Exercise Science: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Sport Management

  • Athlete Representation
  • Public Relations
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Publicity
  • Promotions
  • Operations
  • Event Coordination
  • Program Coordination
  • Fundraising
  • University athletics administration


  • Professional teams
  • Professional athletes
  • Sports associations (NBA, PGA, NCAA)
  • Local sport and tourism corporations
  • Arenas
  • Auditoriums
  • Stadiums
  • Colleges and universities
  • Health clubs
  • Sport facilities

Information & Strategies

  • Major in sport management or sport administration. Earn a master's degree for increased opportunities.
  • Develop outstanding communication skills, written, and oral.
  • Take courses in marketing, public relations, and advertising.
  • Pursue a degree in law to aid in negotiating contracts.
  • Obtain accounting or business skills and experience.
  • Gain experience with public speaking and sales.
  • Volunteer to do publicity for campus organizations or local nonprofit groups.
  • Volunteer to coordinate athletic programs and events such as marathons, golf tournaments, or special olympics for campus organizations or local nonprofit groups.
  • Write articles or columns for campus or local newspapers.
  • Join sport-oriented associations and organizations.
  • Obtain an internship or part-time job with a team or other athletic organization.
  • Work with minor league or local teams as a way to enter the field and gain experience.
  • Be willing to work in any capacity to get started.

Sporting Goods

  • Store management
  • Brand/Product representation
  • Product development
  • Product distribution
  • Marketing


  • Sporting goods manufacturers
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Exercise equipment manufacturers

Information & Strategies

  • Major in business, marketing, sport management, or related field.
  • Obtain a part-time job or internship in the area of wholesaling or retailing.
  • Develop excellent communication skills.
  • Build relationships with coaches, athletic directors, and college equipment/uniform representatives.
  • Volunteer as team equipment manager.

Sport Communications

  • Journalism
  • Broadcasting
  • Photojournalism


  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Television stations
  • Radio stations
  • Sport-related internet sites

Information & Strategies

  • Major in journalism, broadcasting, English, or public relations.
  • Supplement program with courses in sport management or physical education.
  • Obtain an internship or part-time job with local or university newspaper or radio/television station.
  • Publish as much as possible in college and local newspapers.
  • Create a portfolio or published work, both articles and photographs.
  • Develop excellent public speaking and writing skills.
  • Participate in organizations such as Toastmasters.

Exercise Science

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Program development
  • Athletic training
  • Personal training
  • Rehabilitation
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Health club management
  • Group fitness instruction


  • Colleges and universities
  • Public and private schools
  • Sport medicine centers
  • Hospitals and rehabilitation clinics
  • Health clubs and fitness centers
  • Professional teams
  • Corporate health centers
  • Professional fitness organizations, such as American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • Olymypic training centers
  • Competitive youth training centers
  • Nutritional supplement manufacturers

Information & Strategies

  • Major in exercise science, exercise physiology, kinesiology, or sports medicine.
  • Supplement curriculum with nutrition and hard science courses.
  • Consider professional or graduate school in physical therapy, athletic training, or medicine.
  • Obtain necessary certification such as Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, or National Athletic Trainer Certification.
  • Develop computer skills and familiarity with technology used in the field.
  • Work in a physical therapy clinic, healthy club, or gym to gain experience and make contacts.
  • Volunteer to work with college or high school sport teams.
  • Volunteer to run exercise programs for local nonprofit organizations.
  • Consider working with manufacturers of exercise equipment or nutritional supplements to learn more about the field and to make contacts.
  • Develop excellent interpersonal skills for working with clients, coaches, and team physicians.
  • Maintain excellent personal fitness and athletic proficiency. Obtain certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Physical Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Adaptive physical education
  • Recreational sports administration


  • Public and private schools, K-12
  • Colleges and universities

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain a degree in education, physical education, or other sport related field in addition to appropriate state teacher licensure. Earn dual certification for increased job opportunities.
  • Become familiar with a variety of physical cognitive and affective disabilities if interested in an adaptive physical education career. Supplement coursework with special education classes.
  • Secure a part-time position with a youth recreation center, college athletic facility, or intramural athletic administration department.
  • Develop competitive and instructive proficiency in a wide array of sports.
  • Obtain a graduate degree to teach at the college level or to advance into administrative positions.
  • Become a graduate teaching assistant for physical education courses.


