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Sport & Fitness

Whether you want to play or help others get involved, jobs in sport & fitness will always keep you on your toes…

What is a career in sport and fitness like?

For every professional athlete that steps out onto the field, there are scores of other people supporting them to train and keep healthy.

And, from the journalists who bring us close-up shots of the action to the organisers and managers getting spectators in their seats, there are plenty of people making sure that the spotlight shines on sport.

Many careers in sport & fitness also focus on promoting healthier lifestyles and sports more widely amongst the general public. These roles are essential in making sure that people everywhere have access to sports facilities and the knowledge to train and stay fit.

What sport and fitness jobs can I do?

Athletes are sports people who compete at national and international levels. Most athletes train full time. Some are professional, which means they receive a salary for what they do, but others, like many Olympians, are technically amateurs and rely on funding or sponsorship.

Coaches design training programmes, organise and motivate both individuals and teams to play their best. They work with children and adults of all abilities. Most professional teams and athletes will have full-time coaches to support them.

Club/event managers and coordinators run sports clubs or facilities. They put together events and competitions, manage ticket sales and maintain their grounds. There are lots of jobs available in marketing, admin, finance and maintenance at sports clubs too.

Instructors develop exercise and sports classes for groups of people. PE teachers do the same in schools, helping children to build essential sports skills as well as teaching health and physiology to more advanced students and running after school clubs.

Nutritionists develop eating plans and promote healthy eating. They can also develop special diets to help athletes train.

Outdoor activity leaders teach and guide sporting trips for groups in outdoor pursuits like hiking, surfing, paragliding and skiing. For more information on sports and fitness careers, check out our Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism Careers Zone.

Personal trainers tend to work one-on-one and design training programmes to help people keep fit or reach a particular goal, like losing weight responsibly or building up strength.

Physiotherapists help people get back and stay in shape after an injury. Sports people are always pushing themselves to their physical limits so you’ll usually spot a physio or two on the touchline at a sports event!

Sports development officers help to develop programmes and projects to encourage people to get involved in sport. They work with local authorities to improve access to sports facilities, including for children and disabled people, and can do some coaching too.

Sports journalists and presenters are sporting experts who provide the news and coverage surrounding our favourite sports. If you're considering a career in sports journalism, check out our 60 Second Interview with a real sports journalist.

Is a career in sport and fitness for me?

If you enjoy being active and getting outdoors, a career in sport could be for you.

You must be happy working as part of a team, have a positive attitude and be a good communicator, whether you are playing on the field or working behind the scenes.

A general interest in sports, health and fitness is essential too.

How can I start a career in sport and fitness?

You don’t necessarily need a degree to land a great job in sport, but competition is high and you must show your commitment to all things sporting, so get involved playing, volunteering and assistant coaching as soon as you can. A school team is a great place to start!

Aim for grade 4-9 in maths and English. Take PE and biology, especially for coaching and healthcare roles.

At A-level, take PE and biology and consider a health and social care qualification.

Apprenticeships and vocational

Qualifications include an NVQ in sport, active Leisure and wellbeing, a BTEC in sport, or a certificate or diploma in outdoor activities.

Relevant apprenticeships include:

  • Community activator coach (level 2)
  • Community sport and health officer (level 3)
  • Leisure duty manager (level 3)
  • Leisure team member (level 2)
  • Personal trainer (level 3)
  • Sporting excellence professional (i.e. athlete) (level 3)
  • Sports coach (level 4)


To become a pro athlete, you will need to get training. Once you know the sport you want to do, whether it’s tennis, football or motor racing, join a local club and start competing. All professional football clubs run development programmes or academies for young people to train and they often scout around local clubs for talent.

You could also take a level 3 advanced apprenticeship as a sporting excellence professional.


If you are interested in coaching / instructing / personal training, you will need some vocational qualifications after GCSE.  You could do a higher apprenticeship as a sports coach.

Other roles

Teachers, nutritionists and physiotherapists will need a vocational degree in their chosen subject plus some on the job training.

Note: To work with young people (under 18) you will need to have a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before you start any job or volunteer role.

What sport and fitness qualifications are available?

All instructor, coaching and sports development jobs offer the chance to work towards NVQs and QCF qualifications up to level four in a range of areas, from working with disabled people to sports leadership.

You can also gain qualifications and complete career development through the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Did you know these sport and fitness facts?

When Billie Jean King won Wimbledon in the 1960s, she reportedly received a £45 gift voucher. Women now receive the prize money as men and the 2023 champion, Marketa Vondrousova, pocketed £2.35 million.

The UK sporting industry employs over 150,000 people.

12 million viewers tuned in to the BBC to watch the England women's team in the 2023 World Cup final.

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