Sports science is the study of how to improve athletic performance and may involve the study of how to treat and prevent sports-related injuries. What can you do with a degree in sports science? Those who study sports science after high school can go on to be anything from managers of fitness centers to coaches for sports teams.
Fields of Study in Sports Science
There are many different areas of study within the field of sports science. This section briefly touches on a few of these subjects and how they relate to sports science.
Biomechanics – exploration of the application of mechanics and physics laws to physical activity
Exercise physiology – study of how the body learns to adapt to repetitive activities for an extended period of time
Nutrition – study of proper nutrients and dieting programs needed to keep athletes healthy in order to avoid contracting conditions such as heart disease that affect their overall performance
Psychology – exploration of how athletic performance is impacted by psychological factors and if these factors influence the probability or cause of injury
How to Get a Sports Science Degree
You should begin searching for and applying to colleges and universities with well-known sports science programs towards the beginning of your senior year of high school. Never apply to just one school; it is best to submit at least three applications to open your options. Here, you will find three schools with excellent sports science programs to get you started on your search for the school that best matches your needs.
The University of Utah’s College of Health contains an exercise and sport science department in search of dedicated and driven students looking to study sport science. The department offers undergraduate students majors, including Athletic Training Education Program, Physical Education Teacher Education, and Exercise and Sport Science. Exercise and Sport Science majors also have the opportunity to focus their studies on either exercise science or fitness leadership. Graduate students can choose to earn master degrees in Sports Medicine, Special Physical Education, Psychological Aspects of Sport, and more with opportunities to earn doctoral degrees in a few of the same degree programs. For more information and to learn about research lab opportunities, refer to the school website.
The United States Sports Academy offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Sports Science in a variety of related fields, including strength and conditioning, coaching, management, and more. The school also offers a concentration in sports security which covers security management and emergency security precautions and procedures in relation to sports science. The academy is an online school, so you can learn on the go or from home. Students include individuals from all over the country and in 14 other countries across the globe.
The School of Biological and Population Health Sciences at Oregon State University offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelors degree in exercise and sport science in order to venture out into the world of sports and fitness. Students can focus their studies on everything from allied health to fitness and nutrition. After earning a bachelors degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University, graduates often pursue careers in sports training, physical therapy, and more. They are also prepared for further education in subjects like physiology and physical education.
Careers in Sports Science
After earning a degree in sports science, you will find that you will qualify for a multitude of jobs. Experience in your field will boost your chances of qualifying for higher positions, as well.
Entry Level Careers in Sports Science
To start your career in sports science, you will most likely need to take on an entry level position. Check out some examples of jobs you can get with a bachelors degree in sports science here.
Physical Education Teacher
With a bachelors degree in sports science and a concentration in physical education, you can become a physical education teacher. These teachers create lessons that keep students active, whether they are employed at primary or secondary schools. Physical education teachers not only plan lessons but participate in the lessons along with their students in order to hold students’ attention and desire to participate. Secondary physical education teachers occasionally teach health classes, as well, in order to promote safe and nutritional healthy living.
Physical education teachers can earn over $35,000 annually.
With a bachelors degree in sports science and background knowledge in sales and business, you could get a job as a sales representative for a company that manufactures and/or sells sports gear and equipment. Sales representatives often travel to promote company products to potential buyers, specific stores that carry sports equipment or memorabilia, in hopes that potential buyers will invest in products offered by these manufacturers. Sales representatives are skilled in verbal and written communication in the field of persuasion and a strong desire to see their companies succeed. They are also very personable, because they often need to answer questions that potential buyers may ask about the products being offered.
Sales representatives can earn more than $46,000 annually.
Personal trainers assist individuals in creating and maintaining exercise routines in order for the individuals to get in shape and remain healthy to help prevent life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. Trainers may also work side-by-side with athletes to ensure that they remain in top shape so that their jobs are not at stake. (Professional athletes may be cut from their teams if they continuously perform poorly on the field.) Personal trainers possess excellent communication skills as well as knowledge in proper dieting techniques for their clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They are highly personable and often have a bachelors degree in sports science or sports nutrition.
Personal trainers can earn over $50,000 annually, often depending on whether their clients are professional athletes and how many clients they train regularly. Personal trainers of professional athletes may have a higher degree and often are paid over $90,000 annually.
Advanced Careers in Sports Science
After you have gained experience in the world of sports science and perhaps have even earned a masters degree or doctoral degree in sports science or another related field, you just may qualify for the positions described here. Note that these are not the only available positions for individuals with sports science degrees.
Sports administrators can work for schools, community sports teams, or professional sports teams. They are often responsible for marketing, arranging fundraisers, controlling budgets, and more. Sports administrators possess knowledge and education in sports management, mathematics, administration, and other related fields. They are dedicated to the physical and financial success of their teams and have excellent communication skills.
Sports administrators can make around $60,000 or more a year, depending on what type of team they work for and their education and experience levels.
Sport psychologists focus on the behaviors of individuals participating in a specific sport in order to ensure they remain mentally capable of performing their duties as team members. In studying these behaviors, sport psychologists are able to determine when players are not providing their best performance on the field in order to pull them aside for diagnosis and treatment of whatever issues the individuals may be facing, whether the issues are mental or physical. Sport psychologists often possess background knowledge in both behavioral psychology and sports science and have acute observation and communication skills. They also work alongside coaches and nutritionists to provide team members with the best possible treatment opportunities for whatever issues team members may be facing.
Sport psychologists can earn over $70,000 annually, depending on whether psychologists work for college teams or professional sports teams.
Companies that Hire People with Sports Science Degrees
Various companies, including sports teams, are constantly on the lookout for people with degrees in sports science. Check the website of your favorite sports team. They just might be looking for someone like you to join their ranks in order to help keep the team in shape for season after season. Other examples of places that hire people with sports science degrees are listed below.
Nike – brand manufacturer of sports apparel, gear, and footwear; hires positions for sales representatives, business managers, financial advisers, etc.
Iowa State University – hires positions for sports science instructors, athletics academic coordinators, sports coaches, etc.
YMCA – hires positions for personal trainers, fitness instructors, lifeguards, etc. (you can also check your local center for current opportunities)
Jewish Community Center (JCC) – located in Indianapolis, IN; focuses on wellness within the Jewish community; hires positions for personal trainers, lifeguards, massage therapists, Pilates instructors, etc.
To earn a degree in sports science, you need to give your all to your education. Do your research–there may be another school not listed here that you may prefer. Consider all your options. It is also important to have a general idea before going to college of what career path you would like to choose after you graduate. Do you want to go to graduate school, or would you prefer to jump right into the action? The choice is yours. Make it count.