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Applied Kinesiology: Training, Career Paths and Professional Certification

applied kinesiology

Learn About Kinesiology Degrees, Careers and Training

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: $50,280

Bottom 10%: $36,070

Top 10%: $78,170

Projected job growth: 13.1%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $47,550 $40,440 $63,040
Arizona $50,740 $42,890 $75,740
California $64,210 $37,500 $94,360
Colorado $48,780 $39,380 $67,900
Connecticut $54,490 $43,340 $82,530
Delaware $41,260 $32,910 $78,070
Florida $49,470 $35,530 $78,780
Georgia $48,240 $37,970 $77,830
Illinois $51,550 $36,720 $81,840
Indiana $48,810 $34,820 $67,320
Iowa $48,510 $37,510 $75,740
Kansas $51,340 $34,790 $111,590
Louisiana $48,060 $34,580 $69,920
Maryland $50,330 $36,350 $89,500
Massachusetts $58,780 $41,310 $81,390
Michigan $48,200 $37,150 $62,710
Minnesota $59,700 $38,290 $79,550
Mississippi $38,980 $26,510 $74,400
Missouri $48,450 $37,100 $75,570
Nevada $67,000 $42,060 $93,370
New Hampshire $55,780 $43,220 $74,140
New Jersey $58,500 $43,630 $79,680
New York $63,700 $39,320 $101,310
North Carolina $45,740 $34,440 $64,910
Ohio $50,260 $39,590 $71,480
Oklahoma $46,420 $33,890 $69,340
Oregon $57,530 $44,010 $80,650
Pennsylvania $46,290 $34,200 $78,150
South Carolina $43,810 $28,820 $66,030
Tennessee $44,510 $33,620 $77,860
Texas $46,440 $34,530 $74,420
Utah $50,260 $35,870 $66,630
Virginia $56,120 $35,680 $78,560
Washington $59,990 $44,540 $78,200
West Virginia $49,540 $37,440 $93,200
Wisconsin $55,430 $43,380 $70,010

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 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.