Best Online Kinesiology Degree Programs

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 22, 2020

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Kinesiology is the study of body movements. Many colleges and universities offer online degrees in exercise science with a focus on kinesiology.

A kinesiology degree unlocks the door to a host of career paths. Plus, you can learn more about how your body responds to exercise, educate others and assist patients during rehabilitation. 

If this piques your interest, an online kinesiology degree is worth considering. Benzinga is here to help you find a program that will meet your educational, career and lifestyle goals. 

Why Choose an Online Kinesiology Degree?

The health and wellness industry is ripe with opportunities for kinesiology degree holders. You’ll have a lot of flexibility if you ever want to change gears. If you want to advance your career, an online kinesiology degree can also lay the foundation for more lucrative roles or graduate programs later on. 

You’ll get a more in-depth understanding of how the body responds to movement. You can use proven techniques to help others boost the quality of their life by rehabbing nagging injuries. 

Another benefit to earning an online kinesiology degree is the earning potential. You probably won’t make a six-figure salary right out of the gate, but you can work your way up to better-paying roles as you progress in your career as an exercise science professional. 

How to Choose an Online Kinesiology Degree Program

There’s a lot to love about online kinesiology degrees. But not all are the same. Here are some critical factors to consider as you evaluate your options. 

Student Support 

What types of resources are available to students? Is the online learning portal user friendly? Are there tech support specialists standing by when you need them? Can you connect with your peers via online forums? 

You want a program that offers specialized support to online students when navigating the admission, enrollment and financial aid processes. These resources can help ensure you stay on track and complete your degree on time.  

Accreditation and Flexibility 

Is the college or university accredited? What about the degree program? Both are important and help determine whether the degree is a worthwhile investment. The last thing you want to do is spend 4 years working toward a degree that isn’t respected by employers. 

Class Size

You want an online kinesiology degree program that offers a small student-to-faculty ratio. Large class sizes can easily overwhelm busy professors and delay response times to your inquiries. However, if there aren’t a ton of students, you’ll receive the individualized attention you deserve. Courses with no more than 20 students are ideal. 

Jobs Waiting for You With a Kinesiology Degree

Here are some of the most in-demand careers for kinesiology degree holders. 

Exercise Physiologist

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, a career as an exercise physiologist may be a good fit. You’ll be responsible for creating exercise and fitness programs tailored to fit the needs of patients recovering from chronic diseases. Other job duties include reviewing your patient’s medical history to create customized fitness plans, conducting stress and fitness tests with medical equipment and working with patients to help them meet their fitness goals. 

Health Educator 

You can be an educator without teaching in a classroom 8 hours a day. Health educators pass their wellness knowledge on to others through seminars and health education programs. This role also requires you to identify and assess the needs of communities, develop resources, offer training to field staff and advocate for better resources. 

Athletic Trainer 

Many athletes need attention from a medical professional. That’s where athletic trainers come in — they develop and execute rehabilitation programs for injured athletes. In this role, you will also devise a plan to prevent or minimize common injuries or illnesses, provide emergency care, write injury reports and so much more. 

Best Online Colleges for a Kinesiology Degree

We’ve compiled a list of the top kinesiology degree options from a list of reputable colleges and universities around the nation. You’ll also find a review of each to help you narrow down your list and select the most suitable program for you. 

1. University of North Carolina-Wilmington 


The University of North Carolina-Wilmington features an online Bachelor of Science in exercise science. It’s ideal for individuals who want to master the scientific principles of exercise, health, wellness and fitness and implement them in the field. You can leverage your knowledge and skills in academic, commercial, clinical corporate, government, industrial and private settings. 

When you enroll, you will complete the following core exercise science courses:

  • Legal Issues in Exercise Science and Sport
  • Management in Exercise Science
  • Measurement and Evaluation in Exercise Science
  • Motor Behavior
  • Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning I and II 
  • Essentials of Strength and Conditioning II Laboratory 
  • Exercise Prescription II

The next step is coursework related to your concentration. There are 2 options:

  • Allied health concentration: This track is best if you’re pursuing a career in clinical exercise physiology. It’s also a good fit for aspiring occupational therapists, physician assistants and physical therapists. 
  • Exercise physiology certification: Explore this option if you’re interested in becoming a conditioning specialist, corporate employee fitness director, exercise physiologist, personal trainer or strength and conditioning specialist. 

You can finish the program in just 20 months if you transfer general studies credit from another qualifying institution. 

2. University of Kansas Edwards Campus 


Prepare for a role in a rewarding field with an online Bachelor of Applied Science in exercise science. This program is offered by the University of Kansas Edwards Campus and designated by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as an Education Recognition Program. 

It provides the necessary education for a career in coaching, corporate wellness, exercise physiology, military or law enforcement force readiness, nutrition and personal training. You can work in a variety of fitness and therapeutic sport settings. 

Want to continue your education to become a physical therapist? This degree program meets the prerequisites and fosters a seamless transition. 

The coursework dives into vital subjects, including biochemistry, biomechanics, exercise physiology and kinesiology. There’s also an internship option to help you gain real-world experience in the field you want to enter when you graduate. 

