Interested in a career in sport but not sure what it involves or how to go about it? Find the best education and job opportunities for you in this guide.
Sports science (called Kinesiology or Human Kinetics in the US) is the most popular sports degree. This rapidly growing subject is an application of scientific principles to exercise and sport. It could open the door to a range of job opportunities in the sports and fitness industries.
But which course is right for you? Where should you study? What are your career prospects? These are all important questions this post is going to help you answer so you can make the right decision.
Sports Science Subjects
A sports science course will introduce you to the various branches of science that relate to the relationship between exercise and the human body. A sports science degree will cover a vast amount and quite a broad range of subject areas. Once you have a sports science degree you can then specialise in a certain subject. Perhaps you could go on and do a masters degree.
The following subjects areas common in sports science degrees (but vary depending on your University):
- Sport Psychology
- Motor control
- Human Movement
- Strength & Conditioning
- Muscle mechanics
- Research methods
You might also consider studying one or more of these related sports degrees:
- Sport Coaching
- Strength and Conditioning
- Exercise and Rehabilitation
- Sport Business
- Marketing in sports promotion
- Sport Management
- Sport & Exercise Nutrition
Nowadays there are even more sport related degrees such as Mathematics and Sports Science, Geography and Sports Science, Sports technology, you can even get a degree in Football. So doing your research is essential before signing up to a course but there is one thing for certain, there is something for everyone who has a passion for sport and fitness.
Which University should I study at?
There are 88 Universities in the UK that teach Sports Science, so be sure to do your research and find the right one for you.
Here is a list of the top 10 Universities in the UK for sports science according to the Guardian.
- East Anglia
Part time job prospects while studying sports science
You can also gain qualifications in things like a Level 2 Fitness Instructor, this will qualify you to work in a gym. If you are a decent swimmer you could become a LifeGuard at your local Leisure Centre these are jobs that can pay quite well (between £6 – £9 per hour) and fit into a Unversity lifestyle as you can often work early (most leisure centres open at 6 am) or late (most leisure centres close at 10 pm) or weekends. These will give you an excellent start and give you good work experience.
Basic Sports Coaching qualifications can also be picked up before or during uni. These can help you fund your time at uni (to buy those essential books) and set you up with some excellent career prospects. You can do your FA Level One Football qualification (prices vary depending on location but funding is often available). Once qualified you can then coach players from under 7 right through to open age. These coaching jobs usually pay about £10-£15 per hour in the UK. Or maybe you’d prefer to coach Tennis, Gymnastics, Swimming, Cricket, Rugby or even something a little obscure which might be a popular University sport such as Ultimate Frisbee or Korfball (although many University sports are often run by voluntary coaches). Coaching qualifications can usually be picked up over a few weekends. As a guide, most courses take around 20 – 50 hours. All these jobs can also be turned into full-time jobs. Maybe one day you can own your own club or earn more coaching badges and work with elite athletes.
Once you’ve graduated the career opportunities available to sport and exercise scientists are expanding all the time and the expansion shows no sign of slowing down. Most sports now recognise sports science as an integral part of their sport’s development and success and most athletes consider the application of sport science as an important part of everyday training and competition. In this day and age athletes are monitored almost 24/7 to ensure they are in the best condition they can be.
In relation to exercise, many hospitals and Primary Care Trusts are starting to appoint specialists with exercise backgrounds to work in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation and health promotion. The very fact that the National Health Service (NHS) plan has incorporated physical activity within its national service frameworks highlights both the job opportunities and the increasingly important role played by exercise in maintaining the nation’s health. Around 50–60% of sport and exercise graduates enter jobs directly related to their area of study according to a study by The British Association of Sport and Exercice Sciences (BASES).
As sport science degrees cover quite a broad area there is a variety of career prospects, as soon as you have your degree you can look at working for:
- National sporting bodies
- Local authorities
- Professional sports clubs
- NHS-funded exercise and health initiatives
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Fitness clubs/gyms
- Common careers for graduates with a sports science degree:
- Exercise physiologists
- Sport psychologists
- Personal trainers
- Strength and conditioning coaches
- Sports development officers
- Physiotherapists (Athletic Trainers)
- Sports Nutritionists
- Sports agents
- PE teachers
- Higher education lecturers
Please note – some of these may require additional qualifications. More and more sports scientists are working towards advanced qualifications (MSc, MRes, PhD etc) in areas such as sports and exercise physiology, performance analysis and exercise rehabilitation. In fact, around 20% of sport and exercise science graduates go on to further study following their first degree.
You should also apply for membership of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, which offers recognition, training and networking opportunities.
Careers in Sport, Fitness and Exercise
Careers in Sport, Fitness and Exercise is a student guide to landing a dream job in one of today’s most exciting, popular and fastest-growing industries.
Our book Careers in Sport, Fitness, and Exercise details job descriptions, information on working conditions, salary ranges, responsibilities, key skills and required certifications for 36 professions.
It offers students advice on choosing the correct career path by providing an overview of the various job options, identifying the right course and how to ultimately land their dream job.
Advice on careers in sport, fitness, physical activity and education
BASES has developed this guide in association with Human Kinetics. You can download a free copy of the BASES Careers Guide here. Please feel free to distribute copies to colleagues and students.
- Choosing courses at school and college
- Choosing undergraduate and postgraduate courses
- Funding for postgraduate courses
- Career opportunities
- Managing your careers
- 17 Career profiles
Careers in Sport and Leisure
Careers in Sport is a website that provides students who want a job in sport and leisure with the information to establish their career. Experts from organisations such as the FA, Premier League, Radio 1 and UK Sport describe their typical day, the benefits and disadvantages of the profession, their salary and advice on the qualifications and experience required.
Career Development in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism
Career Development in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism: A Positioning Approach outlines a step-by-step plan for career development based on the technique of positioning.
In contrast to traditional job search methods, the positioning approach shows how to increase the chances of securing a preferred job by placing yourself close to the person with whom you want to work, the place or organisation where you want to work, or the position that fulfils your career goals.
Whether just beginning a course of study or entering the profession, Career Development in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism will help readers develop the skills and tools to get the job they want.
Useful Careers Websites
Below is a list of websites that may help you find the right job or career in sport, fitness, physical activity or physical education (PE).
The websites below are not controlled or maintained by Human Kinetics and as such we can not be held responsible in any manner for their content.
Sport and Exercise Sciences (Kinesiology)
British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)
National Health Service (NHS)
Higher Education and Studentships
Sport and Leisure (General)
Physical Education (PE)