And How It’s Different From Sports Medicine, Athletic Therapist & Personal Trainer



Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement, performance and function and may also be referred to as ‘human kinetics’. The practice of kinesiology applies the science of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, psychology and neuroscience to human movement and function.

Kinesiology employs evidence based scientific research and assessment to assist in the prevention and rehabilitation of injury, lifestyle diseases and other physiological conditions, along with the enhancement of human performance, in environments such as work and sport.


Kinesiologists (also referred to as “kinesiotherapists” or “kinesiologues” in other regions of Canada and Quebec) are “human movement specialists”. Kinesiologists provide unique and valuable services contributing to your health care and treatment, working closely with you to:

  • prevent and treat illness or injury through appropriate exercise testing, assessement and prescription;
  • improve your physical performance in sport, work and activities of daily living;
  • oversee or assist with the implementation of your individual health care plan;
  • assess workplace demands and provide workplace design services (ergonomics) to help prevent and/or recovery from injury; and
  • provide support in rehabilitation and wellness management.

Kinesiologists work as part of interdisciplinary teams to ensure you receive integrated best-practices care for safe and effective treatment and independently in the community depending on your needs.

Many Kinesiologists are community based, providing quality service when and where it is needed and can help ‘bridge’ the gap between clinic/facility based treatment and the home or independent community environments. This role has been shown to enhance your ability to return to regular home, work and leisure activities sooner and more effectively.



As “Human Movement Specialists”, kinesiologists utilize their scientific knowledge and training in human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor learning, exercise physiology and exercise prescription to deliver high quality evidence-based solutions for disease prevention, improving physical functional/performance and maintaining mental health.

Typical workplace settings include public recreation centres, multidisciplinary rehabilitation centres; hospitals, care homes; along with large employers including utilities, manufacturing companies, industry, construction, crown corporations, and others.



Physical Rehabilitation: Assessing and treating injuries through client education and active exercise therapy. WorkSafe BC, ICBC, and other large organizations and employers support active rehabilitation programs that help injured persons return-to-work and return to pre-injury activities. Kinesiologists work in a variety of settings from community care settings to interdisciplinary healthcare teams who develop and progress exercise therapy programs.

Fitness and Health Promotion: Many Kinesiologists work to help clients improve physical and mental fitness. Exercise and education are tools used to improve both aspects of human health. Jobs in this sector focus on employee wellness and can be found in medium to large organizations, such as industrial labour organizations, manufacturing, private companies, all levels of government, crown corporations and related agencies.

Ergonomics and Human Factors: Kinesiologists can assist clients through adaptations to their work and home environment to reduce the risk of injury. Assessing workspaces, applying practices & tools, and assessing the work tasks themselves can lead to improved worker safety and productivity, by keeping material within easy reach, working at the proper height, reducing unnecessary motion, reducing the need for excessive force and other factors.

Research: Kinesiologists perform valuable healthcare research through Masters or Doctoral degree programs or as post-secondary researchers. Kinesiologists in professional practice can also contribute to best-practices research through case studies and collaborative research projects, where client outcomes are analyzed and in terms of various treatment methods and protocols, adding to best-practices research studies.

In the United States, the American Kinesiology Association has developed presentations on the value of obtaining a kinesiology education and the kinesiologists’ impact on society. These are valuable resources for students considering a career in kinesiology or as a pathway to a related healthcare profession.


MORE INFORMATION: Kinesiology Areas of Practice

BC Association of Kinesiologists



People who choose to the study of human movement and to build a career in kinesiology are usually very active folks.

The primary goal of anyone going into kinesiology is a 4 year bachelor’s degree because it is required for registration.

Registration with a kinesiological association in Canada isn’t required by law, but seen as a necessary step to practice as a kinesiology professional after receiving their kinesiology degree. Each province has separate association of kinesiology, such as BC’s BCAK (British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists). Registration with the association includes a criminal record check, references and screening for specific university courses. CPR and Standard First Aid are also requirements by their kinesiology association.

A kinesiology degree is perfect field for anyone interested in a career as a physical education teacher, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, personal trainer or almost any other role in the fitness industry.



The Bachelor of Kinesiology at UBC is a four-year program that can start a career in Kinesiology, active health research, education, recreation, or sports. While the core courses are consistent in Years 1 and 2 for all students, there are three streams available for Years 3 and 4. Direct admission to Year 1 of the B. Kin requires the following high school courses:

  • Any English Language Arts 11 and one of English Studies 12 or English First Peoples 12
  • One of Pre-Calculus 12, Biology or A&P 12, Chemistry 12 or Physics 12
  • Language 11 or waiver
  • Science 11
  • One of Pre-Calculus 11 or Foundations of Math 12

Transfer students must also meet these requirements or post-secondary equivalent courses.


Camosun College

Bachelor of Sport & Fitness Leadership, Exercise & Wellness Specialization

Bachelor of Athletic and Exercise Therapy

Douglas College

Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching – Concentration in Kinesiology

Simon Fraser University

Kinesiology Major with the Active Health and Rehabilitation concentration

University of British Columbia – Kelowna campus (UBC-Okanagan):

Bachelor of Human Kinetics – Concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology

University of the Fraser Valley

Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree – Exercise Science Specialization

University of Victoria

Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Kinesiology

These are all approved university and college programs through the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists.


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE ? The following information is provided with permission from

Kinesiologist vs. Personal Trainer: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking to get fit, or you’re an active person and you are recovering from an injury, you may be wondering about the difference between a kinesiologist and a personal trainer. Both professions involve helping people achieve their fitness goals, but there are some key distinctions.

Personal trainers and kinesiologists have a similar process of assessment, design, implementation, and monitoring of client-tailored exercise programs, but there’s a big difference between the two professions. Keep reading to learn more about how kinesiologists and personal trainers differ.


Kinesiology vs Sports Medicine: What is the difference?

Kinesiology and sports medicine are two closely related professions that both involve treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and improving athletic performance. However, the scope of practice and specialization of these two health and wellness professions is what sets them apart. Keep reading to find out more about the scope, specialization, and education requirements for these two health professions.


Kinesiologist vs. Athletic Therapist: What’s the Difference?

Kinesiology and Athletic Therapy are two closely related professions, but there is a big difference between the two. Kinesiologists study how the body moves and how muscles work together while athletic therapists treat injuries that occur as a result of physical activity. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in either field, it’s important to understand the differences between them. Keep reading to explore the roles of both kinesiologists and athletic therapists and some of their key responsibilities, and what the education and certification requirements for each profession.