3. Eastern Oregon University


Earn a Bachelor of Arts or Science in human and health performance from Eastern Oregon 

University Online. This 4-year program dives into the mechanics of the human body and both physiological and psychological processes that are essential for health and movement. 

The curriculum equips you with the knowledge needed to teach in a community or school setting. It’s also a good fit if you intend to enter graduate school in the future to study dentistry, health education, nursing or another related medical field. 

You can participate in capstone experiences, community partnerships and internship programs before you walk across the stage. Faculty members are available to help you find opportunities in your local area. 

You need 180 credit hours to complete the program. 

4. University of Louisiana – Lafayette

University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Overview |

Interested in a career as a Certified Health Education Specialist? Consider the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It offers an online Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with a health promotion and wellness concentration that will prepare you for the CHES national exam and an impactful role in the field. 

This 120-hour program includes courses on a host of pertinent topics, including: 

  • Applied anatomy and physiology for kinesiology
  • Survey of human anatomy and physiology
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic life support
  • Stress and stress management
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Nutrition for fitness and sports 
  • Health and sexuality

You’ll also complete an internship in health promotion and wellness. This valuable opportunity allows you to learn from experienced professionals and you can put your newfound skills and knowledge to use. 

Many alumni now work as case managers, anti-tobacco advocates, health promotion and wellness instructors, health educators, mission delivery specialists, site safety representatives and the list goes on. The opportunities are endless as long as you put in hard work, focus and network strategically. 

5. Franklin University 


Are you intrigued by health and fitness? An online bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Franklin University may be a good fit. You can transfer up to 94 credits from a qualified institution to help you reach the finish line faster and save a bundle on tuition and fees. 

Beyond general education, you’ll complete courses on several core topics, including biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise testing and prescription, wellness, applied research methods and so much more. You’ll also learn how to effectively prescribe exercises that comply with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines. You’ll also acquire advanced knowledge to treat patients who are pregnant or suffer from cardiac, pulmonary or other severe health conditions. 

When you finish the program, you can transition into a role as a coach, exercise physiologist, fitness instructor, gym owner, personal trainer, sales manager or sports administrator. 

6. University of Wisconsin Superior 


Get an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in exercise science from the University of Wisconsin Superior. The program is offered by the Health and Human Performance Department.

It’s designed to be completed in 4 years and prepares you for a career in clinical exercise physiology, health and fitness, wellness or in a clinical or hospital setting. If you want to continue your education, you will have the educational background needed to gain entry into an athletic training, biomedical sciences, exercise physiology, occupational therapy or physical therapy graduate degree program. 

Students are also required to choose a minor in communications, health, philosophy, psychology or writing. If none of these options work, you can request an individually-designed minor. 

You also have the option to complete an internship or participate in academic service learning so you get an idea of what you’ll experience as an exercise professional. 

7. American Military University 


Accredited by the American Public University System, American Military University offers an online bachelor’s degree in sports and health sciences. This program teaches the mechanics of exercise science and how to effectively apply these concepts to fitness and sports activities.

You’ll also learn how to advance fitness, implement motivation strategies, create strength and conditioning programs and manage sports-related injuries. You’ll have the knowledge to educate the masses on nutrition and ways to help improve performance. 

The curriculum covers foundational subjects for allied health professions, including: 

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Exercise science
  • Exercise testing and programming 
  • Fitness
  • Health and wellness 
  • Kinesiology 
  • Nutrition 

There’s no application, transfer credit evaluation or textbook fee. 

8. California University of Pennsylvania 


The online Bachelor of Science in exercise science degree from the California University of Pennsylvania is nationally recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE). It’s designed to be completed in 3 years so you can begin work in a fulfilling role and get certified as a certified personal trainer or speed and explosion coach. 

Coursework delves into 3 primary areas: 

  • Preventive healthcare
  • Professional development 
  • Fitness education 

Learning objectives include mastering the basics of anatomy, physiology and wellness, evaluating fitness and wellness research and understanding what it takes to get people motivated about fitness. Coursework also pulls the curtain back on financial, legal and sports marketing challenges. 

Alumni have landed careers in corporate fitness settings, spas, hospitals and with high school, collegiate and professional sports programs. Some have continued their education at highly-rated institutions like California State University at San Diego, Michigan State and the University of Alabama. 

9. Liberty University 


Consider an online Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Liberty University. The program is nationally accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. 

It’s offered by the Department of Allied Health Professions and caters to students who seek a career in the health and fitness industry. Coursework satisfies the educational requirements needed to sit for the following certification exams: 

  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Exercise Physiologist
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist 

The program is also ideal for individuals who want to continue their studies as a chiropractor or in an exercise physiology, occupational therapy or physical therapy graduate program before entering the workforce as an exercise science professional.

Choose from the following concentrations to: 

  • Fitness Specialist (120 credit hours) 
  • Strength and Conditioning Specialist (120 credit hours)
  • Therapeutic Science (127 credit hours) 

Doing so allows you to tailor your degree to align more closely with your career goals. 

Find the Perfect Online Kinesiology Degree for You

Don’t spend hours searching for the perfect online kinesiology degree program. Take a look at our top recommendations and compare your options to make an informed decision. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community