Careers in sport

Careers in Sport

Finding a job that combines something you love with a promising, rewarding career can be difficult. And if your passion is for sports, you’re not alone, as more and more of us look to mix our love of fitness, sport and the great outdoors with the world of paid work.

Although the sports industry is highly competitive, there’s a wide range of careers to choose from and, with the right qualifications and dedication, a career in sport is achievable.

Becoming a PE Teacher or a Sports Coach are often the most obvious choices for those looking for a way into the sports sector, but they’re not the only options. Here are some other jobs to consider to help get you started:

Sports Journalist

What they do: Report the latest sporting news to the public. This can be through a range of different media, including online, in print, on the television or for radio broadcast. Some cover a wide range of sports and events while others focus on one specific area or discipline.

What you need: A degree in journalism (preferred). It is possible to pursue a career in Sports Journalism without a degree, however, you’ll need exceptional writing ability, excellent attention to detail and a good level of experience.

What you can earn: Entry level is around £15,000. Rising to £30,000+ once proven.

Our advice: Build your experience in any way you can. Writing blogs, applying for internships or offering to work for free at your local newspaper, radio station or sports club (freelance, in any discipline) can all be great ways to perfect your craft. You can then start sending out samples of your work and build your career from there.

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Sports Photographer

What they do: Capture a range of sporting moments, from the mundane to the memorable and historic. May work freelance, selling individual pictures or for a larger image sourcing company such as Getty Images. Again, you can cover a wide range of different sports or concentrate on one area or discipline.

What you need: Degree in photography (preferred). Once again, it is possible to pursue a career in Sports Photography without a degree, however, you’ll need a good knowledge of sport and a natural flair for photography.

What you can earn: Typically around £20,000 basic; varies per image for freelance.

Our advice: Building a portfolio of your work is essential to get into this industry. Take as many sporting photos from as many events as you can. Try going to your local running track or skate park for inspiration. Make an effort to take a range of pictures and make them as unique as possible.

Remember: you don’t need to take the same picture as everyone else. Try shooting from a different angle.

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Personal Trainer

What they do: Assess a client’s physical condition and tailor an effective training programme based on the results. Typically work one-on-one with individuals to improve and set targets for speed, strength, endurance and overall fitness. Can work at a client’s homes, at the gym, outside, or, most commonly, a combination of these.

What you need: Degree in Sports Science (preferred, but not essential); could also have a lesser sports-specific qualification, which could then be combined with experience to progress in the industry. Discipline, motivation, endurance and a passion for fitness are essential.

What you can earn: Typically around £20,000+

Our advice: If you don’t have a degree or any previous experience, try taking a specific course tailored to becoming a personal trainer. Once you’re qualified, apply to local gyms and fitness centres or put an advert out and work independently. This can be a great way to gain some vital experience and prove your credentials to future employers. Remember: always track your progress.

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Sports Advertising

What they do: Sell advertising space for sports publications, sports events companies or sports clubs. The job often includes liaising with professional sports teams and bodies, and across a range of different sports.

What you need: Degree in any discipline (preferred, but not essential); this job focuses more on your personality and knowledge of sport. If you’re passionate and able to sell, this can be a great springboard into the sports industry.

What you can earn: Typically around £20,000, plus a good bonus scheme

Our advice: You may not have considered it before, but a career in sports advertising and marketing can open doors to a whole host of other roles. Once you get your foot in the door and start building up a network of contacts, you can then utilise these to move into other areas, including marketing for professional sports teams or sports-specific ad agencies.

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Sports Nutritionist

What they do: Use a range of dietary strategies, vitamins and supplements to maximise an athlete’s performance. Whether working one-on-one or with a team, a nutritionist usually provides a food plan based on a professional or athlete’s specific needs. It’s a growing industry and nearly all professional athletes and sports teams now have a dedicated nutritionist/team of nutritionists.

What you need: Degree in any discipline (Nutrional Science or Dietetics preferred); on top of this, an interest in sports performance, endurance and recovery is essential if you want to pursue the area as a career.

What you can earn: Typically around £20,000, plus a good bonus scheme

Our advice: Sports Nutrition is a great career to pursue if you’re interested in dietetics and its impact on an athlete’s performance. An athlete’s diet can make a huge difference to their performance, and could prove to be the difference between winning and losing. Maintain your knowledge by keeping abreast with developments in the field of nutrition, dietetics and exercise physiology.

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Other roles to consider: Coaching, teaching, sports psychology, sports development, sports management (for example, gyms and leisure centres), referee/umpire, dance teacher, sports massage.

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