Many of us dream of scoring in the grand final or hitting the runs to win a test match, but if playing professional sport is not quite achievable you can still follow your passion and turn your sports skills and knowledge into a successful career.
And why not? According to national industry insights over 90 per cent of Australian adults are interested in sport, with 8.4 million adults and 3 million children participating in sport every year. As a result, the sports industry continues to grow with employment levels between 2000 and 2018 rising substantially, with a further increase predicted over the next five years. So here’s five great sports career options you may not have thought of.
Strength and conditioning coach
Like personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches help people to improve their fitness. However, strength and conditioning coaches focus on the entire development of an athlete’s physical performance: not just strength training, but also speed, endurance, agility, stability and injury prevention.
If you like the idea of working at an elite sport level this may be the ideal career for you. Although there are not an abundance of elite level jobs here in Perth, you may need to be prepared for further study and the possibility of relocation to make it a reality. However, there are also opportunities to work with amateur athletes, groups, and sports teams a bit closer to home. This career depends on a combination of education, certification and experience. You will require a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science with good industry placement opportunities as part of your degree so you get vital real world experience and make industry contacts before you graduate.
Physical education teacher
This is a great career to inspire young people to live healthy lives. You can even complete coaching qualifications as part of your teaching degree and gain coaching accreditations to coach school teams or add a coaching specialisation to your skill set. As well as being a very rewarding career, it also has very strong future growth in primary teaching and stable future growth in secondary teaching. Teaching offers the fourth highest graduate salary in Australia and benefits include generous holiday leave, good job security, and great working conditions.
As an accredited exercise physiologist you are an allied health professional qualified with the knowledge and skills to prescribe exercise as a way to promote healthy habits and help patients manage and improve medical conditions.
You’ll need a wide range of knowledge about the human body, like the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and endocrine systems and the impacts and benefits of exercise on these systems. You’ll get to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics and fitness centres, and help a wide range of patients to make a big difference in their lives.
With increasing importance of healthy and active lifestyles there continues to be strong job growth for allied health professionals such as exercise physiologists and physiotherapists, and very strong job growth is expected in the next few years.
To work in this career you’ll need to study an accredited degree that offers practical work experience within public and private health care settings.
Sports development officer
As a sports development officer you are responsible for promoting exercise in young people and special groups through participation in sport. This is a rewarding career as you get to see people try sport and then improve, develop, and enjoy the benefits participating in sport can offer, including friendship, sense of achievement, a healthier lifestyle, and teamwork.
This career would suit you if you are prepared to travel, don’t mind working irregular hours, and have a good understanding of specific sports. Gaining a sports related bachelor degree is a great first step to gaining the key skills required to get into this career.
Sports and exercise psychologist
If you’ve ever played competitive sport, you know how much of your performance is related to your mental resilience and state of mind. So it’s no surprise that psychology plays such a big part in sports performance and motivation. You could find yourself working with professional athletes to help them improve performance, cope with the pressure of competition, increase confidence and mentally recover from injuries.
Sports psychologists don’t just work with professional athletes though, they can work with a range of clients within the general population, including children and young adults. You could even work within a clinical area, such as using sport and exercise to help people suffering from mental health issues.
If you enjoy helping people reach their potential, problem solving and working as part of a team, then this could be a challenging and exciting career for you. A bachelor degree is a starting point to become a qualified psychologist. At Murdoch, you can combine a psychology degree with sports and exercise science to give you the right platform to progress to further study to become a registered sports psychologist.
See for yourself how a Sport and Exercise Science degree from Murdoch can kickstart your career.