Degrees and Careers in Sports, Recreation and Fitness

One of the biggest emerging fields in which to pursue a career in is the combined field of sports, recreation and fitness. Whereas some other careers and markets are shrinking, this career path is continuing to grow and expand to include more things, more opportunities and brighter and better people.

To succeed in potential careers in sports, recreation and fitness there are several different types of degrees that somebody can use to their advantage. While degrees in other areas can serve you well in this field, these are some of the best bets when looking to pursue some aspect of a recreation or sports career. While graduate school is usually not a prerequisite to get a job in these fields, it is an increasingly competitive area and therefore the more schooling you get the better prepared you will be to get hired and be successful.

Business Degrees (Bachelor’s of Business or MBA)

In more sports and recreation businesses, companies and organizations are not solely looking for people with a sports background. So you don’t have to be a former athlete or have a longstanding relationship in sports, fitness or recreation to succeed. More and more, sports and recreation businesses are looking for the smartest minds they can find; the people with a very strong business background and sense. Therefore, a business degree can be highly beneficial in this field. Careers within the field these degrees can lead you to: sports agent, general manager of a team, stadium or department, etc.

Sports Management Degrees

A sports management degree will give you some business knowledge while having it applied directly to the sports business world. You will learn about subjects such as sports marketing and apply business principles to expected real-world, sports or recreation settings. These include sports teams, recreational departments and of course much more. Careers that a sports management degree can help you obtain: anything in the world of sports business, from sports marketing and public relations, to running recreational groups or leagues, etc.

Exercise and Physiology Degrees

If you love sports and also love science, or merely have a passion for staying in shape this might be the right path for you to take. A degree in line with exercise and physiology will give you a heads up in many aspects of the fitness community; and may be required for certain positions. Careers you could expect to pursue with this background: personal trainer, team trainer or doctor, sports nutritionist, etc.

Here is a broad sampling of careers in sports, recreation and fitness that you may consider pursuing with any of the above degrees (or additional backgrounds, educations or interest bases):

1. Sports agent: When many people think of a career in sports the first thing they think about is being a sports agent. This is an extremely tough field, which is highly competitive and crowded. However, if you are successful as a sports agent you will find it to be extremely lucrative as you make a percentage of your clients’ contracts.

2. General manager/management of teams, leagues and sports businesses: Having a strong business sense applied to sports and specific sports or situations can lead to what many people consider a dream job, being a general manager for a team. Of course it can also lead to managing events, stadiums, leagues, groups and departments. As these are top level positions, you can expect to earn anywhere from $75,000 to million dollar yearly salaries. Of course, in smaller situations such as minor league teams that salary would be significantly lower.

3. Team doctor, sports trainer, or nutritionist: If you are a doctor or have a fitness background there is a wide range of opportunities available here; from training individual clients to entire teams, rehabbing injured athletes or creating and implementing proper diets for them. Depending on your degree level and experience, you can make equal or greater money to what a typical doctor would.

4. Sports marketing, sponsorship and public relations: While this isn’t what first comes to mind for many people, this is perhaps the largest field of potential careers and opportunities in recreation, sports and fitness. Athletes and teams need sponsorship and need to be marketed to the public. Additionally, some products need to be marketed specifically to a sports audience. This creates lots of jobs in these fields and your income can grow as you sell more sponsorship and market more clients successfully.