Online Colleges for Sports & Fitness

Sports are a national pastime. From football to baseball to basketball, we spend our weekends at the stadiums or huddled around the TV, cheering for our favorite team. While few are cut out for a career as a professional player, there are plenty of jobs in the sports and fitness field to go around. Some jobs, such as coaches and managers, involve working directly with sports teams. Others, such as fitness instructors, generally work with individuals to help them get into physical shape. Still others, including athletic trainers, are health care professionals who combine medical knowledge with fitness training. However, all these careers have a few things in common -- workers must possess good leadership, motivational and organizational skills as well as a love of exercise. Online sports and fitness degrees can be the first step toward making a career out of a commitment to physical fitness.

Sports and Fitness Online Programs

There are a number of degree and certificate programs available to those interested in a sports-related career. Some jobs have specific educational requirements while others may have more flexible training options. According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association, a bachelor's degree in athletic training will be the minimum required education for trainers by 2014-2015. Meanwhile, personal trainers may be able to find work with only an associate's degree as a health fitness specialist. However, of all the sports and fitness degrees, those in sports management may be the most versatile. The online bachelor's of science degree in sports management, for example, prepares students for the field through coursework both in business as well as sports management. However, online sports management degrees can also be earned at the master's and doctoral degree levels. Individuals with sports management degrees learn to combine sports knowledge with business practices and sales expertise, which can prepare them to go on to work in a variety of management and operational capacities. For other related degree options, see online healthcare colleges.

Job Outlooks for Sports and Fitness Careers

Online sports and fitness programs prepare students for some of the fastest growing jobs in the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that athletic trainers should see 37 percent job growth from 2008-2018 while fitness trainers and aerobics instructors should see a 27 percent increase during the same time. In 2010, these professionals earned mean annual wages of $44,030 and $35,920, respectively. While fitness and aerobics instructors had lower mean annual wages, their career field also has lower educational requirements. These occupations are not the only ones available to those with an education in sports and fitness. Those graduating with an online sports and fitness degree could seek work or additional training to become a dietitian, nutritionist, physical therapist or recreation worker. Additionally, those graduating with an online sports and fitness degree specifically in sports management could pursue a career as a coach, event coordinator, general manager or assistant manager, or public relations specialist. All of these jobs in sports and fitness are positions that combine a love of the game with the opportunity for a career in a growing field.

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