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Careers In Sport

sportParticipation in sport can mean much more than just playing. Find out about careers in sport that can last a lifetime.

For many the most enjoyable thing about sport is participating by playing but there are lots of sporting careers that can fulfil someone for a longer period of time than a career playing can. It can even be more satisfying to witness the growth and success of an individual or team. Here is some key information on sporting careers to consider.

Coaching careers

The role of the coach is to be the driving force behind a team or individual athlete, unlocking their full potential. A coach needs to evaluate performance, train the team, teach them the necessary skills and demonstrate what is needed to succeed.

Good communication and organisation skills are required along with the ability to inspire and plenty of patience. Academic qualifications including degrees can be useful and some employers will expect you to have a qualification like this. However, to become a qualified coach you need to gain the appropriate coaching qualification associated with your chosen sport, which is recognised by the relevant national governing body.

Typical starting salaries for new sports coaches are around £15,000 to £25,000 and for senior coaches £30,000 to £35,000. But at the highest level an experienced coach can make over £100,000.

A career as a sports instructor

Similarly, being a sports instructor involves demonstrating and explaining the rules and skills of particular sports. Sports instructors help beginners learn the basics of a sport as well as helping experienced athletes fine-tune their skills. Rather than nurturing talented athletes as a coach does an instructor provides technical, practical instructions in a specific sport.

As with the role of sports coach, academic achievements are helpful but a coaching qualification that’s recognised by the governing body for your chosen sport is vital.

Starting salaries are between £14,000 and £22,000 and with experience can be around £30,000 with the potential to earn £35,000 – £70,000 if highly experienced.

If you enjoy working one-to-one, the life of a personal trainer involves understanding a client’s fitness level and health history, then supplying them with short and long-term goals combined with a programme of workouts and dietary recommendations to help them become healthier, fitter and get the body they want.

As with the role of a coach, a huge amount of patience and the ability to motivate people is needed.

You will need to be an experienced fitness instructor with knowledge of the body and nutrition. You’ll also need a recognised qualification in exercise and fitness instruction along with a first aid certificate and personal trainer insurance.

Unfortunately, personal training has the lowest salary out of all the sport-related jobs discussed here with a starting wage of between £14,000 and £16,000 and for an experienced trainer it only rises to between £17,000 and £22,000.

Teaching sport

Teaching young people to enjoy sport can be really rewarding and working as a PE teacher involves a lot of time preparing and planning lessons for classes of different ages and abilities. You’ll have to control class behaviour and speak to parents and you will have to mark a lot of homework and assignments but teaching is very interactive and interesting – you’ll always be active with preparing, teaching and even organising extra-curricular activities.

To become a PE teacher, you’ll need to do an Initial Teacher Education or Training qualification (ITET) alongside a degree. Some universities offer courses specifically for those looking to train as primary or secondary school PE teachers but more commonly graduates will complete an additional year-long physical education PGCE course (post graduate certificate in education) to gain qualified teacher status (QTS).

As a qualified teacher the starting salary is, on average, between £16,250 and £30,000 and as an experienced teacher the average is about £38,000. For a highly experienced teacher with extra responsibilities like maybe being a head of department salaries can be between £35,250 and £46,500.

To find out what it’s like working as a PE teacher, I went to interview Mrs Anderson, a PE teacher at Coopers Coborn and Company School. She emphasised the importance of having a degree for a career in teaching stating that, “whatever you do, for being a PE teacher, you need to have a degree and that degree can be in a subject other than sport like geography for example.” Mrs Anderson told me that one of the best parts of the job was, “working with colleagues and building close friendships”. However, she highlighted how much the job affects your social life, saying that “evenings and weekends are both affected because of extra-curricular clubs; your social life is hugely affected.”

You can find out about coaching qualifications at

Researched and written by Milo Pope – Milo is a student at The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School. He is interested in sport and politics.


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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