Choosing a career in the field of sport, exercise, and fitness is more complicated today than ever. Never have so many career options been available in so many exciting areas. Those interested in pursuing a career in sport can choose from coaching, sport marketing, sport promotion, athletic administration, sport officiating, sports medicine, sport psychology…and the list could go on. A career in the exercise and fitness arena can be very rewarding, but will it be a career as a personal trainer, exercise rehabilitation specialist, conditioning coach, fitness center manager, or a geriatric exercise specialist? You might have decided that a career in teaching sport and exercise or coaching is the best path for you, but will it be a career in teaching physical education, high-level sport instruction, exercise instruction, or specialized instruction for those with disabilities?
To help aspiring professionals sort through these various career options, the American Kinesiology Association has recently produced a book, Careers in Sport, Fitness, and Exercise (2011, Human Kinetics), that offers overviews of more than 30 different career tracks. Most of these require at least an undergraduate degree in kinesiology, also called “exercise and sport science,” “health and human performance,” or “physical education.” Not all kinesiology departments offer preparation programs for each career track, but a degree in kinesiology provides the perfect background for most of these careers.
The first step toward fulfilling your career aspirations is to select a college or university program that will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to be competitive in your chosen career path. Narrowing down your choices of college or university departments can be a time-consuming task that requires careful investigation. To assist you, the AKA website includes links to each AKA-member department. These are excellent departments that can help you launch your career. (Go to the “Membership” tab and then click on “AKA Members.”) Not all departments offer preparation in each career track, so finding the right department for you will require spending time exploring these departmental websites. These departmental websites will give you a sense of the career tracks students in the department are pursuing. You will also discover information about the curriculum, the faculty, and special projects, as well as background information on the college or university itself. When you have narrowed down your choice, you should arrange to talk to or to e-mail the appropriate contact person in the department.