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Love sport, exercise, health and fitness? Turn it into a career! – by Professor Peter Reaburn, head of exercise and sports science, Bond University

Careers and University, Exercise Physiology / Science, Sports Science

“When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My friends were going to University, studying at TAFE, taking on apprenticeships, or getting jobs in areas they hated just to earn money. Nobody had told me I could study exercise and sports science and make a career out of my passion for sport, exercise, health and fitness.

I studied exercise and sports science for four years and became a Health and Physical Education teacher for seven years. Following my heart and not my wallet, I then went back to University and completed my PhD to enter academia where I forged a career as an award winning educator and research supervisor.

Throughout my studies, I had a mentor – Professor Max Howell – who changed my life and directed my career to where I am today. I am now Head of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond University, and am grateful to be in the position to change the direction of the lives of young people wanting a career in sport, exercise, health and fitness.

Career pathways after completing a degree in Exercise and Sports Science

Exercise & Sports Science graduate, Benjamin Hunt secured a Sports & Conditioning job at Scots College, Bellevue Sydney. He is currently mixing it up between Strength & Conditioning and rugby coaching at the college.

In addition to the global job market driven by major events like the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, World Cups and various sporting leagues, the recent rise of women’s professional sports, Paralympic,  adventure and leisure sports has seen a big jump of new graduate employment opportunities created in this burgeoning industry. In addition, the health and fitness industries are booming as the world realises we need to tackle obesity and the associated chronic conditions by using Exercise as Medicine.

According to a recent Australia/New Zealand survey conducted by Sportspeople, 70% of people working in the sport-fitness sector hold a Bachelor’s degree. Importantly, 84% of those working in the industry indicated that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their job. They followed their passion!

Sport and fitness is no longer just about fun and games. The professionalization of competition across all sporting codes and the money drawn in through sponsorships and broadcasting rights has driven demand for highly qualified professionals who can help athletes become faster, stronger, better. The fitness industry is demanding qualified professionals who are able to tackle the epidemic of inactivity and associated obesity and health issues.

There are now jobs in the sport and fitness industries for exercise scientists, high performance sports specialists, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, health and fitness consultants, dietitians, occupational therapists and researchers.

Student Success Stories

Now that I am Head of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond University, I have witnessed a number of our students’ success in their careers, by undertaking a degree in Exercise and Sports Science.

Exercise & Sports Science graduate has been working with high-performance swimmers attempting to improve their times when starting and turning.

The Exercise and Sports Science program at Bond has been developed around the key to securing a job in the sport, exercise, health and fitness industries by facilitating students to building a skill set, knowledge, portfolio of work experience and a network of contacts well before they graduate.  For example, previous Exercise and Sports Science student at Bond, Sam Coad, completed internships with the Gold Coast Titans rugby league team and the Queensland Reds rugby union squad. He also met the University of Michigan’s Director of Strength and Conditioning for their legendary football team, the Wolverines, who happened to be studying his PhD at Bond at the same time. Through his contacts and experience, Sam scored his first job as Assistant Strength Coach for the Wolverines.

More recently, Singaporean Exercise and Sports Science graduate Shiqi Thng, undertook an internship with the Australian Institute of Sport, which included helping to coach Olympic athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Shiqi was offered a part time role working with elite swimmers in strength and conditioning while starting a PhD with us. In an Exercise and Sports Science program at Bond, there is a strong focus on practical experience with internships arranged through a network of national sporting clubs and organisations. Students in this program have the opportunity to work with elite athletes and professional teams who come to the Bond Institute of Health and Sport for high-level training and research projects. The aim is to prepare graduates for the real world and help them achieve their dreams of working in the area of their passion.

I strongly encourage you to think about studying Exercise and Sports Science. Follow your passion for sport, exercise, health and fitness.  It worked for me!”

Professor Peter Reaburn is professor and Head of Exercise & Sports Science within the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine.

The Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond give students the chance to interact with and be mentored by professional sports scientists and gain real-world expertise in exercise science, sports science and/or strength and conditioning.

This post was placed in partnership with Bond University.

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