Physical exercise is essential if one wants to keep a good health, while at the same time preventing various lifestyle diseases and increasing the performance of a human being. There are a number of careers that are associated with sports science, including personal trainer, administrator of sports team, physical education tutor, fitness entrepreneur, strength and fitness trainer, exercise physiologist, biomechanist, sports nutritionist, and a fitness instructor (Oregon State University par. 2-4).
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Like any other career, sports science has its entry requirements and several bodies that have an interest in the way exercises, and related trainings are carried out throughout the country. This paper aims to provide any student who may wish to venture into sports science with enough information on the entry requirements for the sports career. The article provides information on the required certifications, the types of agencies that are critical players in the industry, the client population that takes part in regular exercises, and the employment status in the sports career.
The minimum entry requirement for a career in sports science is a bachelor’s degree (Florida Health Careers par. 1-2). An exercise physiologist is, for example, required to be a holder of a bachelor’s degree that has programs like exercise management and sports conditioning. This requisite program typically incorporates lab sessions and vast field trainings that a student has to go through to gain enough hands-on experience. In some cases, a master’s degree may be required for one to practice as an exercise physiologist (Florida Health Careers par. 3-4).
In addition to education, one has to be certified as a trainer in any sports career. An exercise specialist or a health and fitness instructor will need to get certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Personal trainers will need to get their certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association – NSCA (Oregon State University par. 5-7). An exercise physiologist has to take and pass an exam with the American Society of Exercise Physiologists – ASEP before being licensed to become an exercise physiologist (Oregon State University par. 8).
However, this exam requires particular educational prerequisites, such as specific contact hours. Once an individual is certified, they need to meet continued standards on education, lest the certification is revoked. Many states require licensure for athletic trainers to offer training services. One major requirement for such licensure is the successful completion of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association certification examination (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 4). To become a Sports Nutritionist, one has to complete the dietetics undergraduate degree course, go through a vast 9-month internship program approved by the American Dietetics Association (ADA), and finally pass the certification examination offered by the ADA (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 5-6).
Like any other career, sports science is governed by several key agencies, such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American Dietetics Association (ADA), the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research (CIAR). Each of these agencies has a significant role to play in sports science careers. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the professional organization that is mandated to oversee the certification of various individuals who wish to engage in preventive, as well as the rehabilitative training programs (Florida Health Careers par. 9).
In other words, ACSM is the body tasked with certifying clinical athletics and health and fitness trainers. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is mandated to offer the Certified Personal Trainer certification. It is also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that adequate programs are implemented on safe, as well as efficient conditioning and strength (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 8).
The National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) oversees the certification of the Certified Athletic Trainer. The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) offers several certifications, including the Primary Aerobics Instructor Certification, Personal Trainer Counselor Certification, Step Certification, Weight Training Certification, and the Fitness Practitioner Certification (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 9-10).
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers certifications such as Group and Fitness Instructor Certification and the Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant Certification (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 11). The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research provides vital information on health promotion, offers guidance on diet as relates to exercise, and offers advice on public safety fitness. Another significant agency is the Federation of States Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The agency administers the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), which must be passed by anyone willing to become a physical therapist (Florida Health Careers par. 7-11). The Center for Exercise Physiology is tasked with the responsibility of accrediting academic programs related to sports and exercise. The organization regulates the sports profession through licensure and title protection.
Interestingly, the sports and nutrition field seems to grow exponentially because many Americans want to keep fit and healthy through exercises and sports (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 12). The population that needs the services of trained professional trainers and sports nutritionist is so big that several colleges have introduced exercise and sports science into their degree programs (Oregon State University par. 10-13). Some of the clients who will need the services of sports and nutrition specialists are budding and experienced sportspersons, the working class, patients requiring physiotherapy services, as well as individuals who want to engage in physical exercise for fitness purposes only.
Employment opportunities are ever increasing in the fitness, health, and athletics areas (Oregon State University par. 13). The entry level salary for a sports professional with an undergraduate degree is between $18,000 and $30,000 in a year (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 12-13). However, these figures may change depending on geographical factors and market demand. Whether or not a trainer has licensure will affect the starting salary significantly.
Market status and long-term issues
Instructors in the metropolitan areas are always able to dictate better wages than their fellow counterparts in the less populated areas (Oregon State University par. 14). The motivating factor in this profession is that immediately the trainer obtains tangible experience, he will always get enough clients to train (The American College of Sports Medicine par. 14). Services for sports and fitness trainers will experience increasing demand in the future, both in the US and globally, because of the increasing awareness on the need to be physically fit. Moreover, increasing urbanization will lead to more clients requiring the services of fitness trainers to beat the sedentary lifestyles associated with living in cities. The increase in demand for sports and fitness trainers may not lead to a significant rise in their income in the long-term, as more sports graduates will emerge to serve the market.
Sports science is an area that is growing fast due to the ever increasing demand for health and fitness among the Americans. Potential trainers ought to obtain degree qualifications because an undergraduate degree is currently being taken as the minimum entry requirement. Several agencies, such as NATA, ACSM, and NSCA, interact well to govern this profession. Experienced trainers with licensure will always command hefty salaries than the inexperienced, fresh trainers without licensure and located in rural areas.
Florida Health Careers. Careers. 2014. Web.
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Oregon State University. Exercise and Sport Science. 2015. Web.
The American College of Sports Medicine. Careers in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science. 2007. Web.