For most of us, dreams of winning gold at the Olympics or scoring goals in front of packed stadiums are off the cards as legitimate careers. Putting aside being a famous athlete, there’s plenty of other ways to turn your love of sport into a solid career.
1. Decide if it’s right for you
If you’ve been spending more time on the field than in the classroom throughout school, a career in sport may be the way to go. The best way to figure out if you’re going to like working in the sport industry is by getting out there and giving it a go–talk to people, volunteer or get work experience. Dedication is key, as is self-motivation if you want to get ahead. Don’t freak out if you decide you don’t like one area–there’s a huge range of jobs and qualifications within the industry so try different things out and find what’s going to work for you.
2. Get qualified
If you’re looking to head down the medical side of the sport industry (think physios, nutritionists and dieticians) of the sport industry you’ll be hitting the books and working towards a uni degree. Be aware that some jobs in these areas within the sport industry are highly competitive, and you might have to work in alternative areas to get your experience up before you can start competing for sports based jobs.
Other degrees, such as Bachelors in psychology or journalism, don’t have to be sport specific and you can transfer those skills and qualifications into jobs such as athlete psychologist or sports reporter. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every educational pathway is a straight line to an office job; skills and knowledge are transferable. Plus, for every level of sport there’s jobs in admin, management, sales, marketing and communication so don’t think that you need to become a coach or trainer to be involved within the industry.
If you want to get into a sport specific degree (that isn’t medical), there’s options like Sports Management or Sports Development. Options will vary depending on what uni you’re looking at, so make sure you look into whether the campus you want to go to has the course you want to study.
If heading to uni isn’t your thing, TAFE offers courses in Fitness, Outdoor Recreation and Sport and Recreation Management which will get you qualified to do things like personal training, gym management, fitness instructing, sports training and coaching. Coaching and officiating can also be started from a grassroots level and you can usually find a local course that will give you an accreditation to build on as your progress. A lot of these courses complement each other and can give you a head start if you ever want to head to uni. Plus, you can always try and get experience at an entry level within a sporting organisation in areas such as journalism, business, marketing and administration and work your way up.
3. Get experience
For jobs that require a degree first, you will usually have to undertake a prac or internship as part of your course which employers will look for when you’re applying for jobs. Even though it’s rough having to do unpaid work, these sort of positions will help you get your foot in the door and build connections. Finding opportunities to get real world experience is important, so take any and all opportunities you can get to build on your practical knowledge.