Jobs for Former College Athletes

Jan 16, 2020

Former college athletes may prefer to work in jobs that allow them to directly or indirectly participate in certain physical activities. Learn about a few of the different career options for former college athletes.

Career Options for Former College Athletes

After likely dedicating years to their particular sports, college athletes may enjoy careers that are sport or fitness oriented. Although these athletes are able to pursue any job that interests them, we have compiled a list of a few jobs across different fields that former college athletes may enjoy.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary $62,620 5%
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors $39,820 13%
Exercise Physiologists $49,270 10%
Athletic Trainers $47,510 19%
Recreation Workers $25,060 8%
Coaches and Scouts $33,780 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs for Former College Athletes

Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary

Former college athletes who enjoy fitness and working with college students may enjoy a job as a postsecondary teacher teaching recreation and/or fitness studies. However, these former college athletes will need to be ambitious with their own studies, as educators at this level usually have a Ph.D. Postsecondary teachers are responsible for teaching various courses in their area of expertise, which requires planning and developing their own curriculum, assignments and assessments. Many of these teachers are also required to conduct independent research, oversee the activities of graduate students and advise underclassmen in their courses of study.

Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors

Former college athletes who want to work with people and promote fitness and exercise may like working as a fitness trainer or aerobics instructor. These workers help individuals or groups reach their fitness goals by leading different kinds of exercise programs. They may train their clients in cardio activities, strength training activities and more, which requires them to carefully demonstrate the exercise and then watch and correct their clients' techniques. These professionals are usually trained in first-aid and have certification, but employers may require additional education.

Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists are somewhat similar to fitness trainers, as they develop fitness and exercise programs to help people improve their health. However, they work from a more medical standpoint working with patients that have chronic conditions and other health issues to improve cardiovascular function, movement, flexibility and more. Former college athletes could excel at this career by applying their knowledge of exercise and fitness to helping patients who need to grow stronger and improve their health. Exercise physiologists need a bachelor's degree and clinical work.

Athletic Trainers

A career as an athletic trainer could be ideal for former college athletes, as it allows them to work closely with athletes on a daily basis and attend various kinds of sporting events. These trainers are responsible for diagnosing and treating sport and fitness related injuries and illnesses, as well as working with athletes to prevent these conditions. At sporting events they will be available on the sidelines to provide first-aid and emergency care as needed. These professionals usually need a state license or certification and must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Recreation Workers

A job as a recreation worker could also appeal to a former college athlete as they engage various people in a variety of recreational activities, including sports, games, outdoor activities and more. Recreation workers can work at recreation centers, parks, camps, playgrounds and senior centers to organize and lead the different activities. They need to be able to explain the rules and techniques of their activity and ensure the safety of all the participants. Recreation workers need at least a high school diploma, and their training requirements will depend on their individual jobs.

Coaches and Scouts

For those former college athletes who wish to pass on their knowledge of a particular sport, they may look into a career as a coach or scout for that sport. Although previous experience with a particular sport is not required for a coach or scout, it may help these professionals provide insight and advice to athletes. Coaches are responsible for teaching athletes the rules and techniques of the sport, running practices, developing game plans and making all of the game-time decisions. Scouts are more on the recruiting side of the sport and observe and evaluate players that they may want to have play on the team they represent. Both positions need a bachelor's degree and knowledge of that particular sport.

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