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The advice I wish I had when I became an R.Kin

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List of advice from established R.Kins in Ontario about what they wish they knew when they started and advice going forward….

This list was curated for new R.Kins in Ontario or students graduating with a Kinesiology degree that are looking for some advice going forward.

I personally messaged every R.Kin I know to get some words of advice that I wanted to share with everyone.

Here is the message I sent them:

Hi! Thanks for adding me on LinkedIn. I am writing an article about what advice current R.Kins would give themselves (if they had the knowledge they had today) when they started as an R.Kin or just finished writing the exam. I would love to share your advice with other aspiring R.Kins! I’m sure when you first started, you would have loved some advice from others who were in the same shoes as yourself.

I hope you find some value in their responses.

The list of R.Kins are below:

  • Leslie Bourne
  • Joseph Kim
  • Aaron McCallugh
  • Rod Hare
  • Ben Matthie
  • Carla Nanka-Bruce
  • Jordan Mankal
  • Lynn Tougas
  • John Gray
  • Janel Dhooma
  • Spencer Raposo

Leslie Bourne

BOURNE Health & Fitness

Here’s 3 things I think are the most important:

1. Know your worth! We didn’t go through 4+ years of schooling to make $15 an hour. (Sadly this is what some clinics offer). Some places will also treat you like assistants, which we are not. As Kinesiology is still very new, we have to advocate for ourselves if we want to help expand it as a field. Clinics and gyms need to know that we are not physio assistants or personal trainers that did a weekend course. We also need to advocate for Kin as a profession. Myself and some of my friends have been asked to do certs like canfitpro for jobs, which is crazy since having your R.Kin is the highest cert in Ontario. I personally feel offended when I hear stories like this as its like going back a step, but I realize it also comes from employers not knowing enough about R.Kins. For my job that asked for it, I instead sent them information from the COKO website about what Kins are trained to do and this seemed to satisfy them as they haven’t asked for me to do canfitpro since.

2. Kins can do more than you think! Physio, personal training and teaching aren’t the only fields we can work in! Ergonomics, insurance/wsib, prosthesis development are some other examples of fields you can go into. It’s also a good idea to try different fields to see what you enjoy. I went into university with one plan, changed my mind a few times (mostly after placements where I got to experience the field), then since working have also changed interests a bit. I never thought about ergonomics until I randomly applied for a job in it and now I love it.

3. Apply for everything! This isn’t really Kin specific but I think it really helps. Kind of ties into #2 in that you won’t know if you like something until you try it. Another reason though is you’ll learn things that can be transferred to another area of kin. I’ve worked in about 6 very different jobs since graduating but I use knowledge I gained from each one in my other jobs, which I think helps me be a better R.Kin.

Joseph Kim

Trillium Brain and Spine Institute

My advice would be “do not ever hesitate to reach out first or making a network with current working R.Kins or any other health care professionals”. I luckily had some network with current working healthcare professionals including R.Kin, PT, ATs throughout my placement during the program but I sent almost 40 position inquiry email to clinics directly to get the opportunity for the position interview even there was not an open position. I got 9 interviews out of 40 clinics that I reached out individually. Even though I did not get any of the position from those clinics, I built interview skills and my personal way of making a good network with those clinic managers that I’m still keeping touch with. It would be really tough to get a position without any working experience, even with volunteering or placement experience. However, the network or consistent knocking the door makes a huge difference for them to have the specific impression about entry-level R.Kins.

Aaron McCallugh

Balanced Life Seminars

I think the main advice I would give an R.Kin is to take in and say yes to everything that comes your way in the first couple years. I am only 2.5 years in myself.

They are building a powerful skill set that many people want to use to improve their lives in many ways but you can only become very proficient if you open yourself up to opportunities.

Rod Hare

Founding Member of the COKO

Can not really say that I was in the same boat as our new R.KIN’s find themselves in today. I helped create the Regulated Health Profession we have now along with a few other very committed dedicated individuals who all passionately believed that Kinesiology should be a Regulated Health Profession and an integral part of our health care system. To achieve that more significant presence and involvement in our health care delivery system, we understood that we must first have the legitimacy and authority that is provided through Regulation as a Health Profession. This in its self could be an entirely separate discussion but somewhat relevant to the topic of “New R.KIN Advice” that you have asked me to address.

