What Can I Do with a Sports Science Degree?

From physical education teachers to athletic directors, many of those who wish to work in the sports field decide to pursue sports science degrees. Should you choose this path, courses in nutrition, physiology, kinesiology and fitness management could prepare you for a variety of professions. Read on for further information about degrees available and potential careers. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Available Sports Science Careers

Many schools offer associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in sports science. In some cases, a sports science major can choose from several program options, such as athletic training or nutrition. People who graduate from these programs often work in the following positions:

  • Physical education teacher
  • Physical therapist or occupational therapist
  • Athletic director or trainer
  • Fitness manager

Important Facts About Career Options for Sports Science Degree Holders

Physical Therapist Occupational Therapist Athletic Trainer
Median Salary (2018) $87,930 $84,270 $47,510
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 28% 24% 23%
Work Environment Offices of physicians, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists; hospitals; home healthcare services Hospitals; offices of physicians, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists; elementary and secondary schools Educational services; ambulatory healthcare services; hospitals
Similar Occupations Audiologists; chiropractors; recreational therapists Exercise physiologists; occupational therapy assistants and aides; speech-language pathologists Massage therapists; physician assistants; respiratory therapists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physical Education Teacher

With a focus on physical activity and exercise physiology, a program leading to a sports science degree might prepare you to become a physical education teacher. You would need to pursue a state-approved teaching credential to qualify for licensure. You might elect to teach at the elementary, high school or collegiate levels. In some cases, you might also be required to teach health classes.

Physical or Occupational Therapist

A sports science degree could serve as the first step toward a career in physical or occupational therapy. Physical therapists rehabilitate patients who have physical limitations due to disease or injury. Occupational therapists provide physical rehabilitation but do so in order to prepare physically-challenged individuals to perform work or daily-living tasks.

Sports science programs often include courses on various athletic injuries, exercise physiology, and kinesiology, all of which can serve as useful preparation for work in these fields. To be eligible for employment as a physical therapist, you'd need to continue on to graduate school and earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. For a career in occupational therapy, you'd need to earn a minimum of an accredited master's degree in occupational therapy.

Athletic Director or Trainer

Athletic directors plan athletic events and programs for public K-12 schools, as well as for colleges and universities. Since these jobs are often administrative in nature, you might wish to pursue a degree that offers a concentration in sports management. By opting for such a concentration, you may have the opportunity to take courses in sports marketing, financial accounting, and sports event management.

Athletic trainers work with a variety of individuals, from college students to professional athletes. They aim to prepare them for participation in athletic events. Some sports science programs offer courses in sports training. Alternatively, you might choose to enroll in a program that is focused primarily on athletic training.

Fitness Manager

Sports science programs often include courses in fitness management, health promotion, and nutrition. This program would prepare you to work in fitness clubs and training facilities. You might also go on to become a fitness manager. Your duties could include scheduling and overseeing personal training staff, designing group fitness programs and marketing fitness-related services.

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:

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