Getting involved in the sport, health and fitness industry doesn’t mean you need to be athletically gifted or have dreams of winning gold at the Olympics. VET courses can get you qualified for a variety of careers in the industry and there are plenty of jobs that can see you working in your favourite sport without being a world class athlete.

What is VET?

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training, which is an education pathway that’s focused on gaining practical skills and providing you with a nationally-recognised qualification, ranging from a Certificate I to Certificate IV, to a Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate.

A VET course is similar to a university degree in that you spend a chunk of your time getting qualified for a real-world career, but it’s generally shorter, less theoretical and more hands-on, and more work-focused. You can complete a VET course at TAFE or another registered training organisation (RTO). Statistically, those who complete a VET course, have higher rates of employment and, on average, get paid slightly better than university graduates.

Why is VET relevant to the industry?

The nature of VET courses is they offer specific training. In the sport, health and fitness industry you can study areas such as coaching, nutrition, sports business or events. While getting started in these areas can be done with little to no formal qualifications, completing a VET course can get you formally qualified and lead to greater career progression and higher salaries.

Universities offer degrees more broadly in areas like sports and recreation but VET courses give you the opportunity to study specific to a sport. VET courses also tend to have more variety in length, taking anywhere from a couple of weeks to four years for an apprenticeship. In considering VET, you want to ask yourself how long it will take, how much it will cost, how practical it is and the employment outcomes afterwards.

What are some courses that I can do?

One of the most appealing parts of VET is that the courses are often shorter and cheaper than a Bachelor’s degree. Rather than doing a 3- of 4-year degree, the tendency is to do a short course in order to get qualified and then learn more while on the job. As you progress through your career, you can then upskill with more VET training. Alternatively, many people turn to a VET course before or after they’ve completed a university degree in order to enhance their skills and gain more practical experience. Here are a few examples of training courses, from entry level to advanced:

  • Certificate II in Sport Coaching (Entry Level)

This qualification will give you the knowledge and skills to deliver a training session for a sport. It covers areas like communication, basic coaching practices, safety policies and fundamental skills for specific sports. It’s a year long, entry level course designed to equip graduates as coaches and can be built upon by completing a Certificate III, IV or Diploma.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation (Trade Level)

This course will build your knowledge on how to run an outdoor recreation activity to allow others to participate safely. Along with learning how to develop and coordinate programs incorporating outdoor activities and responding to emergency situations, you will also have the option to learn in specific areas such as kayaking or 4WD tours. It has an average duration of 10 months and you will be qualified to provide instruction on using equipment, give advice on safety measures and be able to work in adventure tourism, eco-tourism or educational settings.

See stats and outcomes.

  • Diploma of Fitness (Advanced Level)

This year long course is for people who already have a solid knowledge of the skills needed to plan, conduct and evaluate advanced exercise problems. This qualification provides a pathway to work in a variety of fitness careers with two areas of specialisation to choose from: Fitness Service Coordination or Management which can lead to jobs like advanced personal trainer or fitness services coordinator.
See stats and outcomes.

What are the career outcomes?

There are a variety of job titles within this industry and many of them can be aligned to a specific sport that you’re interested in:
Advanced personal trainer, fitness services coordinator, dancer, community coach, aqua exercise instructor, fitness instructor, personal trainer, sports development officer, referee, umpire, gym supervisor, general manager, sports journalism, admin assistant, talent development coordinator, duty manager, program coordinator, competitions manager, high performance coach, surf teacher, outdoor adventure instructor.

For more info on courses and career paths, check out the My Skills website.

If sport, health or fitness is your thing and you’re keen on starting a career in it, check out Nicholas’ story here. Completing a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation while still in school, Nicholas knows all about getting into sport, health and fitness through VET so head here to find out more about his story.