Career Guide


The Kinesiology major is a department within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.


Exercise Science 
Physical and Health Education Teacher Education PHETEE)

Admission and Progression Standards

Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

Kinesiology is offered as a major at JMU. The Department of Kinesiology is dedicated to the development of future leaders in professions that maximize the potential of individuals and society through physical activity. This is achieved through two concentrations: Physical and Health Education Teacher Education, and Exercise Science. A minor in Coaching, leading to a national Coaching Certificate is also offered through the Department of Kinesiology.

More About the Field 

Kinesiology is the study of human movement and performance. Students examine the effects of participation in physical activity on the physical, psychological and social dimensions of the human condition. Fitness and wellness occupations are among the most rapidly growing professions in America. Some examples of services in which people are becoming involved are: teaching and coaching in public and private schools; careers as exercise leaders and fitness directors; physical therapy; exercise testing and prescription; and personal training; corporate wellness. Opportunities for graduate level education include research in exercise science, teaching, sport medicine, and related fields of human performance.


There are two different concentrations: Physical and Health Education Teacher Education and Exercise Science. The Physical and Health Education Teacher Education concentration prepares students for careers in teaching school physical and health education. This is a five-year program culminating in a M.A.T. degree and graduates can earn a Virginia teaching license in physical and health education. Students who desire teaching certification should consult the "Teacher Certification Requirements Manual". Exercise Science prepares students for employment in fitness-related agencies such as wellness centers, hospitals and rehabilitation programs, and to pursue graduate degrees in exercise science or other health related fields. Graduates of this program are prepared to enroll in the fitness instructor certification program sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine. Students interested in physical therapy find this concentration a complement to the Pre-Physical Therapy program.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

Kinesiology majors seek minor concentrations in several of the Pre-Professional Health Minors, including Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Athletic Training, and Pre-Occupational TherapyOther complementary minors include: Coaching, Medical Spanish, General Business, andHelathh Communication. 

Characteristics of Successful Students

Self-direction is essential; industriousness, relating and working well with others, and of course, a love for physical activity.


Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Adult Education Coordinator
  • Aerobics Instructor
  • Athletic Coach
  • Athletic Director
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Biomechanists
  • Campus Recreation Director
  • Cardiac Technologist
  • College Professor
  • Community Relations Director
  • Corporate Fitness Leader
  • Director of Community Relations
  • Employment Specialist
  • Ergonomics Specialist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Fitness Equipment Designer
  • Fitness Specialist
  • Health/ Fitness Instructor
  • Health/ Fitness Writer
  • Operations Projects Coordinator
  • Orthopedist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physician
  • Podiatrist
  • Professional Athlete
  • Professional Official
  • Professional Sports Scout
  • Researcher
  • Shoe Company Consultant
  • Sports Equipment Salesperson
  • Sports Fitness Nutritionist
  • Sports Instructor
  • Sports Psychologist
  • Sports Statistician
  • Sportscaster
  • Strength Coach
  • Student Activities Coordinator
  • Teacher, Physical & Health Ed
  • YMCA Youth Leader
  • Youth Programs Director

Who Employs Graduates?

Advertising Companies, Colleges/Universities, Corporate Fitness Centers, Public/Private Schools, Fitness Centers, Heath Clubs, Hospitals, Parks and Recreation Departments, Recreation Facilities, Rehabilitation Centers, Resorts, Sports Camps, Sports Equipment Companies, Sports Medicine Clinics, and Youth Camps.

Internships and Experiential Opportunities 

All concentrations inKinesiologyy expose students to both practicum and internship experiences. Students should consult with the faculty coordinator of the area in which they are interested for more information. 

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles 

Athletic Trainers and Exercise Physiologists
Coaches and Scouts
Fitness Trainers and Instructors
Physical Therapists
Recreational Therapists

Teacher – Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Exercise Physiologists
Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary

Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to

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