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Kinesiology refers to the study of movement. Physical activity includes exercise for improvement of health and physical fitness, activities of daily living, work, sport, dance and play, and involves special population groups; such as children and the elderly or persons with disability, injury or disease. 

Students who purse the Adapted Physical Education program at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) will learn to adapt or modify physical activities, instruction and/or education curriculum to address the specific range of abilities of individuals. Students will learn to develop activities that are appropriate and effective for persons with disabilities. Coursework includes topics like Sign Language, Motor Learning, Physical Activity and Aging, and Inclusive Physical Activity. An internship is required to earn this degree, which enables students to gain hands-on occupational skills and make connections within the field. CMU also offers many clubs and organizations campus-wide and within the Department of Kinesiology that can help prepare students for advanced study or build campus and community connections.


• Activities Director at an Assisted Living Center, Rehabilitation Facility, or Hospital
• Adapted Physical Education Teacher (K-12)*
• After-School Coordinator
• Coaching (Special Olympics)
• Consulting
• Instructional Aide
• Program Director for non-profit organizations
• Occupational Therapists*
• Physical Activity Consultants
• Physical Therapists*
• Recreational Therapist*
• Research
• Specialized Camps
• Teaching abroad

Note: Some of the occupations listed above may require additional education, experience, or training beyond a bachelor’s degree. To research these occupations use the Career Research Resources links below.

• Provide adaptive physical education services to people with intellectual or physical disabilities
• Assess the limitations and necessary accommodations for people with varying abilities
• Review programs and practices to ensure compliance with legal regulations
• Assist people in improving their physical fitness and motor skills
• Communicate progress or concerns to administrators, families, and students
• Demonstrate skills or activities being taught
• Prepare/adapt individualized education plans (IEPs) to meet the abilities of students
• Modify equipment or activities to accommodate special needs
• Maintain records for individuals who are being assisted

• Assisted living centers
• Early childhood education centers
• K-12 schools
• Hospitals
• Non-profit organizations
• Nursing homes
• Parks & recreation departments
• Rehabilitation facilities
• Special Olympics

Skills Needed by Adapted Physical Education majors:

• Ability to plan recreation and physical activities for a variety of ability levels
• Leadership skills
• Ability to use instructional aids
• Active listening skills
• Coordination
• Desire to assist people with physical activity regardless of their ability level
• Desire to help and care for people
• General knowledge of anatomy
• Good judgment and decision-making skills
• Interest in coaching and teaching
• Patience
• Problem solving skills
• Strong oral and written communication skills

Other Adapted Physical Education resources