While online bachelor's degree programs in sports science may be few, there are fully online programs available to students. These programs may combine other disciplines, such as health sciences or sports management. Additionally, students may have the option of specializing in a particular field, like sports coaching. Within the program, students examine concepts in sports security, sports management and nutrition within asynchronous classes. These bachelor's degree programs are typically designed as degree completion programs for students that hold 60 credits or an associate degree, and they take about 2-3 years to complete.
Bachelor's Degree in Sports Science
Online programs leading to a Bachelor of Sports Science prepare students for careers in sports coaching, sports studies, teaching physical education, fitness management or sports management. They may also serve as preparation for a graduate program in physical therapy. These programs are sometimes presented as degree completion programs, and in these cases, students must transfer a certain number of lower level course credits, with a minimum 2.0 GPA, from a prior institution.
Information and Requirements
Depending on the school, the program can take 2-3 years to complete. Many of these programs are conducted entirely online, requiring no in-person work. In addition to the use of textbooks, students participate in the program with course management systems, such as Blackboard. Typically, the courses are presented asynchronously. Communication with faculty members and students takes place through postings on discussion boards, e-mail and telephone. Students are usually allowed to proceed at their own pace, although usually, they must finish all course requirements within a certain time period.
Technical requirements include a computer with Internet access and an up-to-date web browser. An antivirus system is also occasionally required.
Common Sports Science Courses
General education courses in English, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics and computer science are required to have been completed prior to admission to the program. Upper level, core courses include topics taken from the areas of sports management, sports security, sports coaching and sport-specific studies.
This course addresses the application of modern technology to the practice of sports coaching. Primary focal points of the course include coaching efficiency, player performance, equipment maintenance, recruitment of athletes, recording and reporting performances, coaching strategies and statistics.
Students learn about the effects of proper nutrition on an athlete's performance and the prevention of disease. Among the topics emphasized are cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer. The practice of directed nutrition to enhance abilities in specific sports is examined.
Concepts and principles of managerial leadership are explored. By the nature of their position, sports managers and coaches influence the behavior of their players. Methods of operation used by coaches and managers are studied in relation to different sports, players and situations.
Anatomy and Physiology
This is an overview course that deals with the body's performance in sports competition. From fundamental chemical building blocks to the cooperative operation of organ systems, the course examines the integration, mutual support and coordination of body parts to create and sustain optimum performance in the field of sports.
Sports Legal Concepts
This course undertakes an examination of legal issues as they pertain to sports. Included among topics studied are corporal punishment, sexual harassment, liability, discrimination, hiring, contracts, buying, termination and negligence.
Graduates who hold a bachelor's degree in sports science may qualify to become fitness managers or directors, physical education teachers, athletic trainers or be prepared to train as physical therapists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of high school teaching jobs will increase 6% from 2014-2024; athletic trainer opportunities are projected to increase 21%; and physical therapist jobs will increase 34%.
In May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual salary of athletic trainers to be $44,670. High school teachers earned a median of $57,200 and physical therapists earned a median salary of $84,020.
According to the BLS, graduates who wish to become physical education teachers are required to take teacher certification courses and must also be licensed. Individuals who wish to become physical therapists must pursue a graduate program in physical therapy and must also be licensed. Fitness managers or directors and athletic trainers must also be licensed.
Certification for sports and athletic professionals is available through various professional organizations such as the National Athletic Trainers Association, the American College of Sports Medicine or the Pilates Method Alliance. Certification is usually renewable every two years.
Continuing Education Information
Continuing education courses in the field are often required for recertification and advancement within the industry.
Most online bachelor's degree programs in sports science require students to have finished their general education requirements before enrolling, so they can focus on courses related to human biology, athletic training and sports administration. When they finish, they may seek licensure or additional education in order to qualify for sports-related jobs.