Best Online Kinesiology Degrees

Looking for a career that fuses athletics and sports medicine? A kinesiology degree can help get you there. Explore our rankings of the best online kinesiology degrees.
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Exercise physiology is a fast-growing field, and with that, interest in kinesiology programs is also growing. Kinesiology is the study of how the human body moves.

As a kinesiologist, you may find yourself working with clients to improve their motor functions, or you may aid in their rehabilitation after an injury. Earning a bachelor's degree in kinesiology can open doors to many careers involving the human body.

On this page, you can explore online kinesiology degree programs that can prepare you for a career in exercise science.

Featured Online Kinesiology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Bachelor's / Kinesiology

Best Online Kinesiology Degrees

Online Bachelor's in Kinesiology Programs
University Location Graduation Rate
Angelo State University San Angelo, Texas 41%
Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota 51%
Tarleton State University Stephenville, Texas 46%
Texas A&M University-Commerce Commerce, Texas 43%
Texas Woman's University Denton, Texas 48%
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, Missouri 53%
University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 90%

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

We use datasets from trusted sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools and our methodologies. This ranking is from 2022 or 2021. To learn more, check out our full ranking methodologies.

What to Expect in an Online Kinesiology Program

An online kinesiology degree helps prepare you to become a kinesiologist or work in similar fields after graduation. These programs focus heavily on science and biology courses, covering anatomy, physiology, and nutrition. The curriculum also covers the study of movement and, in particular, physical education and exercise science.

Generally, a bachelor's degree program in kinesiology requires students to complete 120 credits to graduate. Full-time students can typically earn their bachelor's degrees in four years. Part-time learners may finish their programs in 5-6 years.

Specific requirements for a kinesiology program vary by school. Some curriculum plans might allow you to choose a concentration in a specialty area, including:

  • Applied exercise science
  • Athletic training
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise physiology
  • Movement science
  • Nutrition
  • Sports management

Courses You Can Expect in a Kinesiology Bachelor's Program

  • Minus

    Human Movement Basics

    This course delves into human movement in the neuromuscular, fascial, and skeletal systems. Covered topics include the physiology and mechanics of movement and how they are related to exercise, recreation, and sports.
  • Minus

    Musculoskeletal Anatomy

    In this course, you learn the different parts of the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, and skeletal muscles) and how they work together to protect the body and allow a person to move in different ways.
  • Minus

    Biomechanics of Sports and Exercise

    This course covers external and biomechanical factors that influence movement and athletic performance. You learn about linear and angular kinetics, torque and force, and biomechanical stresses that can put athletes at risk of injury.
  • Minus

    Exercise Psychology

    Exercise psychology is the study of how sports and physical activity affect a person's behaviors, along with the different environmental, individual, and social factors that can influence a person's level of physical activity.
  • Minus

    Physical Activity Across the Lifespan

    This course looks at how physical activity can promote wellness throughout life, starting as an infant and continuing through the geriatric years. The course also covers how physical and mental health are intertwined.

How to Find a High-Quality Online Kinesiology Program

Narrowing down your options for an online kinesiology degree can be challenging, but knowing how to research online programs can make the process easier. Here are some of the variables you should consider when determining the best online kinesiology degree for you.

Accreditation

Accrediting agencies review and audit institutions and programs to ensure they meet certain academic standards. Attending an accredited college or university means you will be eligible for federal financial aid as long as you meet other federal aid requirements. Students who attend accredited schools can also be sure their credits will transfer and their degrees will be taken seriously by employers.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is the accreditor for kinesiology programs.

Cost

Attending college online will allow you to avoid some of the fees and other costs associated with an in-person degree. Costs may still vary depending on whether you attend a public, nonprofit, or for-profit institution.

Average Annual Online Net Price of College by Institution Type (2021-2022)

Public
$12,981

Private, Nonprofit
$15,942

Private, For-Profit
$19,294

Source: BestColleges

Per a BestColleges analysis, all types of online colleges (public, private for-profit, and private nonprofit) charge lower tuition rates on average than their in-person counterparts.

Program Format

Synchronous learning vs. asynchronous learning may be an important distinction for you when examining online programs. These terms describe the way that courses are structured.

In a synchronous program, you attend classes at a certain time, similarly to how you would an on-campus class. However, instead of showing up to a classroom for a designated time frame, you’ll log into an online classroom and engage in live discussions.

Asynchronous programs, meanwhile, give you the freedom to complete coursework and modules at your own pace. While you’ll need to meet certain deadlines, there is no set time you need to show up for class.

Location

Location may seem like a silly factor to consider for online learning, but it’s worth remembering that you may still be charged out-of-state tuition rates for an online degree.

Whether you’ll have to pay in-state or out-of-state tuition for your online degree depends on the institution you attend. Some programs charge a flat rate for all distance learners, no matter where they're located when they attend class. Others hike tuition prices depending on where you live relative to where your institution is located.

