Career Development

How To Become a Kinesiology Professor: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as a kinesiology professor, including education, skills, salary and more.

Kinesiology professors teach students about the science of human movement. They conduct research on how the body moves and how physical activity can impact health. If you are interested in becoming a kinesiology professor, it is important to know that this career requires a significant amount of education and training. In this article, we discuss the steps you need to take to become a kinesiology professor.

What Does a Kinesiology Professor Do?

Kinesiology professors teach students about the science of human movement. Their courses might cover topics like anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and motor learning. Kinesiology professors typically work at colleges and universities, where they might have the following duties:

  • Planning and preparing course materials, including lectures, syllabi and exams
  • Teaching undergraduate and graduate-level classes
  • Advising students on their coursework and career paths
  • Conducting research in their field of expertise
  • Writing and publishing scholarly articles and books
  • Presenting at conferences and other professional events
  • Serving on departmental committees
  • Participating in faculty governance

Kinesiology Professor Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a kinesiology professor is $68,327.11. This figure can vary based on the level of experience, education, industry and geographical location of the professor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for kinesiology professors to increase at an average rate over the next decade. The growing popularity of health and fitness as well as the aging population are two factors that may contribute to this expected growth. Kinesiology professors often teach courses related to human movement, exercise science and sports medicine.

How to Become a Kinesiology Professor

Here are several steps you should take to become a kinesiology professor.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or related field

Kinesiology is a field of study that focuses on the scientific aspects of physical activity and exercise. To become a kinesiology professor, you typically need to earn a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or another related field such as biology, sports medicine or exercise science.

During your undergraduate studies, you can take courses in anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition and coaching. These courses provide foundational knowledge for understanding how the body works during physical activity and how to improve performance through proper nutrition and training.

2. Complete a master’s degree or doctorate in kinesiology or related field

Kinesiology professors must hold a master’s degree or doctorate in kinesiology, exercise science or a related field. Earning an advanced degree will help you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct research and teach at the college level.

The coursework for a master’s degree program typically includes anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition, motor learning, sports psychology and coaching. Students may also choose electives such as strength training, cardiovascular health, physical activity and fitness, sport management and conditioning.

Doctorate programs are more specialized and focus on a particular area of study. For example, students pursuing a doctorate in kinesiology might specialize in biomechanics, clinical applications, exercise physiology, motor behavior, muscle biology, neuroscience, rehabilitation and sports medicine.

3. Obtain teaching experience at the college level

Most kinesiology professors have teaching experience before they begin their careers. You can gain this experience by applying for an entry-level position at a college or university and working as an assistant professor. Entry-level positions are often available to those with master’s degrees, but you may need a doctorate to be considered for an assistant professorship.

Assistant professors typically teach courses in the subjects they studied to earn their advanced degree. For example, if you earned a master’s degree in exercise physiology, you might teach courses in physical fitness and nutrition.

4. Develop strong research skills

Kinesiology professors must conduct research to develop new knowledge and understanding of human movement. They use scientific methods to study topics such as the effects of exercise on bone density or how a person’s body composition affects their ability to perform certain tasks.

To become a kinesiology professor, you should develop your research skills by working under an experienced researcher in your field. You can also take courses in statistics and experimental design to help you better understand the process of conducting research.

5. Publish scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals

To become a kinesiology professor, you need to publish scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals. These are academic journals that review the content of an article before it is published to ensure its quality and relevance to other researchers in the field.

Publishing your research findings in these journals can help you gain credibility as a kinesiology professor because they show that you’re actively researching topics relevant to your teaching role.

6. Present at conferences and symposiums

Kinesiology professors often present their research findings at conferences and symposiums. These events provide an opportunity for you to share your work with other professionals in the field, which can help build your reputation as a scholar in the kinesiology community. Attending these events also allows you to network with colleagues who may be able to recommend you for teaching positions.

To prepare for presentations, develop a slide show that includes visual aids to accompany your speech. Practice delivering your presentation so it flows naturally and engages your audience.

7. Join professional organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a professional organization for individuals in the field of exercise science. Membership with ACSM can help kinesiology professors stay up-to-date on research and developments in their field.

To become an ACSM member, you must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in kinesiology or related field, have at least two years of experience working in the field and be nominated by peers.


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