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This is a text version of an article published in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, January 14th, 2007 (Click here for the original article on the Houston Chronicle website)


Kinesiology majors have the moves

By REBECCA MAITLAND
Employment Correspondent

Health and fitness, sports agents, sports administration, physical education teacher, physical and occupational therapy, personal trainer, gym management, activities coordinator and strength training all have one thing in common. All of these career paths fall under one degree plan, kinesiology.

Even though kinesiology is defined as the study of human movement, Chuck Layne, Ph. D., professor and chairman, Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Houston, said this fast-growing degree program is the study of promoting better living and better performance.

"In the past four years, the kinesiology program at UH has seen enrollments go from 700 to over 1,300," Layne said.

Moreover, according to the Department of Labor, careers in the kinesiology industry are expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2014, due to an increasing the number of people spending more time and money on health and fitness, and more businesses recognizing the benefits of health and fitness programs and other services such as employee wellness programs.

"One reason this field is growing so fast is due to the heath and fitness craze America is in today, which is creating jobs on many different levels. I think it also has a lot to do with obesity being a major problem in America, which creates health challenges for so many and people are training to help," Layne said.

In the kinesiology program, students specialize in a number of fields such as sports administration, physical fitness education, physical and occupational therapy, rehabilitation, health and wellness, fitness/gyms and others.

Layne said there are many opportunities in this field with many possible career tracks.

"There are a host of opportunities in this very diverse field. For examples, we have three of our four doctoral graduates working for NASA at Johnston Space Center developing programs to help astronauts returning from space. We've also had graduates working for the Astros and Texans and in other sports-related programs. Other graduates have started their own gym or become personal trainers," Layne said.

Another growing area of kinesiology are private companies such as Velocity Fitness, which cater to youth and high-school athletics looking to increase endurance, strength, and their ability to run faster and to perform at a higher level.

"Today, many students are looking to sports for scholarship opportunities, and to support these students' goals, these facilities are offering personal trainers, group workouts and personalized programs, which creates more jobs for our graduates," Layne said.

Specializing in sports administration, which falls under kinesiology, allows graduates to pursue careers in sports teams' front offices, as sports agents and related fields, Layne said.

Other opportunities for graduates include working with large corporations developing fitness and wellness programs, teaching physical education, working in fitness centers and athletic training.

"Nutrition is part of the course, which is a growing industry when coupled with fitness programs," Layne said.

UH offers an online kinesiology graduate program for professionals who are interested in pursuing advanced career opportunities through higher educational degrees.

"The University of Houston's kinesiology doctoral program is highly rated," Layne said.

Regardless of students' reasons for pursuing an undergraduate degree in kinesiology, they are required to take a series of major core courses. In addition, all students are expected to demonstrate competence in a number of forms of movement such as sport, dance, etc.

Interest in a particular subdiscipline or profession is reflected in the specialization area courses that students take.

These specialization areas include:

  • Pre-professional physical education;
  • Fitness for health;
  • Exercise and sport studies; and
  • Athletic training.

All students complete an independent-study and practicum experience. Through this experience, students have the opportunity to gain expertise and practical experience in a specific professional area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more about kinesiology at University of Houston, visit hhp.uh.edu/programs/undergraduate.phpwww.coe.uh.edu/academic.php, or call 713-743-9868.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Velocity Fitness, visit www.velocitysp.com.