Student Support

Student support is not just for students attending college in person. Many schools offer support systems to their online students. You’ll want to check a program’s website to learn more about the online student services the institution offers, such as career services to help you land a job after graduation.

Students with disabilities or student veterans may also want to check if there are adequate support services to address their unique needs.

What Can You Do With a Kinesiology Degree?

A bachelor's degree in kinesiology can prepare you for two paths: to continue your education or find employment in the field.

One of the benefits of a kinesiology degree is its versatility. Kinesiology can lead to many different careers in healthcare, fitness, nutrition, and teaching. Once you earn your bachelor’s, you can pursue careers including fitness instruction, health coaching, exercise physiology, or strength and conditioning coaching.

You can also go on to pursue a doctoral degree for more advanced careers related to kinesiology, including becoming a physical therapist or physician.

Kinesiology Salary and Career Outlook

Kinesiology professionals are in demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs in this field will grow much faster than the national average growth rate for all occupations (3%) between 2022 and 2032.

The BLS projects the number of roles for exercise physiologists, for example, to grow by 10% over the next eight years, according to BLS data. Jobs for athletic trainers are expected to grow 14% over the same time period, which is significantly higher than the national average.

Kinesiology Careers
Career Median Annual Salary (May 2023) Job Outlook (2022-2032) Degree Required
Exercise Physiologists $54,860 10% Bachelor's Degree
Athletic Trainer $57,930 14% Master's Degree
Dietitian $69,680 7% Bachelor's Degree
Recreational Therapist $57,120 4% Bachelor's Degree
Health Education Specialists $62,860 7% Bachelor's Degree
Source: BLS

Individual salaries for kinesiology careers are also above the national average for all occupations ($48,060), per BLS.

Featured Online Kinesiology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How to Pay for an Online Kinesiology Program

Unless you have tens of thousands of dollars sitting around, you’ll likely need to come up with a plan to pay for your online kinesiology degree.

Your first step should be to fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will make you eligible for many federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.

Student Loans

Over 40 million Americans hold student loan debt.

Student loans can pay most or all of your college tuition, but those loans must be paid back over time. Federal student loans often have lower interest rates than private student loans, plus there are income-driven repayment (IDR) plans to make paying back those loans easier. Therefore, it's in your best interest to apply for federal student loans over private loans, when possible.

Grants

Grants, unlike loans, are financial aid awards that don’t need to be paid back.

The Pell Grant is the most common grant. The Pell Grant program awards money to low- and middle-income students based on their financial need. All you need to do to potentially qualify for this award is submit your FAFSA.

Some state grant programs, like Michigan Reconnect, may cover all tuition and fees for students, depending on their age or their educational background.

Scholarships

Scholarships are like grants in that they don’t need to be repaid, but you generally have to apply for scholarships.

Many scholarships are merit-based, meaning you’ll need to hit certain academic thresholds to qualify. Other scholarship programs, however, are aimed at specific demographics of students, such as the BestColleges scholarship for Black women in STEM.

Scholarships often require an application and, in many cases, an essay.

Work-Study Programs

Federal work-study programs award funds to students in return for on- or off-campus work, usually related to their degree programs.

Funds are generally granted to low- and middle-income students. You must submit the FAFSA to qualify.

Then, you’ll need to find a job that qualifies under the work-study program. Your institution may have an online job board showing opportunities — likely at nonprofit organizations — where you’ll be paid for your work.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Kinesiology Degrees

Are online kinesiology programs respected?

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Employers respect degrees from accredited colleges whether you study in person or online. The method of delivery of a degree is rarely a factor in the hiring process.

Some employers may, however, value a degree from a more reputable college or university over a less selective degree program. Generally speaking, the online nature of a kinesiology program likely won't play a role in whether you are hired.

How long does it take to become a kinesiologist?

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It can take 4-5 years to become a kinesiologist or to go into a similar profession, like exercise physiology. You usually need to complete a four-year bachelor's degree and then complete the requirements to become credentialed.

Some kinesiologists earn a master's degree or doctorate, which means it will take them longer to begin their careers.

Is a bachelor's in kinesiology worth it?

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A bachelor's degree is likely worth the investment if you want to pursue a career as a kinesiologist or any related field.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most jobs in the industry. Employers and clients want to know that you have a deeper understanding of body mechanics and movement before you begin working in the field.

What jobs can you get with a kinesiology degree?

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Many careers in kinesiology that require a bachelor's degree focus on health and fitness, including:

  • Exercise psychologist
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Dietitian
  • Recreational therapist
  • Health education specialist

What degree do you need to be a kinesiologist?

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A bachelor's degree is sufficient for many careers in kinesiology, but a master's degree can open the door to advanced positions.

A graduate degree also allows you to explore more niche specializations, which could make you more employable. Many people with a graduate degree also report higher salaries than those with just a bachelor's degree, but this should be balanced against the cost of a master's degree.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed May 8, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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