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Sports scientist Sports and exercise scientist

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a degree in sport science, or a degree in a related subject like physical education, physiology or psychology, followed by a postgraduate qualification.

It's becoming common for sports scientists to already have or be working towards postgraduate qualifications like MRes, MSc or PhD.

Experience may improve your career prospects. You could get it as a fitness instructor, lifeguard, sports coach or by volunteering.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to analyse physical and sporting performance
  • the ability to apply scientific ideas and principles

3. What you'll do

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

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000

Experienced: £35,000

Highly Experienced: £60,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll typically work around 38 hours a week. This may include weekends and evenings to cover appointments with clients. You may have to work extra hours to complete research.

You may be based in a consultation room with occasional work in other locations. In health promotion you'll usually work in an office and travel to visit partner organisations.

6. Career path and progression

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

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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Last updated: 11 April 2017