kinesiology programs often include coursework that leads to CPR, AED, and first aid certification.

Online Associate in Kinesiology Admission Requirements

  • High School Diploma

    To secure admission into an online associate degree in kinesiology, you will need to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a GED certificate.

  • Science Prerequisites

    Kinesiology draws on several branches of the physical and life sciences, including chemistry, biology, and physics. If you plan to pursue a kinesiology degree, you should build an adequate background in these subjects at the secondary level.

  • Mathematics Prerequisites

    Kinesiology majors also require a functional level of scientific research literacy, including the ability to understand, interpret, and analyze statistical data drawn from studies. Thus, a background in statistics-oriented branches of mathematics tends to serve degree-seekers well, even if schools do not explicitly require them.

  • Personal Statement

    Some programs request supplementary application materials, such as personal statements or essays. Admissions officials use these documents to gain deeper insight into a candidate's professional potential and may draw on them in making final decisions when space in a given program is limited.

  • Recommendations

    Some schools also ask candidates to submit one or more letters of recommendation, written by individuals who can endorse an applicant. For example, letters may come from teachers or certified physical health professionals with firsthand knowledge of an applicant's character and abilities.


Online Associate in Kinesiology Career Paths

Students who earn an online associate degree in kinesiology can pursue some entry-level roles in this field. For example, they can pursue work as health consultants, fitness trainers, dance instructions, and athletic coaches. However, most kinesiology-related jobs require a bachelor's or graduate degree, along with additional training and licensure. Examples of upper-level roles include physical and occupational therapists, massage therapists, and postsecondary teachers.

Graduates of associate programs who wish to enter the workforce immediately can also pursue assistant-level jobs in professional practice areas. For instance, many chiropractors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists employ assistants to deliver client services.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a kinesiologist do?

A kinesiologist applies their specialized knowledge of human kinetics to optimize movement and reduce the risk of injury associated with specific activities. They carry out these duties in many different settings, including research facilities, medical clinics, schools, and private practices.

What can I do with an associate degree in kinesiology?

An associate degree in kinesiology offers the minimum educational background required for entry into assistant-level positions in the field. You can also pursue self-employment as an exercise coach or fitness instructor.

Is a kinesiology degree hard?

Kinesiology programs vary in their intensity, but they invariably feature science-oriented classes that may include lab components and examinations of bodily systems and organs. However, committed learners with an adequate academic background typically succeed with hard work.

How much does a kinesiologist make?

The BLS reports that the median salary for fitness trainers and instructors is around $40,000 per year; many associate degree-holders pursue these roles. Additionally, if students go on to earn a bachelor's in kinesiology, they can work as athletic trainers. These professionals tend to make more than $48,000 per year.

Is there a demand for kinesiologists?

Many kinesiology-related professions display strong near-term growth projections. This projected growth is spurred by two main factors. First, sedentary work with computers has led to a rise in repetitive stress-related injuries. Additionally, aging individuals and senior citizens increasingly require forms of therapeutic assistance, which is delivered by professionals with kinesiology backgrounds.

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