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Applied Kinesiology: Training, Career Paths and Professional Certification

Learn About Kinesiology Degrees, Careers and Training

applied kinesiology
graphic depiction of physical therapy and kinesiology

Kinesiology is a common application to help athletes and dancers, and is used frequently in sports physiology. However, kinesiology in the context of complementary medicine—a field known as applied kinesiology—is a holistic treatment.

Applied kinesiology is an approach that uses muscle testing in order to zero in on health problems throughout the body. The kinesiologist then determines appropriate physical therapies, herbal medicine, dietary changes or other treatment methods to address the patient’s health issues and prevent future problems.

Kinesiology school attracts a wide range of practitioners interested in holistic health, particularly chiropractors, naturopathic and conventional medical doctors, physical therapistsmassage therapists and nurses.

Career Overview

Kinesiology school graduates can be found throughout the health care and bodywork industries. But what all of these kinesiology careers have in common is their focus on using muscles as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint issues in the nervous system, lymphatic system, energy pathways and other body systems.

Kinesiologists use conventional diagnostic methods like laboratory tests as well as assessments that look at the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system—posture analysis, motion analysis and manual testing for areas of muscle weakness.

When the underlying source of the muscle weakness or movement issue has been identified, the practitioner may suggest physical therapies, medical treatments or herbal supplements to address the problem.

Training and Education

What You’ll Study in Kinesiology School

A basic course at kinesiology school is usually aimed at practicing health professionals and covers topics such as biomechanics, how to perform muscle testing, clinical nutrition, diagnosis of sports injuries, and appropriate holistic treatments for a range of physical and emotional issues.

Average Length of Study

For most kinesiology degrees approved by the International College of Applied Kinesiology, basic training includes 100 hours of study. More advanced study to become a “Diplomate” means 300 additional hours of instruction plus examinations.

Average Tuition

Basic kinesiology training usually costs between $1100 and $2200 for first-time certification applicants. Fees may also vary depending on whether you are a practitioner or still a student.

Kinesiology Certification

Although the 100 hours of basic training qualifies health care and bodywork professionals to practice applied kinesiology, Diplomate-level certification requires 300 hours of advanced courses at a kinesiology school approved by the International College of Applied Kinesiology.

In addition, medical, massage therapy, and health care professionals must meet appropriate state licensing requirements for their profession in order to use their kinesiology training in a clinical or therapeutic setting.

Kinesiology Career Outlook

According to research collected by the International College of Applied Kinesiology, each year brings more positive findings on the effectiveness of kinesiology training as a complementary diagnostic tool.

And, as more Americans begin to rely on holistic and preventive medicine for their overall wellness, kinesiologists have reason to be optimistic about their job outlook.

Kinesiology Salary

Graduates of kinesiology school may practice in a variety of professions. You can compare salaries for the most common careers within the field and find their potential job growth here:

Exercise Physiologists

National data

Median Salary: $47,940

Projected job growth: 13.1%

10th Percentile: $36,930

25th Percentile: $46,120

75th Percentile: $60,780

90th Percentile: $76,950

Projected job growth: 13.1%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $46,660 $36,620 $60,600
Arizona $57,220 $46,640 $75,940
California $76,020 $50,840 $99,260
Colorado N/A N/A N/A
Connecticut $60,640 $46,900 $77,810
Delaware $42,340 $37,070 $74,200
Florida $47,360 $37,020 $76,020
Georgia $47,280 $37,180 $79,890
Iowa $47,850 $37,220 $61,680
Idaho N/A N/A N/A
Illinois $57,280 $37,840 $75,670
Indiana $47,670 $36,930 $76,550
Kansas $46,910 $36,750 $59,770
Kentucky $30,240 $27,920 $53,370
Louisiana $46,590 $36,860 $73,260
Massachusetts $60,780 $45,820 $78,680
Maryland $47,940 $44,140 $75,940
Michigan $47,670 $37,400 $61,160
Minnesota $60,780 $46,650 $77,840
Missouri $46,950 $37,450 $65,310
Mississippi $38,650 $29,400 $79,730
North Carolina $46,910 $36,910 $60,780
Nebraska $58,810 $38,120 $61,250
New Hampshire $59,120 $46,690 $74,250
New Jersey $47,270 $46,690 $73,570
New York $61,150 $37,500 $96,490
Ohio $47,000 $29,550 $62,490
Oklahoma $46,640 $36,930 $60,780
Oregon $59,080 $46,840 $78,460
Pennsylvania $49,370 $43,390 $76,230
South Carolina $44,830 $30,980 $60,780
Tennessee $47,880 $36,770 $73,680
Texas $46,660 $35,010 $74,730
Utah $47,670 $29,850 $60,780
Virginia $48,070 $36,750 $73,680
Washington $47,520 $41,370 $69,900
Wisconsin $58,180 $46,690 $72,450
West Virginia $47,750 $36,760 $76,270

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Is a Kinesiology Career Right for You?

The chiropractor George Goodheart first developed applied kinesiology in the 1960s, believing strongly in its value as a tool of direct feedback about the body’s health.

Now, a wide range of health care and bodywork professionals are seeing the value of kinesiology as a holistic method of diagnosis and treatment that takes into account a patient’s chemical, mental and structural health in equal measure.

Kinesiology school may be a good choice if you have an interest in preventive medicine and complementary diagnostic methods.

Sources: American Kinesiology Association, Applied kinesiology. AltMD, Applied Kinesiology Center of Los Angeles, Ciprian Educational Systems – Professional Seminars, International College of Applied Kinesiology.