Careers Involving Sports Science

Sports science and exercise science study how the body is affected by and responds to physical activity. Several careers involve some aspect of sports science. We discuss a few of them, as well as their education requirements.

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Career Options Involving Sports Science

Although typically confined to the field of sports, there are several different career options for those interested in sports science. Here we list a few of the possible careers that involve sports science in some way.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Exercise Physiologists $47,340 11%
Athletic Trainers $45,630 21%
Dietitians and Nutritionists $58,920 16%
Coaches and Scouts $31,460 6%
Athletes and Sports Competitors $47,710 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
  • Sports Medicine

Career Information for Careers Involving Sports Science

Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists may use sports science to help develop an exercise program for an athlete or patient recovering from a long-term illness or injury. They will measure different health indicators of the patient, like blood pressure, and then develop a plan aimed to improve cardiovascular function, flexibility or whatever the specific needs of the patient are. The plans they develop should improve the patient's overall health and are closely monitored for safety. Exercise physiologists need at least a bachelor's degree and must complete some clinical work.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers may be a more obvious choice of careers for one interested in sports science, since they work closely with athletes. They specialize in recognizing, diagnosing and treating different sport-related injuries and illnesses. Athletic trainers also work with athletes to try and prevent injuries. They are trained to perform first aid and emergency care at sporting events, and they may have some administrative duties, such as writing incident reports. These professionals must hold at least a bachelor's degree, and most need a state license or certification.

Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists may not always utilize sports science, but it may be involved in the treatment and diet plans they create for athletes. Dietitians assess their patient's nutritional and health needs and can create a meal plan specific to their needs, such as in the case of an athlete, who will have different nutritional needs than the average person. Dietitians and nutritionists may also participate in research and/or educating the public on various health-related topics. Most hold a bachelor's degree, complete an internship and have state licensure.

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches and scouts may use aspects of sports science to evaluate and train athletes at different levels of competition. Coaches are primarily responsible for teaching athletes the game, organizing and running practices and improving athletes' technique. Scouts travel to observe and recruit athletes. Many coaches at the higher levels of competition participate in scouting. Coaches and scouts usually need a bachelor's degree, and experience playing the particular sport they work in may prove beneficial, but it is not necessary.

Athletes and Sports Competitors

Similar to coaches and scouts, athletes and sports competitors may use sports science to improve their technique or training methods for their sport. These professionals aim to rise to their full potential at their particular sport, while entertaining fans during competition. They must train, exercise, practice and prepare for competition. Depending on the sport, they may need to maintain equipment. Athletes and sports competitors do not require any formal education, but some may hold various degrees.

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