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What does a Biokineticist do?

A biokineticist is an exercise specialist who increases a person's physical condition and quality of life by means of physical assessment and the prescription of health exercise habits. Biokinetics is a medically recognised professional discipline, applying scientifically-based physical activity, to either help prevent disease or to do final phase rehabilitation following the onset of disease.

Biokineticists usually work indoors, in offices and gyms, and sometimes they work irregular hours since people often attend gyms before or after work. Several big companies employ biokineticists to develop and recommend exercise programmes for their employees to improve their quality of life and to increase their life expectancy and energy levels. In short, a biokineticist can be thought of as a specialised exercise therapist that functions in professional alliance with health and medicine. They work closely with doctors and other medical practitioners and the profession is recognised by and registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


What qualifications do I need?

The first step towards becoming a biokineticist is to enroll for a Bachelor of Health Sciences in the field of Biokinetics. It's an entry-level degree with a strong scientific focus. Once you have the basic degree, you must enroll for a Bachelor of Health Sciences with Honours in the field of Biokinetics. The honours degree is a one-year full-time degree, which includes the first of two years of internship. The BHSc (Hons) Biokinetics qualification is designed to provide students with a professional qualification in biokinetics as recognised by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as: “Registered Biokineticist”.

What subjects do I need?

English Home Language or First Additional Language
Physical Science
Life Sciences


Where can I study?

University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Health Sciences with Honours in Biokinetics

University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Health Sciences with Honours in Biokinetics

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Medicine Sciences with Honours in Biokinetics

University of the Western Cape
Bachelor of Sciences/Arts with Honours in Biokinetics

University of Stellenbosch
Bachelor of Sciences with Honours in Biokinetics

Where can I get more info?

Biokintecs Association of South Africa  - www.biokineticssa.org.za
World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy - www.wfatt.org
Sports Science Institute of South Africa - www.ssisa.com


Interview with a Biokineticist

Eloise Ackermann | BIOKINETICIST | Stephan Muller Biokinetics

Eloise Ackermann | BIOKINETICIST | Stephan Muller Biokinetics


Why did you choose this profession?
My interest in the human body and how it functions got me looking into careers like this, and what better way to keep moving, meeting and helping people – and getting paid for doing it!

Please explain what a biokineticist does
We use exercise as a modality to help rehabilitate injuries and other conditions. We also help our clients to improve their posture and biomechanics to ensure they can function on a daily basis without pain, or with as little pain as possible. Lastly, we work with high performance athletes, helping to increase strength and stability so they excel in their sports.

What training did you undergo and where?
I completed a BA Sports Psychology undergraduate degree (BA Sport Psych) and a BA Biokinetics Honours degree (BA Hons Biokinetics) at University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Describe a typical day
Get to work by 5:30am; see clients by appointment. Write programmes, do assessments and ensure my clients are on the correct programmes for their conditions.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy seeing the improvements and achievements of my clients over time.

What don’t you like?
The very early wake up! But you get used to it.

Any hurdles you’ve had to overcome?
In second year I changed my degree from BA Sports Development to BA Sports Psychology, which was a challenge. Also, the Biokinetics programme has about 150 applicants annually and only 20 get accepted.

What are your future goals?
I’d like to train athletes to compete in the Olympic Games.

Experience vs formal training?
Experience teaches you what a book can’t. In some instances experience is much more important than formal training, but you do need the basic knowledge to back up experience.

Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
You have to be a people person. You need to be someone who people feel comfortable around and you need to be a good listener.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in biokinetics?
Knowledge is key. And just hang in there – it isn’t always smooth sailing. Handle the hurdles one step at a time.

Your job in three words
Medical Personal Trainer