Spotlight On: Careers in Sport and Fitness - Aimhigher West Midlands

Spotlight On: Careers in Sport and Fitness

Ever thought about a career involving fitness or sport? There are many careers which might suit you!

For example, you could be a Sport Scientist, a PE Teacher, a Personal Trainer, a Nutritionist, a Gym Owner, Fitness Magazine Editor or Journalist, Sports Coach….there’s hundreds of jobs in the fitness sector!

This blog explores Josh and Lucy’s experiences of turning their passion for fitness into a career, Josh as a PE teacher and Lucy as a Fitness Instructor.


Becoming a PE Teacher by Josh Craig

Teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Every day can be different, and across your career you get to work with thousands of different students from all kinds of backgrounds.

To be a teacher you need to be knowledgeable, adaptable and have a passion for your chosen subject. The more you can show your students how much you enjoy teaching, the more likely it is they will want to learn from you.

Becoming a PE teacher requires a few things. Firstly you need an undergraduate degree from university, ideally in a sport related subject. After that you have a few options. You can choose to do a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) year with a university, or you can do a direct teacher training scheme that trains you within a school. Both of these options provide you with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at the end of the year.

After that you can get a job as a teacher within a school and start your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. After completing your NQT year you are good to go and can look forward moving forward in your career as a teacher.

Teaching PE is slightly different. You aren’t confined to a classroom all day, and a lot of your lessons are outdoors (which leads to a great tan in the summer term). A love for sport is essential and it’s good to lead a healthy, active lifestyle yourself because it makes the demonstrations a lot easier, as it helps to show your enthusiasm for the subject.

It doesn’t matter whether your favourite sport is football, rugby, weightlifting, swimming or anything else, just as long as sport and staying active is an important part of your life!

The days can be long, and it isn’t a normal 9-5 (or 8-4) routine, but the satisfaction and reward of seeing your students succeed is always worth it. Teachers also get three months of holidays a year, so I can’t complain!


Becoming a Fitness Instructor by Lucy Palmer

As a fitness instructor, I teach a variety of classes to people, both in gyms and in the community. I teach High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes, Aerobics classes, Conditioning classes, Body Combat (martial arts style) classes and Stretch classes too.

As a Fitness Instructor, you can train to teach many other classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Step classes, whatever suits you and your interests!

To be a fitness instructor you will need a passion for fitness, have good social skills and the confidence to teach in front of other people (but this also grows as you get experience). It is really fun and a great way to help others achieve their fitness goals whilst keeping healthy yourself….and earn money!

There are many qualifications that can help you get into a career in fitness and you don’t always need a degree from university. At 16, you can start with a Level 2 Gym Instructor course (this course will help you become a personal trainer) or Level 2 Exercise to Music (ETM) Qualification. I chose to do the ETM Qualification which allowed me to gain all the necessary skills to teach fitness classes. The course also educated me on choosing the right insurance, picking music and joining the correct accredited body. Once I qualified this meant I was ready to teach.

Newly qualified, I began approaching gyms to ask if they had any vacancies and now I teach 5 regular classes a week! I personally work as a fitness instructor part time, but you can teach as many or as few classes to suit your lifestyle and other commitments. You can also teach online or in community halls, which means there is a lot of flexibility in this role.

While doing this job I have become more confident, improved my fitness and met lots of new people! If you have any more questions about being a fitness instructor, you can find me on the Speak to Aimhigher Plus Page – CLICK HERE


Some careers in sport/fitness will require degrees from university and others require different qualifications.

If you would like to be a PE teacher, you will need a degree from university. To be a physiotherapist, you will also need a specialist degree in Physiotherapy from university. Some people can work their way up with experience but this may take a long time and a degree will usually make career progression easier.

There are over 1,508 undergraduate degree courses in sport from 197 university providers in the UK.  These include Sport Science, Sport management, Sport journalism and Coaching. For more information, check out the UCAS website, type in “Sport” in to the search bar and click on undergraduate! There you can see all the different courses and universities.


Have questions? The Aimhigher Progression Ambassadors are here to help –

Sign up to our newsletter