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Career Information for a Degree in Sport and Fitness Management

Sport and fitness management professionals typically require a bachelor's degree. Continue reading for an overview of the degree and training requirements, as well as career and salary info for various career pathways for graduates.

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The sport and fitness management industry offers many career options, including sports marketer, sports agent, fitness trainer, or health club manager. Each of these careers as different education and certification requirement. You should consider various requirement, as well as salaries and job growth stats, before deciding which field would make the best career option.

Essential Information

Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in sports and fitness management. These programs offer training in personal health, nutrition, sports psychology and wellness. Students can acquire leadership skills, learn about athletic training and study legal issues in health and fitness.

Many programs offer courses focused on personal training, event management, sports marketing and sports business. Some programs prepare graduates to take national certification exams for careers in personal training.

Career Sports Marketer Sports Agent Fitness Trainers and Instructors Health Club Manager
Education Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree High school diploma and professional certificate often required Bachelor's or Master's Degree
Projected Job Growth from 2014-2024* 9% (for all marketing managers) 3% (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes) 8% 7% (for general and operations managers)
Median Salary $128,750 (for all marketing managers)* $62,940 (for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)* $36,160* $42,324 (for general fitness club managers)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015 data); **PayScale.com (2016 data)

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Career Options

Business-oriented careers in this field include sports marketer, agent, health club owner, sports promoter, team manager, and sales executive. Fitness-oriented career options include fitness instructor, coach, personal trainer.

Sports Marketer

Sports marketers work for sports leagues and teams or for companies that sponsor sporting events. They plan sporting events, manage athletic merchandise development and create promotional materials. Some sports marketers find work with tourism or convention bureaus, helping to bring popular sporting events to a region.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specifically for marketing professionals in the sport and fitness field, it reported that marketing managers in all industries earned a median annual salary of $128,750 as of May 2015. Also, the BLS predicted that marketing managers would see a 9% growth in employment from 2014-2024. Marketing managers generally have bachelor's degrees and acquire work experience as public relations specialists or promotions agents before pursuing management positions, according to the BLS.

Sports Agent

Sports agents represent athletes. They set up promotional appearances, find companies to sponsor their clients and negotiate contracts for the athletes they represent. According to the BLS, agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes earned a median annual salary of $62,940 as of May 2015. Also, the BLS stated that, from 2014-2024, these agents are expected to see a 3% growth in employment, which is slower than the national average for all occupations.

Health Club Manager or Owner

Health club managers or owners might be responsible for one club or for multiple fitness centers. Duties vary depending on the size of the club and other factors. In general, people who manage and/or own fitness clubs are responsible for generating business through membership sales and providing services such as spa facilities, group exercise options and access to modern fitness equipment. They also oversee health club staff and personal trainers. Other job duties may include creating membership drives, overseeing budgets, recruiting staff and purchasing new equipment. The BLS doesn't have specific information for this career, but general and operation managers are expected to see a 7% increase in employment from 2014-2024. As of October 2016, general managers of fitness clubs earned a median annual salary of $42,324, according to PayScale.com.

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers work one-on-one or with small groups of clients to design customized training programs. They help motivate their clients and monitor their progress. They might demonstrate specific exercises, discuss weight loss goals or review medical histories, nutrition plans and safety regulations for workout equipment. Most employers require fitness trainers who work with clients to be certified by an agency like the Academy of Applied Personal Training Education; personal trainers will also need CPR certification. Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, including personal trainers, earned a median annual salary of $36,160 as of May 2015, the BLS reported. According to the BLS, fitness trainers and instructors are expected to see a 8% growth in employment from 2014-2024.

Those seeking a management career in sports and fitness can select from positions ranging from managing facilities to working with individual athletes. Depending on which position you seek, you may need a certificate, bachelor's degree, or master's degree as well as skills in areas like sports promotion, fitness training, management, and sales. Reviewing various salary options and job growth rates can help you make an informed decision on which career is the best fit for you in the sports and fitness management industry.

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