My first suggestion would be to understand who you are as an R.KIN and what being a Regulated Health Practitioner actually is. This would include having a strong understanding of the legal and structural operational framework that has provided one their R.KIN legal designation. Unfortunately, this remains a significant challenge to the profession, as without this critical knowledge R.KIN’s are unable to aspire to our collective and or individual optimal potentials. We need each other to help us all advance. As we strive to attain this collectively, as a newly Regulated Health Profession, it will also provide dividends for the individual R.KIN practitioner. So my advice here would be, get involved with your profession. Even a small involvement will help advance both your individual knowledge and perhaps the profession.

Why should I get involved has been a familiar response when I make this suggestion. My reply would be, you will be amazed by discovering what you do not understand, certainly never taught in University, regarding what an R.KIN actually is. This further knowledge is individually empowering permitting one to determine their own place and path within the Kinesiology Profession and the greater Health Care system. Moreover, your R.KIN designation is one of your individual and collective assets. Similar to your home, car, or other assets, it needs to be maintained and protected so as to serve you well. Consequently, you can utilize your new professional designation, (R.KIN), to achieve its optimal potential within our health care continuum and for individual opportunities.

When the Transitional Council for The College of Kinesiologists of Ontario was created after the passing of the Kinesiology Act, it was tasked with enacting that legislation under the auspicious of the Regulated Health Practitioner’s Act, (RHPA), which required establishing the current College of Kinesiologists of Ontario, (CKO). We had one of two choices as it pertained to creating and establishing a minimum standard of education. The first option would have been to set an entirely new University undergraduate curriculum degree programme to address our new legislated scope of practice. The second option was to work with the existing University undergraduate degree programmes to establish a minimal educational requirement of the degree that would or could address the requirements of the new legal scope of practice. As you know we went with the second option of working with the existing undergraduate degree programmes to meet the minimal entry to practice educational requirements. This meant that a significant aspect of regulation would not be met by the current undergraduate degree programmes. This requirement being, the understanding and application of Regulation for the new Profession and our new legal scope of practice. This issue remains to date which, in retrospect, has hampered both the advancement of the profession and its individual members, in my qualified opinion. Therefore, new R.KIN’s need to get themselves up to speed on these matters. This in itself will open the many doors and opportunities that you may not be currently be accessing as a Regulated Health Practitioner.

My second suggestion is to support your professional association and have it working for you not the other way around. There remain substantial practice and professional issues unaddressed which are absolutely required to adequately advance our fledgling Health Regulated Profession of Kinesiology. Several past Presidents and Executive Board members of the Ontario Kinesiology Association, (OKA), including myself, helped create the Association of Registered Kinesiologists of Ontario, (ARKO), a few years after the 2013 Proclamation of the CKO. We did this regrettable, as it was our collective experience; and in spite of our best efforts to assist its facilitation; that the OKA was both unable and willing to adapt to the new challenges, realities, and demands requirements we understood were essential to protect and advance our newly developed asset, R.KIN (regulation). Unfortunately, ARKO has never been able to achieve a critical mass needed to offer the full scope of representation required to advance our newly regulated Health profession to date.

What can be done to address the needs of our emerging profession? Again, my suggestion would be, become informed and get involved in advancing the profession. There are some basic fundamental requirements of any professional association and beyond that, there remain specific nuanced requirements for both Professional Kinesiology, and being a member of a Health Regulatory Profession in the province of Ontario. These fundamentals are of a legal and structural nature of an effective association and beyond the scope of this new R.KIN advice response. However, I have brought this to your attention because it is so important and impactful to the new R.KIN’s, particularly their individual professional capacities. I think we can all agree that being well represented and understood amongst the profession, greater health care community, and the public at large is essential to individual and collective advancement. As R.KIN’s we are failing in this regard and only we can fix this. With an effective Association, R.KIN’s have the most to gain and without it the most to lose.

Even in the face of these current challenges for R.KIN’s I still believe that we hold tremendous potential and opportunity. I hope that this discussion has presented some “food for thought”.

Ben Matthie

Altum Health | University Health Network

There are two pieces of advice I would offer an RKin beginning their career.

First; find a mentor who sees value in supporting your career and sponge as much information from them as possible.

I’ve been fortunate to have several great clinicians and administrators who have taught me more about being an RKin and a health professional than I had ever learned in University.

One of the first physiotherapists I worked with, Jim Salituri, was an extremely talented clinician who took time to mentor and teach beginner clinicians. From Jim I learned to critically observe each client’s movement, to test and re-test treatment interventions, and to use a client centered approach to tailor each treatment intervention to that individual based on their specific presentation. These are fundamental skills, that I am constantly implementing, and I have no doubt that this is what has allowed my clinical skills to be honed through continuing education and experience.

