Careers and Jobs in Sports and Exercise Sciences

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that the employment of health and fitness workers will increase by 27% through 2014. This is due in part to the fact people are spending more time and money on fitness and businesses are recognizing the benefits of health and fitness programs. Many businesses are offering wellness programs to their employees, helping to cover health club fees to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

This Bachelor of Science degree brings together a scientific knowledge of the human person with an understanding of physical activity and lifestyle as essential not only for the athlete but for every healthy life. This degree prepares graduates to enter the rapidly growing market for training and rehabilitation specialist in corporate, private and government fitness centers, as well as in hospitals and private practice.

Sport and exercise science is an exciting and versatile major. Graduates of a sport and exercise science program have many job opportunities. This field is very broad, but most students focus on a specialization within the field. Some of these include, coaching, fitness training, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, physical activity and movement for children, and physical human performance. Many positions require a graduate degree, but there are also many opportunities for people with a bachelor's degree in sport and exercise science. After successfully completing a program students will be prepared to sit for the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Instructor (HFI) Certification as well as other certifications. The health and fitness certification allows a student to become qualified to pursue careers in the corporate, commercial, university, hospital and community settings.

Specialized Careers in Exercise Science

Students specializing in fitness have opportunities to work in health club management, fitness instruction, dance instruction, coaching, athletic training, physical education teachers. Employers include fitness centers, corporate fitness centers, weight reduction facilities, sports and entertainment centers, athletic clubs, adult care facilities, sports clinics, and private and public schools.

Some students choose to specialize in outdoor adventure and resource management with this degree. Graduates of this specialization might serve as park rangers, naturalists, outdoor education specialists, outdoor resource managers, outdoor instructors, group facilitators, camp program planners and adventure leaders. The U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service have recently expanded their professional positions to include more outdoor adventure and administration majors.

Students many times go on to pursue their master's degrees and PhDs. This Sport and Exercise Science bachelor's degree prepares students for a plethora of graduate programs, even medicine. We will cover a few of these programs and their job outlooks.

Sport and exercise psychology (SEP) is one of the fastest growing disciplines at the graduate level. This is a multidisciplinary field of study, meaning that a student will need to learn a large base of knowledge in both exercise science/kinesiology and psychology. Opportunities are numerous for graduates of this master's program.

Physical therapy is another graduate program a sport and exercise student can continue on in. Also referred to as physiotherapists, these health workers help patients recover mobility, strength and flexibility and limit pain after suffering from an injury or disease. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential of prevention, promotion, treatment, intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. Money Magazine's "Best Jobs in America" ranks physical therapists as the 12th best job in the nation. It is also considered one of the most satisfying jobs in the healthcare industry.

Occupational therapy is similar to physiotherapy. Occupational therapists (OTs) help people who have disabling conditions improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily working and living environments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupational therapists will be one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. Expectations of 34% job growth by the year 2014, makes this a intelligent career path.

Now exercise physiologists are health professionals that specialize in human physiology as it relates to exercise and sports. Exercise physiologists create fitness programs designed to improve cardiorespiratory function, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance or flexibility.

Other careers include dietetics and sports nutrition, exercise epidemiology, primary care sports medicine, and health promotion.

So whether you are interested in a bachelor's degree or continuing your education in sport and exercise science, there will be a variety of job opportunities waiting for you after graduation!