Is becoming a kinesiologist right for me?
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How to become a Kinesiologist
Becoming a kinesiologist involves a combination of education, practical experience, and potentially obtaining relevant certifications. Here is a guide to becoming a kinesiologist:
- Earn a Bachelor's Degree: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Human Movement Science, or a related field. Ensure that the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting body.
- Gain Practical Experience: Seek internships or volunteer opportunities in settings relevant to kinesiology, such as fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics, or sports organizations. This practical experience is valuable for applying theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.
- Advanced Education (Optional): While a bachelor's degree is the entry point, some individuals may choose to pursue a Master's Degree in Kinesiology or a related field for advanced knowledge and opportunities in academia or specialized areas.
- Specialization: Determine if you want to specialize in a specific area of kinesiology, such as clinical kinesiology, sports kinesiology, ergonomics, or exercise physiology. Specialization can shape your career path and influence the type of workplaces you might be interested in.
- Obtain Relevant Certifications: Consider obtaining certifications relevant to your area of interest. Certifications from organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) can enhance your credentials (see below).
- Networking: Connect with professionals in the field by attending conferences, joining professional organizations (e.g., American Kinesiology Association), and participating in networking events. Networking can open up opportunities for mentorship and potential job placements.
- Job Search: Look for job opportunities in settings such as healthcare institutions, fitness centers, sports organizations, corporate wellness programs, and educational institutions. Tailor your resume to highlight relevant education, experience, and certifications.
- State Licensure (if applicable): Some states may require licensure or certification to practice as a kinesiologist, especially if involved in clinical or rehabilitation settings. Check the specific requirements in the state where you plan to work.
Certifications can enhance the credentials of kinesiologists, demonstrating their expertise in specific areas and ensuring they meet recognized standards. Here are some well-regarded certifications for kinesiologists:
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) - Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP): This certification is suitable for individuals with a bachelor's degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. It demonstrates proficiency in conducting fitness assessments, designing exercise programs, and working with individuals in various health and fitness settings.
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) - Certified Exercise Physiologist (CES): NASM offers the CES certification, focusing on corrective exercise strategies for individuals with movement impairments or musculoskeletal conditions. It's valuable for those interested in rehabilitation and injury prevention.
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) - Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS): The CSCS certification is geared towards professionals working with athletes or those involved in strength and conditioning. It covers areas such as program design, strength training, and exercise technique.
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) - Certified Personal Trainer (CPT): ACE's CPT certification is suitable for individuals working in fitness training and general exercise prescription. It covers foundational principles of exercise science, program design, and client communication.
- National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) - Certified Strength Coach (CSC): The NCSF CSC certification is designed for those specializing in strength coaching. It emphasizes strength training, program development, and coaching techniques.
- National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) - Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC): While more focused on sports medicine, the ATC certification is relevant for kinesiologists working in sports settings. It involves comprehensive training in injury prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation.
- Clinical Exercise Physiologist Certifications: Some certifications cater specifically to kinesiologists working in clinical or healthcare settings, such as the American Board of Clinical Exercise Physiology (ACSM RCEP) or the Clinical Exercise Physiologist Certification from the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP).