T Nation

Need Help (Career Related)

I am 17 years old, at the end of grade 12, and it’s time for me to accept my university offers. But here’s the story:
My parents have always pushed me into the computer field (particularly, programming), ever since grade 6 or 7. Up until grade 10, I thought that that’s where I’ll end up, since I wasn’t thinking about a career at the time, so I figured I’d go along with my parents. I didn’t have a positive or a negative view of computers, so I didn’t mind. Around the middle of grade 10, I started reading T-Nation, and became more and more interested in sports/exercise science. In grade 11, I took a programming course, figuring that I’ll still go to university for computers. By the end of grade 11, I was very disinterested in computers, and very interested in sports science, and performance enhancement. Still thinking I’d go into computer by the end of grade 11 (although starting to dread it slightly), I didn’t say anything to my parents, so they kept thinking that I’d go into computers. Then, in grade 12, I took kinesiology, and developed a passion for it. That was the point when I finally decided against computers and for kinesiology.

When it came time to apply to universities, I still hadn’t told my parents that I’m interested in kinesiology, so I applied to the university of Toronto for computer science, York university for computer science, and York for kinesiology (told my parents this was a backup). Well, now, it’s a few months later, and I got accepted to all three programs. Now, I’ve had a few long talks with my parents, and they know that I have my heart set on kinesiology. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), they seemed to be disappointed with my choice. They said that there is very little future in it. There isn’t a very high demand for them (kinesiologists), and the salaries seem to be low. But, they told me, if this is what I want, and I have some sort of future in it, I should research it, and get back to them.

So my questions to you are:
Has anybody here graduated from a kinesiology program at a Canadian university?
Did you find work? How easily? How does it pay (a bit personal, but important)?
To narrow this down a littler more, you know that from kinesiology you can go into either the medicine field, or the sports/fitness industry. Well, I’m interested in the latter.
So does anybody work in the fitness/sports industry? Was a university degree necessary to get that job?
Did you have to get any additional education/certification beyond the standard 4 years it takes for a BA or B.Sc.?
Do you enjoy your work?

Any other details you can think of will be very helpful.

Sorry if this seems like a long post, but I really don’t want to end up working in computers, so I need a really good case for kinesiology.

Thank you!

Do what you love. Study hard in school and pile up some degrees.

Life is too short to work in a field you do not like.

I think that no matter what field you choose, your passion for it is what determines how well you’ll succeed. I’m a programmer and systems administrator, and I’ve seen many many programmers who were in the computer field just ‘for the money’. These guys never end up getting ‘the money’! They just sit by and dispassionately do their job. They get passed up for promotions and better pay because they don’t really care about what they’re doing.

Now on the other hand, if you truly care about what it is you’re doing, no matter what that is, you’ll get ahead and succeed. Your own passion will drive you to do more, and that doing will get you better work and better pay.

Don’t go through life as a zombie just because someone else thinks what you’re doing is good. You have to seize your own life and let your own passions guide you.

I’ve already decided on kinesiology. I just need to back that up.

I’ve been looking through career information on it, and it doesn’t look too good (at least in the eyes of my parents). It’s all the stuff I’m interested in: enhancing athletic performance, working with injuries, helping people with fitness goals, etc.

Unfortunately, the demand for kinesiologists is fairly low. The unemployment rate among kinesiologists is higher than among the average population, and the salaries lower than the average population (around $35000-$38000 CAD).

But on the other hand, it would be something I would enjoy. A big selling point for me is that it’s a physical job. I can’t sit around at a desk in front of a computer all day. I have to move around, and this job seems to fit the bill, especially that kinesiologists sometimes work in athletic settings.

However, another point my parents brought up is that I should have a salary sufficient to provide for a family (in the distant future). I figure if I can control my expenses by the number of kids I have. If I can’t support 2 or 3 kids, then I’ll only have one. Also, in all likelihood, I won’t be the sole provider for my family. My wife would work (probably at a job that pays more than that of a kinesiologist), so I figure the living will be decent. Anything wrong with my logic? Anything I overlooked?

Also, my initial questions still remain, about the job information. I prefer to work with athletes and the general public rather than at old folks’ homes or in hospitals. Any thoughts?

I would shoot a PM to Christian Thibadeau since this seems to fit him pretty well.

Kuz

[quote]Kuz wrote:
I would shoot a PM to Christian Thibadeau since this seems to fit him pretty well.
Kuz[/quote]

I did! As well as David Barr.

Your parents should be happy you are interested in something other than Nintendo and weed.

If they like computer programming so much, they should do it themselves. I’m a programmer by trade, got into it because I loved it. Hated all the losers who hopped into it because they could fake some knowledge and earn some bucks.

Tell them all the programming jobs are being outsourced overseas anyway.

The fact of the matter is, YOU are currently deprived of important life experience - which your parents possess.

You can choose ignorance instead, but keeping in mind your parents only will is your happiness, I would heed their advice.

After all, mommy knows best.

(Please note the hint of sarcasm I sprinkled here and there throughout my post)

Career choices are among the most important you will make in your life - and will require more introspection than just a few weeks. For most it takes many years as they tap into different areas and decide on how it tastes.

Money matters ARE important. However, realize that doing what YOU want is far more important. Look at it as an equation - one where love for your job outweighs income differential. Both are important, but its the whole package which matters most.

Good luck, and be sure to hit Christian Thibeaudeau. Chad Waterbury is also a Kinesiology dude, I believe.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Your parents should be happy you are interested in something other than Nintendo and weed.
[/quote]

vroom, it wouldn’t be that bad if one became a game programmer in Nintendo! :slight_smile:
Obviously weed would be a problem.

kligor, try to stick with what you love. It is painful to work with something you don’t like, plus you are unlikely to be successful if you work with something you don’t like.

And it is ultra-painful if you work in the programming industry while you don’t like to. Trust the geek boy on that.

I came across Mike Mahler’s background and found that he was in a similar situation. Maybe you want to talk/PM to him as well?

Do what you love man. I don’t know how the market is over in Canada, but here in California programmers come and go. Most of them are temps. They do short term jobs and looking for the next gig after. I got into the computer field, now I want out. I’m in my 30s so changing fields is tough. You’re still young man, do what feels right.

I went into the argument with my parents thinking “would it be better to do something I like for less money, or something I hate for lots of money?” The answer to that is obvious.

I’d love to go into kinesiology, and after university, start working with athletes, but I just have the bad feeling that ultimately, the final choice is that of my parents. They will be the ones paying for my education, so unfortunately, they can control what I’ll be studying.

Luckily, I’ve gotten them to be more open minded towards kinesiology. Now, I just need proof that there is a future in it.

Do you seriously think they would deny you a college education because you chose a subject other than the one they had in mind?

It sounds like your parents are more concerned with their ego, such that they can brag about what their child is doing, when they compare to their friends.

So, when the Gilberts down the street say their son is becoming a lawyer they can say, we’ll, ours is a computer programming genius.

Think how hard done by they will be if they have to tell everyone you are going to be a kinesiologist. Nobody will even know what they are talking about. Sigh, you might as well become a garbage man.

Yes, I’m being an ass. Grow up now. Take loans, summer jobs, work nights, do whatever the hell it takes. Figure out what you have in you, what you have to do, and do it.

There is nothing wrong with a career in computers, and it is possible you don’t really know what it will be like from the education you’ve had so far. However, there is nothing wrong with any other career either.

At this age you aren’t a child anymore, you don’t exist for the pleasure of your parents. They will have to let go and simply accept your choices at some point. Maybe that point is now.

Heh, I’m not suggesting you be confrontational, but I would suggest you start making your own decisions soon.

If you enter a field you dislike, you will have a hard time in school. Then you will be competing against people who love the field for jobs.

I personally think you would actually make more money as a kinesiologist then as a programmer because if you love the field, people who just went into the field will be competing against you to get jobs, or start businesses.

If you can, be sure to add a complementary minor, and you would be surprised how much you could make.

Can kinesiology lead you to physical therapy or sports medicine? These are fields that are somewhat related. Look into it because they may be your answer…

Vroom,

I don’t know if it’s so much about my parents’ ego. I think they truly do want me to be successful. But they don’t see much success in kinesiology. The only reason they wanted me to go into computers in the first place, is because my dad is a computer engineer, and he knows quite a bit about the job prospects, work conditions and salary of the job.

I think I’m starting to get through to my parents. Now, they’re leaning more towards kinesiology than computer science. By the end of this week, I think they’ll probably have made their choice. Besides, there isn’t much more time anyway, since my offers need to be accepted by May 13 anyway.

I really think that kinesiology will be what they choose. I got my fingers crossed.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
If you can, be sure to add a complementary minor, and you would be surprised how much you could make.[/quote]

Interesting. Can you elaborate? I was thinking of taking a bunch of complementary courses, since I like all the exercise sciences, not just kinesiology, but that was just out of interest. I didn’t know it could add to my job prospects. I was thinking of a minor in any one of sports psychology, nutrition, sports administration, etc.

[quote]tall tom wrote:
Can kinesiology lead you to physical therapy or sports medicine? These are fields that are somewhat related. Look into it because they may be your answer…
[/quote]

Indeed it can! In fact, I was already looking into athletic therapy.

Jobs in Canada? Hmmm… I think the fact that I’m now in Texas speaks volumes about that. :slight_smile: Just kidding, there’s plenty of opportunity in Canada, particularly because it’s a second world country with regard to strength and conditioning.

If you want to get into fitness, get your CK, PLFC, and possibly a CSCS. If you want to work with athletes, the latter is necessary and a Masters is becoming increasingly so. Be sure to volunteer as an intern during your undergrad. You could also volunteer in a lab to see if you like research.

The way I see it, jobs and the amount you earn is really up to you. It depends on how much ambition you have an how much you’re willing to do for yourself. If you just want a nice comfortable job after graduation, then you won’t be making great money -let’s face it, personal trainers are a dime a dozen, and you really have to stand out to get the cash.

Having said all of that, it just doesn’t seem like you’re into computers. Why go to skool for 4 years taking something you don’t like, only to set yourself up for a career that you don’t like?

Hope this helps!

Cheers

[quote]David Barr wrote:
Jobs in Canada? Hmmm… I think the fact that I’m now in Texas speaks volumes about that. :slight_smile: Just kidding, there’s plenty of opportunity in Canada, particularly because it’s a second world country with regard to strength and conditioning.
[/quote]

That’s actually very encouraging, knowing that Canada is the second biggest in Strength and Conditioning. Do you know any numbers relating to this? how many strength and conditioning specialists does Canada have?

Where did you go to university? What did
you major in?

[quote]
If you want to get into fitness, get your CK, PLFC, and possibly a CSCS. If you want to work with athletes, the latter is necessary and a Masters is becoming increasingly so. Be sure to volunteer as an intern during your undergrad. You could also volunteer in a lab to see if you like research.

The way I see it, jobs and the amount you earn is really up to you. It depends on how much ambition you have an how much you’re willing to do for yourself. If you just want a nice comfortable job after graduation, then you won’t be making great money -let’s face it, personal trainers are a dime a dozen, and you really have to stand out to get the cash. [/quote]

This is just a fact of today’s workplace: you have to stand out to earn more. But do you have any idea what the average CSCS earns in Canada (or other similar professions)?
How do you think the future is looking for strength and conditioning specialists? How high is the demand?

Thanks for all the info!
It’s very helpful.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
If you can, be sure to add a complementary minor, and you would be surprised how much you could make.

kligor wrote:
Interesting. Can you elaborate? I was thinking of taking a bunch of complementary courses, since I like all the exercise sciences, not just kinesiology, but that was just out of interest. I didn’t know it could add to my job prospects. I was thinking of a minor in any one of sports psychology, nutrition, sports administration, etc.[/quote]

I am definitely no expert in kinesiology, and therefore cannot talk too intelligently about income ranges, but I believe you are making a mistake at looking at average income. I doubt you would ever make the average income in computers. Without the interest you will be at the lower end of that spectrum.

With a strong interest, you could be at the upper end of the kinesiologist income, maybe not immediately, but eventually. Just because you are more likely to stick out.

Go into any gym, and you will find the average personal trainer making low wages. They don’t stand out. But there are personal trainers making hundreds an hour training big name stars.

The average beauty salon has cute girls cutting hair, making a few bucks, while there are the pros who get a good name, making hundreds a haircut.

Bill Gates may be rich, but it wasn’t his programming skill that got him where he is, it was his skill at being a businessman. But he couldn’t have made it without a love of computers. (Note: Not a discussion about whether we like Bill Gates or not, just success.)