The second person who has shaped my experience as an RKin is Sandra Ditella, a trained Social Worker and clinic manager at Altum Health. At a time in my career that I was feeling stifled by limitations that other health professionals and organizations were trying to impose on my practice as an RKin, Sandra provided the support and opportunity to take on the responsibility and role that I needed to stimulate my growth. RKins are still a newly regulated health profession, and our role continues to be defined in the view of the institutions and individuals we work with. This is a challenge for RKins looking to expand their clinical practice. The support provided by Sandra and Altum Health completely re-invigorated my passion for working as a RKin, and today I absolutely love my work and role as an RKin.

Second; find a role, or position, as an RKin that you are passionate about and actively pursue your career goals.

RKins can work in clinical therapy, health & safety specialty, ergonomy, occupational health, health promotion, counselling etc. If you’ve completed your Kinesiology degree, there was something which drew you to this work, so define what it is for yourself and specialize in that field. The versatility of RKins is a benefit and a hindrance, because we can be perceived as generalists. If you can define what RKin role you most identify with, and pursue training to become a specialist in that field, you’ll become more fulfilled and also expand the definition of all RKins in Ontario. 

Carla Nanka-Bruce


Coming from a personal training perspective, here are a few pieces of wisdom I would share with new Kins:

1) Nothing is absolute. Keep an open mind and use a combination of evidence-based practice with your own experience, and always listen to your clients.

2) Never stop learning, and know your role when it comes to how you can help a client achieve the best results. Collaborate with other practitioners, therapists and coaches to keep your work client-centred.

3) Value principles, and incorporate different methods and techniques based on them. “Methods are many. Principles are few. Methods always change. Principles never do.”

4) There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter program. N=1. Everyone is an individual so your approach may change even if 2 people have the exact same goals, injuries and fitness levels.

5) Always try to create a positive and empowering experience for the client. Be mindful of the language you use especially when working with those dealing with pain. The last thing you want to do is create a sense of fear and fragility in them.

6) Be patient. Focus on doing the best job you can do and embrace the journey!

Jordan Mankal


First and foremost, never allow a career to define who you are as a person and remember that, this life is transient and we are only here for a short time — So allow your strong faith in The Creator, patience/perseverance, morality and good actions to define that naturally: always strive to maintain pure intentions.

Before embarking on your career, reflect on why you are in the field of Kinesiology and try your best to always remind yourself of those reason(s) throughout your career (Hint: the reasons should be more than just Kinesiology-based)

Kinesiology as a profession has a wide scope and includes a wide-range of job opportunities and descriptions. Try your best to work in an area where you can help people learn things about themselves and their bodies and so that they can make realistic, lasting changes to their health and to hopefully minimize issues with chronic pain.

In a world where so many of us have become semi-robotic and sedentary. Try to encourage others to move more and in this regard, try your best to practice what you preach.

Kinesiology is still a growing profession, so be patient with the process. However, at the same time continuous learning (in both theoretical and practical ways) will hopefully benefit you.

Remember to stay humble at all times. Helping people is a great honor and we should be grateful to others for allowing us to help them. In fact, by allowing us to serve them, they are the ones who are truly helping us. 

Lynn Tougas

Vice President of ARKO

I fortunately had a ton of advice. Sitting on the board during the time of the initial regulation process was a great experience working alongside many other successful kins. Here are my tips:

  1. Know your worth. We have a very special unique set of knowledge and skills — go out and share it to the world!
  2. Keep it professional. It’s tough when our role overlaps with that of lesser qualified and unregulated fitness industry folks a lot of the time. When in doubt, dress up not down and keep all of your files up to date, organized and locked. Dress for the career you want not the one you may think you have.
  3. Find a mentor or two or three. Attach yourself to successful kins in your area. Take them for coffee regularly, share stories and go to courses and conferences together.
  4. Be inventive. Seek to fill in gaps. There are so many opportunities waiting out there for us. They won’t come to you — you must reach out to get them.
  5. Be patient. Stay positive. And, never stop trying to improve yourself. Our degree is a great base to many other professions, eg occupational therapy, health promotion, workplace health and safety specialist, disability manager and more.
  6. Last — look the part. You MUST be fit and healthy within your own means. This means practicing what we preach and getting out there and being active every single day. If you need motivation, hire someone! For example, I use clubs and coaches to motivate my triathlon training. You may take an enrichment weekend in yoga or Pilates or you may be interested in learning to skate or ski this winter and if so, sign up for a course!

John Gray

Movement First

A lot of Kins get into an initial job and then think that it will define the rest of their career. Unlike other professions like Physiotherapy, Kins have a very wide range of employment options straight out of school, which is often seen as a problem instead of a benefit (we don’t have a clearly established career path, like Physiotherapy or Chiropractic or Massage).

