Sports and Fitness Management Jobs: Career Options

Sports and fitness management is a growing field that includes professions such as wellness coaching, fitness program direction and team management. Because of the accelerated concern for health and fitness, health club memberships and athletic and fitness programs are increasing; correspondingly, the need for trained professionals to organize, manage and direct them is also on the rise. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Sports and Fitness Management Defined

Sports and fitness managers are trained in the operation, marketing and instruction programs of enterprises such as health, fitness and rehabilitation centers; college, recreational and professional sports teams; and corporate fitness and health programs. Knowledgeable trainers, coaches and managers oversee skill development and injury prevention in increasingly competitive sports such as football, baseball and basketball. Sports and fitness managers may market and sell retail and specialized sports and fitness equipment, products and services. Sports and fitness professionals are also trained in public relations and health and safety standards.

Important Facts About This Field

Key Skills Motivational, customer-service, and communication skills
Similar Occupations Physical therapist, recreational therapist, exercise physiologist
Work Schedule Full-time; sometimes at night, on weekends, or holidays, and sometimes traveling for personal sessions
On-the-Job Training Some programs require up to two years of training

Career Options and Salary

As the sports and fitness industries continue to grow, so too do the career possibilities. People are increasingly concerned about maintaining good health and often join gyms and fitness centers. Many businesses are supporting these concerns as well by providing employee health and fitness programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth of employment for fitness trainers and instructors is 10% from 2016 to 2026. The BLS said job growth would be best for workers with professional certification or formal training in health and fitness. In May 2018, according to the BLS, the median annual wage for fitness instructors and trainers was $39,820. Job options include the following:

  • Health club manager
  • Strength, wellness or conditioning coach
  • Fitness program or event planning manager
  • Professional or amateur team manager
  • Sports facility manager
  • Corporate fitness director
  • Rehabilitation center director
  • Nutrition center manager


To qualify as a sports and fitness manager, candidates need mastery in a number of areas. Certification, a bachelor's degree and experience are required for most fitness and sports management positions. In some cases, a master's degree is needed.

An Associate of Applied Science degree in sports and fitness management would prepare you for entry-level management positions and would include studies in liberal arts, sports and fitness management, entrepreneurship, mediation, nutrition and medical terminology.

A Bachelor of Science in Sports and Fitness Management program includes a broad liberal arts base and comprehensive business, fitness and sports training. You'd learn the theory, application and practice of marketing, sports management, coaching, kinesiology, business law, exercise science, nutrition, facility development and sports promotion. The practical training would include participation in various sports and internships; depending on your area of interest, you could get first-hand experience as an intern at a fitness or rehabilitation center, nutrition clinic or sports facility. Master's and doctoral degree programs are also available.

For sports management, you can earn a sports management certificate by taking courses in a broad range of sports-related topics in administration, public relations, marketing, law, risk management, international business and personnel. Both undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in sports management are available. The certificate can prepare you for work in areas such as sports franchises, athletic organizations and collegiate programs.

Certifications and Specialized Training

Certification is required for some fitness professions, particularly personal training, strength and conditioning, exercise science, group fitness and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In areas such as yoga and Pilates, specialized training is usually required, and the BLS recommends checking on the specific requirements of your particular method of exercise. For certification, the BLS recommends that you check with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies to ensure the credential is accredited. More advanced certifications require an associate's or bachelor's degree in a fitness-, health- or sports-related program.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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