Articles - How to Work as a Sports Lecturer

Want to give your sport and fitness qualifications a good workout? Read a job description of a sports lecturer. Find out how to get a job, the salary range and career opportunities working as a sports lecturer.


What does it take to get a job as a sports lecturer?

A sports lecturer has the crucial role of educating students in the principals of sport and fitness. The job is suited to those who have a duel passion for all forms of competitive activity and physical fitness, and the desire to teach and nurture others. Benefits include educating students in performance-related and cutting edge information and constant sports chat and research, with no chance of a game play injury. If you love to keep abreast of the latest trends and discoveries in the field, but prefer an arm’s length approach to game play, then perhaps a sports lecturer job is for you. Do you have a sports degree; are you a retired athlete, a team coach, or an ardent sports fan? There are opportunities for you to carve out a career in lecturing. 


What does the job involve?

A sports lecturer is based in a higher education institute and the position varies depending whether you choose to work in a sixth form college or a large university. The daily duties will be similar, but the responsibility and career progression will differ.

Lecturing is key to the role, but it actually represents a small portion of the overall duties.

A sports lecturer can expect to: 

  • Give regular lectures

  • Hold seminars and workshops with students

  • Assess individuals’ attendance and development

  • Plan engaging and inspirational lesson plans

  • Take an advisory role, guiding students through assessments and personal difficulties

  • Conduct academic research for a personal and departmental portfolio, including publishing work in scholarly journals and academic books

  • Carry out a significant amount of administration

  • Maintain own professional development

  • Represent the institution at conferences and networking events


Good Points

There is a wealth of opportunities for the ambitious sports lecturer. You can be flexible with your hours of teaching, depending on the requirements of the college, and a driven lecturer may affiliate themselves with a college or regional sports team to work directly with athletes. It can be equally rewarding to focus on lecturing only, to help others in their personal and professional development.

Sport science and technology is constantly evolving and there is no end point to the innovations being made and new areas to explore. Many positions require a specialism which offers the chance to move in to other areas. 


Bad Points

A sport lecturer job involves several stages of training. You must be qualified in your subject area and also in teaching, assessing and research. Lecturing is a vocational job which requires a continued passion for the sector and constant new, fresh ideas to interest students.

Funding is a major issue for any lecturer or teacher. Small colleges specialising in sports may be less affected than universities, but they are also likely to pay lower salaries. The skill divide between a college and university lecturer is also important. The entry level salary at a college is comparative to that of a university, but the university will have a steeper grade of increase and higher top limit.

It is common for junior lecturers to hold short contracts until they have built up several years of teaching experience and a solid, accredited catalogue of research. It may be necessary to relocate, sometimes frequently, in order to find work.


Skills Required

Universities expect a BSc in sports and fitness as the minimum level of qualification, with most requesting an additional MSc or even PhD. You must be qualified to teach young people and/or adults, so will need a teaching qualification, such as a PGCE or Certificate in Education. This course should cover assessing students, or you will need to do an extra certificate.

Colleges may require a lower level of qualifications. Some request NVQ and BTEC in sport and fitness, along with teaching and assessing certificates.

Top employers want candidates to have an impressive portfolio of original research, which they are expected to maintain throughout their career; both for personal development and on behalf of the department. 


Salary Range

A university pays £25-£34,000 for a junior lecturer, which rises to £35-£40,000 for a senior lecturer.

Colleges pay slightly lower. 


Job Opportunities

An established lecturer may choose to follow the traditional academic path, progressing to senior lecturer, principal lecturer, reader and eventually a professor. This is a long route with a heavy emphasis on teaching and academic work, but the dedicated lecturer can achieve this through continued graft in their chosen area. It may be necessary to take sabbatical leave to perform adequate research, although this is common and encouraged in many schools.

Some lecturers choose to take on managerial duties. Running a course may lead to more departmental control and progression to Head of Department and position of Dean.

For those wishing to remain close to the teaching, there is a broad range of expertise to expand into. Sports lecturing can include performance, coaching, nutrition, physiology and psychology. 

Ceri Jones - Strike Jobs Journalist - 07/10/2013


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