A Career in Kinesiology

Kinesiologists - Your Human Movement Specialists

A professional career as a clinical kinesiologist starts with choosing the right education program and degree. Please review the information below first, then review the roles and areas of practice for kinesiologists further below.


Choosing the Right Post Secondary Institution, Degree and Courses

If you are considering a career in professional kinesiology it is important to carefully assess the degree program(s) you are considering enrolling in. Not all kinesiology degree programs provide the same education, skills or competency to be a professional kinesiologist with clinical skills competencies.

To ensure your chosen degree will provide the necessary training and skills to be successful in professional kinesiology practice, you should review the institution’s degree programs, course requirements and options carefully and contrast this to type of kinesiology work you plan to seek. BCAK members can practice in many areas but must have the entry level competencies necessary for clinical practice. Kinesiologists in BC are recognized by the BC Ministry of Health as Allied Health Professionals. This necessitates that those seeking membership with the BCAK can demonstrate the clinical practice knowledge and skills to work under the title of 'Practicing Kinesiologist'.

Professional practice degree programs, differ from general programs and prepare students through a high degree of applied coursework, entry-to-practice knowledge, skills and work integrated learning (WIL) placements to produce graduates who are competent to work with clinical populations, such as those with hereditary and lifestyle diseases, orthopaedic injuries, older adults, in addition to disability management and ergonomics knowledge and skills. The profession has evolved beyond that of athletic performance, coaching and personal training and now requires knowledge of disease pathology, clinical exercise prescription, orthopaedic injury assessment and treatment, chronic pain management, workplace support, return to work or home planning and job demands analysis.

A post-secondary institution and program that delivers hands-on, entry to practice knowledge and skills will provide education and training courses in the following topics:

  • Clinical client intake, history taking and risk screening
  • Disease pathology/pathophysiology
  • Advanced/clinical exercise physiology
  • Exercise testing and prescription for clinical populations (including endocrine/metabolic disorders, pulmonary disease - asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, cardiovascular disease, cardiac conduction disorders, neurological disease, oncology, arthritis, MS, osteoporosis and others such as connective tissue disorders.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Concussion Management
  • Exercise and lifestyle counselling for behavioral modification, cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing.
  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placements, practicums, internships &/or Co-op education programs
  • Practice knowledge allowing kinesiologist to safely prescribe and delivery exercise and to those with mental health disorders, Alzheimer's, Dementia and other diseases of aging.
  • Healthy living, disease preventative and corporate wellness program design and implementation
  • Active rehabilitation, return to work planning and disability management
  • Clinical musculoskeletal assessment of orthopaedic injuries - including: neurological screening, postural abnormalities, muscle and movement pattern tests
  • Functional movement and task analysis/assessment
  • Ergonomics, including physical demands description and analysis, office and industrial workstation (re)design, work hardening programs
  • Assistive/Adaptive Devices - assessment and utilization
  • Return-to-work coordination and implementation programming
  • Interdisciplinary practice and settings
  • Healthcare provider ethics
  • Healthcare provider record keeping (charting, report writing and interpretation)
  • Professional conduct and scope of practice
  • Professional health regulation

Details of the essential knowledge and skills a BCAK Practicing kinesiologist can be found in the Essential Competencies of Practice

A Rewarding Future Awaits

Kinesiologists utilize their scientific, evidence-backed knowledge and skills in human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology and exercise prescription to deliver high quality solutions for clients to improve or maintain physical functional, performance and mental health.

Typical workplace settings include: multi and interdisciplinary healthcare centres, hospitals, care facilities, public recreation centres, large employers in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, construction, utilities, and crown corporations. Kinesiologists serve valuable healthcare roles in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

The Roles of a Kinesiologist

Physical Rehabilitation

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Assessing and treating injuries through client education and active exercise therapy. WorkSafeBC, ICBC, third-party benefits providers, and disability plan managers, along with large employers, support active exercise rehabilitation and prevention programs to deliver a durable return-to-work, and prevent injury recurrence or secondary injury. Kinesiologists employed in this sector work as part of interdisciplinary healthcare teams who develop and implement progressive exercise therapy programs or in community recreation and care settings.


Fitness and Health Promotion

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Kinesiologists working in this area of practice deliver exercise and lifestyle education to help clients improve or maintain physical and mental fitness.

Jobs in this sector focus on employee wellness and can be found in medium to large organizations, such as manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and logistics, government, crown corporations, and related agencies.


Occupational Biomechanics & Ergonomics

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Kinesiologists working in this area of practice assess and provide recommendations on ways to improve workspace design/layout or adapt a work/home environment to increase productivity, while reducing the risk of injury or repetitive strain. The assessment of work spaces and tasks, when done in collaboration with the worker, can help to improve worker job satisfaction and safety by reducing postural strain, repetitive reaching and improving productivity through work height and task optimization.


Research

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Kinesiologists perform valuable healthcare research at research hospitals, and post-secondary and private organizations/institutions. Kinesiologists in this sector can also contribute to advancement in evidence-based professional practice techniques through case studies and collaborative practice projects, where client outcomes are analyzed and in terms of treatment methods and protocols and their relation to overall wellness and client satisfaction.

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