People who are interested in sports careers may be confused about how to structure their degree programs in a way that will combine a sports management degree with exercise science. Those individuals who are fortunate enough to have the ability and talent to become professional athletes soon realize that their years of active participation are limited. Some former players become sports commentators or writers. Others, like their peers who did not play professional sports, may go on to own gyms or work as managers or trainers.
There are many career opportunities in sports. According to Bloomberg Business, the industry accounts for more than $200 billion of our economy. Two of the major degrees in sports are exercise science and sports management. They can be combined in preparation for satisfying and lucrative careers.
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What is Exercise Science?
Exercise science prepares people to become licensed as a physical education teacher or a fitness coach, among other professions. It includes a basis in the fundamentals of movement and how the body responds and adapts to it, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. That means exercise science addresses sports injuries and how sports and exercise programs may be adapted for pregnant women or people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Students in this degree program learn how to create exercise and strengthening programs and how to implement them. They also learn how to promote general wellness for different fitness levels and how to prevent injuries. The program usually culminates in an intensive internship.
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What is Sports Management?
Sports management is a degree that teaches some of the fundamentals of sports fitness and the science behind it, but the program inculcates business courses that stress the financial side of sports in things like ensuring the physical productivity of a professional sports team and acting as business managers for professional athletes. In other words, sports management looks at fitness, exercise and sports through a financial lens.
Combining a Sports Management Degree With Exercise Science
You must first decide what sports career you want. If you want to be a fitness trainer or own a training facility, then you need good foundations in the exercise science degree program, but you also need some financial expertise. If you want to become a business manager for an athlete or a team advisor, you need more of the business aspect.
Careers with professional sports teams can be highly lucrative. These managers look at team and injury rosters, deciding how to best utilize players and how to optimize their performances. They can make more than $119,480 a year depending upon where in the industry they work. Fitness center managers earn a median salary of $50,000, and owners of centers and gyms can earn considerably more. With a combined degree, you might also go into sports equipment or fitness program marketing.
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Careers in the sports industry can be greatly satisfying. Like any career, sports professions require adequate preparation and competence. People who have no advanced training cannot really advance in the career. Degrees and work experience that lead to certification and licensure can give you the credentials and business reputation to be successful. Many careers are developed by combining a sports management degree with exercise science.