But on the other hand, it is often hard to get relevant work experience to land that first full time job. When I was teaching at the UofT MPK program, I always told the students to look for a mentor who will help them grow into an area of practice. And it’s o.k. if this mentor is not a Kin! I currently work with a great team of Physiotherapists and we are always learning from one another.

Kinesiologists don’t have the benefit of an intensive internship program to learn “on-the-job” skills but in fact most of the health professions operate this way. Look to for more than a paycheque in your work; seek to learn and gain skills that will let you grow into an area of practice where you can excel, and make it your own.

Janel Dhooma

Previous R.Kin

Looking back feels like flipping through an old agenda filled with exhaustive little reminders haphazardly written on post-it notes. My journey towards being a kinesiologist has been filled with fun, doubt and a plethora of post-it notes. The post-it notes were key reminders of the day’s to-do lists, little
goals and sometimes rehab exercises needed for a post-operative total knee replacement. I remember after my undergraduate convocation ceremony, I wanted to reach for the stars and grab whatever opportunity there is to exercise my new-found knowledge and practically save a life! After the first few weeks of job hunting, I was humbled to say the least, since I could only do so much as I know so little of what life and experience towards being a kinesiologist entailed. As I studied towards the upcoming licensing exam, I should have told myself that everything will be okay, everything will fall into place as they should and that my anxiety was a waste of energy. Am I letting fate decide my opportunities? Maybe. But I also studied after my part time job as an exercise therapist and used previous notes from school! Surprisingly, no coffee was consumed. Sure enough, I passed and the overwhelming energy to reach for the stars again led me to pursue a kinesiologists’ role within rehabilitative care, which I thoroughly enjoyed for almost three years.

If I were to give myself advice during those years, I would tell myself to grow up. Seriously. I believe that courage of conviction is needed for character, rapport and credibility within rehabilitative care and in healthcare in general. If you had the knowledge and the skills, you have to present those skills with
confidence — minus the condescending and conceited undertones — but I feel that looking back I lacked conviction in my knowledge which led to many moments of self doubt. I relied heavily on those post-it notes that I ‘took an L [loss]’ on so many goals I had for myself and it took my three years to realize that now in my master’s degree. I was overthinking things, I had passion, but I felt as though my autonomy was compromised since I lacked the conviction in my communication. An old boss of mine, whom I had the pleasure of working with prior to going back to school, gave me a piece of advice that I carry out and will continue advocating for…his advice, ‘Janel, I can teach you the skills, I mean, ANYBODY can teach you the skills and you can learn from them, but what I can’t teach is personality.” This is true. Relationship building between you and your clients are based on personality, if you lack passion, conviction, interpersonal skills and openness, you will have struggles within this field. I would tell myself, ‘hey, you know your stuff, say it with vigor and tell them how great they are doing this exercise!’ As I grew, so did my maturity and my little wisdom of life experience within the field. I feel like looking back now reaffirms my beliefs that I am on a solid path towards making a change for the betterment of people and for myself. I acknowledge that working as a kinesiologist have led me to where I am today and how I view healthcare within my master’s degree.

Again, if I were to go back, I would tell myself: Be humble, stay passionate and have courage. I have that written on a post-it on my agenda.

Now my advice…

Spencer Raposo

CBI Health Group/ Kinformation

My advice is simple..

Put yourself out there

How I got to where I am was purely putting myself out there. I messaged a plethora of clinics and R.Kins looking to shadow/volunteer and get a taste. It worked out in the end that one of the places was hiring an R.Kin and I got the job. It’s not luck when you create the opportunities.

3 things I commonly tell new R.Kins or recent Kin grads are:

VOLUNTEER: I got my job through volunteering. Since most of the Kinesiology programs don’t have any placements, students don’t get any real experience seeing what an R.Kin does.

IMAGINE: How do you see kinesiology being used in Ontario? This profession is so new it’s open for interpretation from anyone. It’s people like you and me that can help shape the future of what Kinesiology is and what Registered Kinesiologists do.

EXPERIENCE: Visit and talk to other R.Kins who are currently practicing to get a feel with what setting or area you would like to practice. There’s nothing wrong with building a network and seeing what opportunities become available.

At the end of the day, this advice is applicable to any new grad or someone looking to begin their career. It’s all about creating as many opportunities as possible because you may talk to the right person at the right time and it can change the course of your career.

We hope this article helped! Let us know if there is any advice you wish you'd been given when you became an R.Kin. LET US KNOW!

Spencer at Kinformation

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