Americans love to watch, read about, and participate in sports. If you want to keep athletics and healthy lifestyles as a part of your career, the physical fitness and education field provides several career paths.
- Physical education teachers introduce children to the ideas and concepts of sports and games. They instruct children on proper health nutrition, teamwork, and motivation skills.
- Coaches work with athletes in all stages of competitive sports, from grade school to the professional level. They optimize a team's chance for victory by providing leadership, motivation, and instruction in the mechanics of the sport.
- Recreation and fitness workers plan, organize, and direct recreational activities such as aerobics, and sports. They are also responsible for the daily operations of activities, scheduling events, and recording equipment use.
As sports and recreational fitness activities at all levels continue to grow in popularity, professionals are needed to teach, train, and guide participants.
Physical education teachers work in public and private institutions at the elementary, middle, and high school level. They can teach inside as well as outside during the school year, Monday through Friday, approximately 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Extra hours may be required during parent/teacher conference days, to prepare lesson plans, and grade tests and papers. Often physical education teachers coach teams at the schools where they work.
Coaches have irregular hours, including weekdays, weekends, evenings, and holidays. Most coaches consistently work over 40 hours a week, depending on the season and recruiting. Travel should be expected, even at the high school level. Coaches work both inside and outside during different times of the year. Coaches are found at the middle school, high school, and college level in addition to semi-pro and professional teams.
Recreation and fitness workers work in parks, community centers, cruise lines, summer camps, tourist attractions, health clubs, fitness centers, and theme parks. Increasingly, more are found in the workplace to coordinate wellness programs. Work may be seasonal or full-time throughout the year. Many work 40 hours in shifts through out the week, including weekends and evenings.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in the areas of fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, are on the rise. National job openings are expected to increase by 24 percent by 2020. In Michigan, an 19 percent increase is expected by 2020.
If you are not interested in becoming a teacher but still wish to pursue coaching at a high school level, you must meet state requirements for certification. Certification may not be required in private school. Many schools may require you to be at least 18 years old and CPR certified.