A Career in Kinesiology

Student Resources

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. Not all kinesiology degree programs provide the education, skills or competency to be a professional kinesiologist in an allied health environment.

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.

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 career you plan to seek. Kinesiologists in BC are recognized by the BC Ministry of Health as Allied Health Professionals. Kinesiologists entering practice must have the entry level competencies necessary for clinical practice and to meet the demands of an allied health professional. This requirement necessitates that those seeking professional membership with the BCAK under the title of 'Practicing or Non-practicing Kinesiologist', can demonstrate the knowledge and skills appropriate to work in a clinical environment, including a strong understanding of evidence-based practice, professional ethics and the laws related to the provision of healthcare services to the citizens of BC, .

Professional practice kinesiology degree programs, differ from general, sport performance and other programs in that they provide students with coursework focused on applied 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, mental health disorders, traumatic brain injuries and have knowledge of disability management and ergonomic assessment skills. The profession has evolved beyond that of athletic performance, coaching and personal training, but has not left it behind, as in addition to these skills, kinesiologists require 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 addition to the basics of anatomy, physiology, motor learning, biomechanics, exercise physiology and research methods to include courses that provide knowledge and skills on the following topics:

  • Clinical client intake, history taking and risk screening
  • Disease pathology/pathophysiology
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Entry level assessment, testing and exercise prescription for clinical populations including
    • Endocrine/metabolic disorders - including osteoporosis,
    • Pulmonary disease - asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD,
    • Cardiovascular disease & cardiac conduction disorders,
    • Neurological disease,
    • Oncology,
    • Osteo and rheumatoid Arthritis,
    • MS, osteoporosis and others such as connective tissue disorders.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Concussion Management
  • Behaviour modification in exercise and lifestyle counselling, including cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing.
  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placements, practicums, internships &/or Co-op education programs
  • Practice knowledge on the safe prescription and delivery of exercise for those with mental health disorders, Alzheimer's, dementia and other diseases of aging.
  • Healthy living, disease preventative and corporate wellness program design/implementation
  • Active rehabilitation, return to work planning, coordination and implementation
  • 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
  • Disability Management
  • Assistive/Adaptive Devices - assessment and utilization
  • Healthcare provider ethics
  • Professional conduct and scope of practice
  • Healthcare provider record keeping (charting, report writing and interpretation)
  • Professional health regulation

Details of the essential knowledge and skills required to be 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

strengthening, kinesiologist

Assessing and treating injuries through client education and active exercise therapy. WorkSafe BC, 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.

Clinical Exercise


Kinesiologists conduct and supervise exercise and mobility sessions for client requiring activity-based treatment interventions to maintain health, function and mobility for lifestyle and genetic diseases as part of an interdisciplinary care team. The goals for treatment and counselling are to achieve the desired mobility, fitness and lifestyle goals to to maintain client stability, self-sufficiency and independent living, and to reduce avoidable hospital care and inpatient treatment.

Fitness and Health Promotion


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

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

Occupational Biomechanics & Ergonomics


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.

Clinical Research


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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