This post was originally posted on January 25, 2010 by Ellen Hatfield.
The Winter Olympics are just a few short weeks away (the Opening Ceremony is February 12th!). All eyes from around the world will be on Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. I thought it would be fitting to explore career paths in the field of sports and recreation.
On the UW-Whitewater campus, the department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Coaching has a major (Health, Human Performance and Recreation) for those individuals who don’t necessarily want to teach physical education. With this major, students can choose from several different pathways for their career development. Fields include exercise science, health behavior science, sports management, coaching, and athletic training to name a few. The field is quite competitive, and if you open yourself up to the potential of pursuing different career paths within the sports and recreation fields, you’ll probably have greater success of establishing yourself professionally.
In exercise science there are a variety of areas to look at including: physical fitness, athletic training, physical or occupational therapies, education, business, or sports medicine. Sports managment areas include: amateur athletics, facilities and event management, professional teams and leagues, sports merchandising, and leisure and fitness. Also check out athletics & sport and recreation & leisure studies from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Employers in the sports and recreation fields are as varied as the areas of focus. Employers include: colleges and universities, national/state governing bodies, International Olympic Committee (IOC), training centers, YMCA, sports camps, stadiums, golf courses, city parks and recreation departments, professional teams, health clinics, retirement centers, resorts, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and health clubs and fitness centers, to name just a few.
As I said before, the field of sports and recreation is competitive. You have to prepare yourself to work hard. There are some things you can do while you are still college. Join professional organizations, often there are student rates that get you all or most of the same benefits as the professionals. Get involved with athletic teams, intramurals, or other recreation programs on campus. Do one or more internships. Professional teams and leagues will often have internship opportunties in multiple areas.
Other resources online to check out:
- American Hiking Society – internship opportunities
- American College of Sports Medicine – good variety of resources available
- National Recreation and Park Association – advocacy organization for public parks and recreation
- Adventure Jobs/Internships – cool opportunities including summer jobs
- TeamWork Online – jobs and internships listed for a variety of sports
Whatever career path you decide to choose to coordinate with your Health, Human Performance and Recreation major, do what interests you and find the career that you love.
To all, enjoy watching the Olympics in February as athletes follow their dreams and compete on snow and ice!