You’ve heard about jobs in sports medicine – those illustrious, high-profiled professional sports gigs where the team physician runs onto the NFL field to inspect an injured star player. But, how about those behind-the-scenes careers, specifically jobs in sports and fitness, a subcategory of sports medicine? Ever thought about pursuing a job in this particular field?
Physical therapists, sports dietitians, athletic trainers, physical education teachers, and other careers are within jobs in sports and fitness. The spectrum extends even further, but here, Sports Networker highlights physical therapy and athletic training, arguably two of the most popular career paths within sports and fitness.
Types Of Jobs In Sports And Fitness
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0736095667″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514pIiygMHL._SL160_.jpg” width=”112″] Careers in jobs in sports and fitness fall underneath sports medicine, a broader category that encompasses a wide range of jobs in sports.
From jobs in sports and fitness to health, psychology, and other similar fields, an aspiring young professional has a lot of jobs to choose from — the difficult part is first figuring out what you want to pursue in sports.
Some examples of jobs in sports and fitness include the following:
- Athletic trainer (college or university sports team)
- Personal trainer
- Strength/conditioning coach
- Fitness specialist
- Physical education teacher
- Physical therapist
- Sports dietitian
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Physician assistant
- Kinesiology professor/research
How To Get Jobs In Sports And Fitness
Like any other career in sports, jobs in sports and fitness require extensive education, work experience, and a commitment to going above and beyond the competition.
The field of sports medicine — and specifically sports and fitness — continues to grow along with the education available to aspiring professionals.
To have a better chance of obtaining a dream job, it’s important to constantly network and develop relationships with those individuals that you admire and would like to aspire to become.
As the common phrase goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Better yet, it’s who knows YOU.
Mike Reinold, Head Physical Therapist with the Boston Red Sox
1. “Determine what exactly you would call a dream job.”
I would recommend you spend some time in your potential field in high school or early in college to see what a day-in-the-life is for people in the field you want to go into. Many people don’t realize how challenging sports medicine is as a profession. You need to be energetic, compassionate, patient, and love to interact with people. People also don’t often realize what a normal work day is like.
I work 12-hour days, 7-days a week, for 9 straight months. I am not kidding or exaggerating. Check out a baseball schedule; there are no days off…As a physical therapist in a clinic, you are performing a service and your fate is determined by your patients.
2. “Associate yourself with the best.”
My next tip may be one of the most important. You need to seek out the best people in your field and learn, work, and grow with them. With hard work, time, and a lot of effort you will become one of them. That is what I did…Over the course of almost eight years, I progressed from a student research position, then did a year long sports medicine fellowship. Five years later, I was the Director of Rehabilitation. I put myself in a position where I was desirable to baseball teams.
This also goes for networking. Unfortunately, it is all about politics and who you know…Look for mentors, look for friends, and look for opportunities.
3. “Work your way up.”
It is near impossible to reach the level of professional sports without spending time in the trenches. High school and collegiate athletics is a step in the right direction. Internships are very popular in professional sports and essential to getting your foot in the door.
Seek out the professional sports medicine association of the sport you are interested in, and look into doing an internship or volunteering, even if it is just for training camp. Nothing beats experience, so the more specific your experience can be the better.
College Programs That Can Help You Land Jobs In Sports And Fitness
Departments of kinesiology, physical therapy, and other similar areas of study should first be judged on the quality of programs they offer.
Typically, the elite programs require internships, offer research opportunities for students, and promote volunteer and community projects for individuals to participate in.
Below are a few areas to consider when finalizing your education toward a career in sports and fitness:
- Select a college or university that suits your general tastes.
- Peruse the academic catalog.
- Review the department website — how ‘alive’ is the department?
- Examine the faculty directory of the department on the website.
- Plan a visit to the department.
- Talk to students during your visit.
University Of Pittsburgh — School Of Health/Rehabilitation Sciences (Physical Therapy)
Offering a very reputable physical therapy program, the University of Pittsburgh educates its students to assist people in overcoming function, movement, and mobility challenges. The clinical program partners with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center along with the Center for Rehab Services.
Graduates from Pittsburgh’s program regularly achieve a near-perfect pass rate on licensing exams; moreover, they enter the job market with a leg up on their peers in internships and clinical experiences.
University Of Southern California — Division Of Biokinesiology And Physical Therapy
The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Southern California provides the necessary education for a professional career. Graduates leave the program as ready and willing physical therapists able to contribute to society and the profession through teaching and first-hand practice.
According to the program’s website, “The educational philosophy of the program is to maximally challenge each student and facilitate his or her development of skills for life-long learning, professional development, and leadership.”
Michigan State University — Department Of Kinesiology (Athletic Training)
Michigan State University offers a wide variety of programs centered around athletic training. Whether you’re an undergraduate student or a seasoned scholar looking to secure that final doctorate degree, the Department of Kinesiology has it all.
As the undergraduate program has developed, the administration diverted its attention to adding additional opportunities for students interested in athletic training. The Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in athletic training started over a decade ago while the department recently began offering a doctoral program for athletic trainers.
University Of Texas — Department of Kinesiology And Health Education (Athletic Training)
The University of Texas at Austin offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training (BSAT) for students that want to pursue a career in athletic training.
The athletic training major is designed to prepare students for a career as an athletic trainer. The major also fits students who are interested in furthering their education in sports medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other similar areas of study.
University Of Iowa — Department Of Physical Therapy And Rehabilitation Science
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum at the University of Iowa requires two and a half years post baccalaureate degree study and clinical experiences. Thirty–six students are admitted per year, with new students beginning in July each year and graduating in December two and a half years later.
Education is enhanced by close association with the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, one of the nation’s largest university-owned teaching hospitals. Students work closely with a faculty which includes expert clinicians and internationally renowned scientists. Evidence-based practice is the curriculum’s focus.
The program’s goal is to foster the development of problem solving and clinical reasoning skills of the students so they are ready to provide excellent patient care and assume the responsibilities and diverse roles and obligations of a professional physical therapist.
How To Find Jobs In Sports And Fitness
Are you ready to find and land your dream job in sports and fitness? Check out the job postings on Work in Sports for a detailed breakdown of jobs based on type and region.
Did you know that there were so many types of jobs in sports and fitness to choose from? Let us know what your dream job in sports would be. Leave a comment for us below or tweet us your thoughts at @sportsnetworker.
Jobs In Sports and Fitness References