Sports scientist

Sports and exercise scientist

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Sports scientists use knowledge of how the body works to help people improve their health or sporting ability.

Salary range: £18,000 to £60,000

How to become a sports scientist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

You’ll need a degree in sport science, or a degree in a related subject followed by a postgraduate qualification in sports science.

Related degree subjects include:

  • physical education
  • physiology
  • psychology

It’s becoming more common for sports scientists to have or be working towards a postgraduate qualification.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

More information

Career tips

Experience as fitness instructor, lifeguard, coach or through volunteering, for example with a sports club, may improve your career prospects.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and work towards accreditation. You could also apply for Chartered Scientist status.

Further information

You’ll find more advice on careers in sports science from The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to read English
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll typically:

  • work with sports coaches and sports therapists to improve the performance of individuals and teams
  • work with doctors to help people improve their health through exercise
  • work with hospitals and other health organisations in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation
  • take part in research projects
  • offer advice on the design and manufacture of sports equipment

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, on a sports field, at a research facility, in an office, at a client’s business or at a fitness centre.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

You could find work with universities, schools and colleges, large sporting organisations, public and private enterprises and local authorities. It’s also possible to become self-employed or to work as a consultant.

You could also move into a related career area, like sports development or performance testing and research.

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