Sports and Recreation School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Do you love sports? Playing them, watching them, even dreaming about them? You might not be the next Olympic athlete, but that doesn't mean you can't turn your passion for sport into a meaningful career.sports and recreation

Thanks to the 2012 Olympic Games, interest in sports is at an all-time high. This means more opportunities for people looking to work in the sports and recreation industry, which encompasses a wide range of job possibilities. Is there a sport that you enjoyed participating in at school? Or did you belong to a local team near you? That kind of experience is invaluable when it comes to finding a job.

What’s it all about?TOP ^

Jobs in sports and recreation include working in a facility like a leisure centre, or qualifying to become a coach or fitness instructor in a gym or school. If you get a degree in sports medicine or sports science, you can use that knowledge to work for professional sports teams, in health centres, or even to write about sports.

The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences is a professional organisation that supports people who work in sports and exercise sciences, or who are studying towards a degree in this area. It offers a variety of training and networking opportunities that will help you in your career.

While liking the sport you're working with is important for jobs in sports and recreation, you also need to have skills in management, business, health or teaching to turn your interest into a job. You can have a really rewarding career though, encouraging a love for sport and developing talent in people of all ages. Your hours will vary greatly depending on the kind of place you work in, and whether or not you work as a freelance teacher or consultant.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Leisure centre managers can earn around £17,000-£22,000, depending on experience and where the facility is located. People who teach things like martial arts or yoga usually charge by the hour, and per student. A fitness instructor at a gym can earn up to £20,000.

Referees for sports games tend to get paid per game, and can earn up to £80 per game. A sports and exercise scientist can get a starting salary around £20,000, and can double that as they gain experience.

Where can I work? TOP ^

You won't necessarily need a degree to get an entry-level job in this industry, but you will need qualifications to progress into management or to specialise in certain areas. For example, if you want to be a fitness instructor or personal trainer, you'll need special qualifications - visit City & Guilds to find out more.

School leavers looking to work in the sports and recreation industry can look for work in gyms, sports clubs and professional organisations – try looking for work experience or internships first to gain vital employability skills.

What skills do I need in sports and recreation? TOP ^

Most jobs will require a certain level of physical fitness, particularly if you're a teacher with multiple classes to run during the day. You'll also need to enjoy working with people, and have excellent communication skills. Good leadership and organisation will help you move into management roles.

In the vast majority of cases working in the sports and recreation sector is going to involve constant communication and interaction with the general public, even if you are in a management role. This means that a variety of skills are essential. They include:

What entry level sports and recreation jobs can I do? TOP ^

You can get into some sports and recreation careers without a degree, although higher level job areas such as sports psychology will require you to have a degree. The most important thing is to gain industry experience.

Some entry level sports and recreation jobs include:

  • Fitness instructor
  • Gym assistant
  • Sports coach
  • Sports administrator
  • Outdoor pursuits assistant
Browse all Sports and Recreation jobs for this guide