If you want to make money, at anything, be the best you can be. Don’t settle for less then 4.0 grades. This might mean skipping all those college parties, and actually studying, but just doing that will put you ahead of 90 percent of
“normal” college students.

And don’t ever forget that the learning never stops.

Now money is nice, but remember the most important thing is to do what you love. You will most likely find that the money will follow, but always remember there are more important things then money. Your sanity for one.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
The Mage wrote:
I am definitely no expert in kinesiology, and therefore cannot talk too intelligently about income ranges, but I believe you are making a mistake at looking at average income. I doubt you would ever make the average income in computers. Without the interest you will be at the lower end of that spectrum.

With a strong interest, you could be at the upper end of the kinesiologist income, maybe not immediately, but eventually. Just because you are more likely to stick out.

Go into any gym, and you will find the average personal trainer making low wages. They don’t stand out. But there are personal trainers making hundreds an hour training big name stars.

The average beauty salon has cute girls cutting hair, making a few bucks, while there are the pros who get a good name, making hundreds a haircut.

Bill Gates may be rich, but it wasn’t his programming skill that got him where he is, it was his skill at being a businessman. But he couldn’t have made it without a love of computers. (Note: Not a discussion about whether we like Bill Gates or not, just success.)

If you want to make money, at anything, be the best you can be. Don’t settle for less then 4.0 grades. This might mean skipping all those college parties, and actually studying, but just doing that will put you ahead of 90 percent of
“normal” college students.

And don’t ever forget that the learning never stops.

Now money is nice, but remember the most important thing is to do what you love. You will most likely find that the money will follow, but always remember there are more important things then money. Your sanity for one. [/quote]

All right, I see what you mean. In fact, this has just been confirmed.
On Tuesday, I went to the rehab clinic (where my mother works), to speak with 2 kinesiologists, both who did their degree in kinesiology in the same university I’m considering.
They both said the same thing as you: get a complementary minor.

The first guy I spoke to was a bit discouraging. He said that to work in athletics takes a lot of luck to make connections, go to games, practices, etc. However, he did say that if I study business along with kinesiology, then my future looks a lot brighter. I could open my own clinic, and actually work with athletes.
Also, after finishing his kinesiology degree, the guy had to get an additional 2 years as a physiotherapist, because there weren’t any jobs as a plain kinesiologist.

The second guy I spoke to was significantly more encouraging. He said that there is a great future in athletics, especially that York University is affiliated with the Raptors and the Maple Leafs. He said that in York, there are 4 potential streams. He mentioned 2: business administration and fitness assessment. He said that fitness assessment is the better choice, because you work in athletics and not health care, and also bonus the money is better. However, this guy also said to study business along with kinesiology.

So what I got out of talking to these guys was that there is a definite future in kinesiology, but it would be wise to study business along side it. And yes, it is possible to work in athletics.
I told that to my parents, and that seemed to be another nudge in that direction. This one could be the last push. I got my fingers crossed.

[quote]kligor wrote:
That’s actually very encouraging, knowing that Canada is the second biggest in Strength and Conditioning. Do you know any numbers relating to this? how many strength and conditioning specialists does Canada have? [/quote]

I should have been more clear, Canada is second world, meaning that it’s a developing nation (just like Cuba is a second world nation) with regard to SnC. In other words, it currently sucks. Along with what I wrote earlier, if you see this as an advantage, then you have the mentality to succeed. NOTE: see the current Strong Words by Emerson.

[quote]
Where did you go to university? What did
you major in?[/quote]

I went to UW and majored in Biology with a specialization in Physiology and Biochemistry. My Masters is officially in Biology, but was conducted through Kin. A Kin program prepares you well for applied work, but not research. :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote]
But do you have any idea what the average CSCS earns in Canada (or other similar professions)?
How do you think the future is looking for strength and conditioning specialists? How high is the demand?[/quote]

I’d wager that most with a CSCS aren’t actually strength coaches, and of those that are, you really don’t hear of too many groundbreakers. Most Universities still don’t have them on staff (again, second world), so the demand is currently low. We’re not going to pump cash into athletics any time soon, so the chances of making a living as a strength coach in Canada is very low.

[quote]
Thanks for all the info!
It’s very helpful.[/quote]

No prob.

Cheers