Sports and Fitness Programs

From working as a physical education teacher to assisting top athletes with training and recovery, a degree in sports and fitness can open doors to a wide variety of careers. It all begins with choosing a good program, but if you're not sure where to start, read on for details on what to expect, financial aid that might be available, and why sports and fitness programs could be an excellent idea for career advancement.

What are some notable accredited sports and fitness schools or programs?

Choosing the right sports and fitness program often means doing a great deal of research. You can check out databases of online programs for sports and fitness management, or connect with community colleges and universities in your area to see what they might offer. Multiple well-known schools around the country offer various sports and fitness degrees. Some of these schools are:

  • University of Oregon
  • Indiana University
  • Franklin Pierce University
  • University of Houston
  • University of Illinois

Students interested in a fitness focus outside the classroom might also find success at Ohio State University, named by Men's Fitness as the fittest school in the nation.

Which internships are available to sports and fitness students?

Numerous internships might be available for those who are pursuing degrees in any number of sports and fitness programs, including sports medicine, sports management and more. Top corporations like Nike, ESPN and CBS Sports often offer excellent internship opportunities, but the competition for these coveted slots is fierce. Many professional sports teams might also offer internships to those who want to pursue a sports and fitness career. Look to places like the NCAA Job Market or the Sports Agent Blog to get started.

Which sports and fitness-related careers are projected to grow at the fastest rate?

The job outlook for those in sports or fitness careers looks good in the coming years, but some job markets are expected to grow faster than others, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Opportunities for physical therapists are expected to grow 36 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, but work as physical therapy assistants will be even better, with 41 percent growth. Work for athletic trainers is projected to grow by 21 percent nationally, while employment options for coaches and scouts are expected to grow by 15 percent, just slightly more than the 14 national percent job growth predicted for athletes, umpires and related workers. The BLS predicts that fitness trainers and instructors will see growth of 13 percent across the U.S. from 2012 to 2022.

How can students ensure that they get the best sports and fitness experience possible?

Finding the best sports and fitness program starts with accreditation. Not only should students seek out a school that has national or regional accreditation, they should look for programs with specific accreditation in the sports field. As in many fields, there are organizations that assess the quality of educational opportunities. For example, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education accredits athletic director programs, and the Committee for Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences focuses on exercise physiology programs.

What transfer options are available to students who enroll in sports and fitness programs?

Many students choose to begin their educational path with community college. This allows students to earn college credit for the first two years, and then transfer those credits to a four-year institution. This is advantageous for those who need a more flexible schedule, prefer the quieter setting of a two-year college, or are carefully watching the financial bottom line. To learn more about transfer options for sports and fitness programs, speak to an admissions officer at the school in question.

How can you receive additional information about sports and fitness schools or programs?

Students can find excellent sports and fitness programs in many colleges and universities across the nation. These programs might be offered in a traditional classroom setting, entirely online, or in a hybrid format of online courses and classroom instruction. No matter the format, each program offers a challenging path to academic success. To learn more, students can contact the colleges that interest them with questions about the program offerings, start dates, financial aid and more.


"How I Landed My Dream Sports Internship," Neil Braslow, Sportsnetworker.com, March 16, 2012,

Job Outlook for Fitness Trainers and Instructors 2012-22, "Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

Job Outlook for Coaches and Scouts 2012-22, "Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

Job Outlook for Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, 2012-22, "Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

Job Outlook for Athletic Trainers and Exercise Psychologists, 2012-22, "Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

Job Outlook for Physical Therapists 2012-22, "Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,

"The 25 Fittest Colleges in America," Sam Dehority, Brandon Guarneri, Nate Millado, Tony Olivero, Ben Radding and Matt Tuthill, Men's Fitness,

"Top 7 Sports MS & MBA Programs in the U.S.," Sportsnetworker.com, June 1, 2012

"MBA is MVP of Sports Management Industry, Some Say," Menachem Wecker, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 12, 2011,

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