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Welcome to the Careers Page for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. Student enrollment in Kinesiology and Health Promotion is increasing dramatically across the United States due to student interest in careers associated with our disciplines. Students with a major in the Department have many career options. This page is intended to be an overview of many of the options available to students majoring in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Click on one of the expandable categories below to learn more about career opportunities within each major.

Careers in Exercise Science

Professional Programs:
Students majoring in Exercise Science pursue many different paths including enrolling in post-graduate professional programs such as physical therapy, physician’s assistant, medicine, chiropractic, dental school, pharmacy, and others. The program allows students to major in Exercise Science while taking the prerequisites necessary specific to the professional program to which they wish to apply. Students completing the program receive a Bachelors of Science Degree in Education.

Although the program may be considered nontraditional for the College of Education, students in Exercise Science have been very successful in obtaining admittance to professional programs. For example, in 2010-2011, 50% of the UK graduates admitted to Physical Therapy were graduates from Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Our course work and placements in professional practicum experiences serve as excellent application for how the human body works.

Graduate School in Exercise Physiology or Biomechanics:
After finishing an undergraduate program in Exercise Science, some students choose to pursue a graduate degree in Exercise Physiology. A graduate degree in Exercise Physiology can lead to a career in cardiac rehabilitation; fitness jobs in business, government, or the military; higher education; or strength and conditioning for athletes. Students who choose to pursue a graduate degree in Biomechanics may pursue careers in the Ergonomics industry, physical rehabilitation in hospitals or Higher Education.

Personal Trainer:
Some students wish to pursue a career in personal training to help individuals or groups become physically fit. Students interested in this field often obtain additional certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association or the American College of Sports Medicine. Classes required in the KHP major provide preparation to take these certification exams.

Careers in Education

Teacher Education-Kinesiology/Physical Education
Many students who are interested in working with children pursue a teaching certification in physical education (P-12). Students must apply to the Teacher Education Program, be accepted into the program, complete the relevant coursework, and student teach. Students interested in becoming a physical education teacher also are strongly encouraged to complete a dual major in health promotion.  Schools in Kentucky have traditionally hired teachers who can teach both Physical Education and Health Education.

Teacher Education-Health Promotion
Some students elect to major in Health Promotion. The Health Promotion major-teacher certification is one track within the Health Promotion major. In Kentucky, schools do not often hire teachers who teach only health education, but some jobs may be available.

Other students major in Health Promotion with the intention of applying to graduate school in health promotion or public health, continuing their education in nursing or other health-related fields, or  working in a community health setting.

Minor in Health Promotion

Minor in Health Promotion
Students at UK who are pursuing majors other than Kinesiology and Health Promotion are often searching for an appropriate minor. The minor in Health Promotion can often complement other majors and strengthen students’ ability to secure employment after graduation. We currently have students who are majoring in Nursing, Integrated Strategic Communications (ISC), Psychology, Communications, Math Education, Family Science, and others.

Health Promotion is a growing and dynamic field. Individuals with a background in health promotion may serve as health educators or health promotion specialists in educational, occupational, and community settings. Health promotion professionals work in the following fields:

  • Worksite Health Promotion
  • Voluntary or nonprofit organizations
  • Student Health at a University
  • Health Promotion in University Campus Recreation
  • Health Coaching