Career Planning

Finding Your Purpose

Exploring your career options starts with figuring out what you like and what you don’t like and what professional area(s) will allow you to feel satisfied and fulfilled. Since Kinesiology is such a broad major, students and graduates find their niche in just about any industry, including healthcare, sport, fitness, business, nonprofits, health & wellness, research, education, etc.

Things to think about when deciding on a career path:

  1. What kind of environment do I want to work in? A hospital, a gym, a school, a clinic, a corporate office…
  2. Do I value working closely with other professionals on a daily basis or do I prefer to work more independently?
  3. What skill sets do I possess and how would they be beneficial to _____ profession or industry?
  4. What do I know about _____ profession or industry? How and where can I find out more?

Exploring Options

Getting involved is a great way to start exploring your career options. Whether it’s joining a career-specific student organization (like the Pre-PA Club) or a broader group (like PEK), volunteering locally or near your home town, or talking informally with a professional in an area of interest, you are doing something proactive to explore what you may want to do after graduation.

Check out the Getting Involved section of the KIN-nections web site to help you explore further.

Use the 4-year plan below to help you determine if you’re on track with your career readiness. Not quite where you should be for your year in school? Don’t stress about it! Just be sure to start engaging right away so you don’t run out of time before graduation.

Career Paths for KIN majors

There are many career options for KIN majors, which can be exciting yet daunting to think about. Here’s what to remember when exploring career paths.

  1. You are not defined by your major. KIN graduates are individuals with a multitude of unique transferable skills and academic knowledge that would be perfect for many different professions. Explore some options at What Can I Do With This Major?
  2. Keep your options open. You may really have your heart set on becoming, say, an athletic trainer, but it’s a good idea to consider alternative options as well. Parallel plans are not something to be ashamed of. It’s healthy to pursue many interests to learn about all your options.
  3. Determine if graduate or professional school is right for you. Not everyone wants to continue their academic endeavors after finishing a 4-year degree. Know if graduate school is mandatory to reach your career goals and decide if that’s right for you (P.S. most healthcare related fields require some kind of advanced degree or certification). In fact, most years more than 50% of KIN graduates get a job after leaving MSU and are working in a variety of professional areas and industries. See the Destination Survey for a snapshot of first destinations.
  4. Know the reality. Not all KIN graduates pursue physical therapy or another healthcare related field. The truth is, getting into these programs can be VERY competitive requiring fantastic grades and plenty of volunteer or “patient care” experience. We’ve done the math: the average overall GPA of KIN grads successfully admitted to PT schools last year was a 3.72 (3.65 for OT)!
  5. Do your research. It takes hard work and effort to learn about all your options. Google is your friend! Search key words, job titles,  industry areas, and professional/graduate programs. Networking is also important. Reach out to local area hospitals or organizations to seek volunteer opportunities, use online resources like Linkedin to connect with alumni and professionals, attend a career-related event, and talk with your friends, family, peers, advisors, or professors to explore your interests, passions, and talents. For your advisors’ favorite list of professions click here.

KIN Careers – Starting Your Career Right After College

Many kinesiology students jump into a satisfying career soon after finishing their degree at MSU. The best way to obtain a worthwhile opportunity after graduating is to become a marketable candidate who can successfully articulate and demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Increase your marketability by gaining experience while in school by volunteering, interning, working part-time, networking, etc. to show your commitment to and gain experience in the field. Use resources like O*Net OnLine to research job titles and professional areas.

Popular KIN Careers:

  • Certified Personal Trainer (certification necessary)
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Health Educator
  • Exercise Specialist
  • Insurance Claims Specialist
  • Medical Sales Representative
  • Sports Program Coordinator
  • Sports/Fitness Facility Manager
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Wellness Specialist (may require a personal training certificate)

Additional Career Options include, but are not limited to:

  • Exercise Physiologist/Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist (additional coursework or certification needed)
  • Equipment Manager
  • Group Fitness Manager
  • Health or Sport Program Coordinator
  • Health and Wellness Coordinator
  • Sports Coach

Work with your College Career Consultant and Career Peers to prepare your application materials and create a professional brand to help “sell” yourself in a competitive job market. Log in to Handshake to make an appointment.

KIN Careers – Going on to Graduate or Professional School

Many professions (including those in healthcare) require graduate or professional school to be eligible. Research graduate programs extensively and talk to admissions representatives to know if you are a good candidate for the program(s) and do your best to gain exposure to the field early to ensure the time, money, and effort put into graduate or professional school is worthwhile.

  • Certified Orthotist and Prosthetist
  • Chiropractor
  • Nurse (accelerated post-bachelor’s option)
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Kinesiology Faculty
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Sports Psychologist

Other Options include, but are not limited to:

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Athletic Director
  • Genetics Counselor
  • Medical Perfusionist
  • Medical Researcher
  • Pathologist Assistant
  • Sports Attorney

Although your college academic and career advisors know a bit about many different career paths, the MSU Preprofessional Advisors are the authority on healthcare graduate/professional school planning and preparation. Don’t be afraid to use them as a resource as you’re planning your future. MSU Preprof

For more career resources, check out the MSU Career Services Network.

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