  • Professional coaching
  • High school coaching
  • College coaching
  • Private coaching


  • Professional sport teams
  • Colleges and universities
  • High schools and middle schools
  • Recreational organizations or leagues (YMCA)
  • Country clubs
  • Racquet clubs
  • Golf and tennis resorts
  • Cruise lines
  • City parks and recreation departments

Information & Strategies

  • Consider majoring in exercise science, sport management, or physical education.
  • Obtain teacher licensure for high school and middle school coaching opportunities.
  • Gain extensive, advanced playing experience.
  • Maintain current CPR and first aid certifications.
  • Gain additional knowledge in areas of strength training, fitness, nutrition, and conditioning.
  • Learn about and practice motivational techniques.
  • Become familiar with legal and regulatory issues related to coaching (e.g. NCAA regulations).
  • Volunteer to coach neighborhood, church, and community teams.
  • Attend practices of teams at various levels to observe coaches' techniques.
  • Serve as a referee or umpire.
  • Seek a graduate assistant position in athletic administration, instruction, or coaching.
  • Obtain an assistant and then head coaching position at the university level to increase possibility of progressing to the professional level.


  • Refereeing
  • Umpiring
  • Line judging


  • Professional sport leagues
  • High school athletic associations
  • College and university athletic associations
  • Amateur athletic associations (e.g. United States Tennis Association)
  • Recreational leagues

Information & Strategies

  • Be prepared to maintain full-time employment in addition to refereeing.
  • Volunteer to umpire youth or Little League games.
  • Obtain certification to officiate in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) games.
  • Join sport associations and organizations to stay current on developments in the field, and to make contacts.
  • Attend classes, seminars, camps, and workshops sponsored by these organizations and associations.
  • Attend an umpire training school or camp for professional opportunities.
  • Gain Professional Football Referees Association licensure or other applicable credential.
  • Obtain the required ten years of collegiate football refereeing experience before applying to the National Football League (NFL).

Sports Psychology

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Consultation
  • Performance enhancement


  • Colleges and universities
  • Olympic training centers
  • Competitive youth sport centers
  • Recreation organizations and leagues
  • Professional sport teams
  • Professional and competitive athletes
  • Hospitals

Information & Strategies

  • Major in psychology, physical education, exercise science, or other physical activity related field.
  • Obtain a doctoral degree in sport psychology, sport sociology, or clinical/counseling psychology and complete postdoctoral training if you desire to work with professional sport teams or athletes.
  • Develop good relationships with coaches and other athletic department personnel. Express a willingness to learn from coaches and athletes.
  • Gain experience in a variety of different sports.
  • Assist faculty with research.
  • Develop strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Consider coaching youth teams.
  • Show genuine care when working with athletes.
  • Join professional associations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 47 (sport and exercise psychology), or the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology (AAASP).

Exercise and Health Psychology

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Health Promotion
  • Primary care
  • Inpatient medical
  • Specialized health care


  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Health clubs and fitness centers
  • Olympic training centers
  • Rehabilitation clinics
  • Public health agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Major in one of the social sciences and supplement coursework with hard science classes.
  • Acquire training in the areas of research, grant writing, and statistics.
  • Volunteer in a hospital or fitness center.
  • Develop strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Learn to work well in a team environment.
  • Earn a graduate degree in clinical, counseling, social, or experimental psychology for health psychology opportunities.
  • Earn a graduate degree in sport psychology, with an exercise emphasis, for a career in exercise psychology.
  • Pursue a postdoctoral internship or fellowship for advanced career opportunities.

General Information

  • Be willing to work with sport teams in any capacity, realizing that most people start in low-level positions. Careers in sport and athletics are extremely competitive. Get as much experience as possible while in school.
  • Join professional associations. Read their publications and attend their meetings, seminars, and conventions to learn more about the field, as well as to make important contacts.
  • Look for jobs in the minor leagues as a way to enter the sport industry.
  • Earn a graduate or professional degree for increased opportunities.
  • Maintain excellent personal fitness and athletic proficiency.
  • Learn to relate well to a variety of people from various backgrounds.
  • Consider entering the field of athletics through skills and experience in another area such as accounting, sales, or information systems.
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Next Steps

Learn about North Park's exercise science program.

Athletic Training student stretches football player