Studying a sports-specific degree can be a great way to enhance your credentials. Dr Claude Stricker, executive director of the highly-regarded International Academy of Sports Science & Technology (AISTS), highlights what you should consider in the search for a degree.
Tip 1: Know the sports industry & its expectations
Researching your chosen field of expertise will enable you to identify your areas of improvement.
"The sports industry is continuously changing and evolving," says Stricker. "Nowadays, possessing great enthusiasm for sports is no longer enough to start a career in this field. The industry relies on diversified skills in different areas, therefore do your research and find out what are the areas of expertise required and the skills in demand. Assess the strength and skills you have to offer and those you need to acquire or improve. Also, don't underestimate the need to have multidisciplinary knowledge."
Tip 2: Define your long-term career goals
Although sport has now developed to cover many career fields it is important to narrow down your future plans.
"Establish a career plan by defining the areas of sports that match your interest and the type of position you see yourself in," says Stricker. "Talk with professionals in the industry that have the type of role you aim for and compare their testimonial with your perception of the job to make sure this really is for you. Also, remember that sport is present in almost all sectors of the economy, so you have many opportunities."
Tip 3: Know what you are prepared to invest
Be sure that you don't stretch yourself financially and remember to check your eligibility for assistance.
"Assess your current professional and personal situation and define how much time and financial means you are able to commit," says Stricker. "Ask yourself whether you want to do a part-time degree and keep working while you study, or whether you are able to concentrate all your efforts on a full-time degree. Check whether there are scholarships that you are eligible to apply for."
Tip 4: It's all about the location
Entering education brings the possibility of experiencing a new city. But do your research to determine whether the location matches the course.
"When you study, you spend a lot of time in the location where you take classes," says Stricker. "Make sure to choose a place that is dynamic and attractive, i.e. conferences taking place in the town/region, relevant events and organisations based in the area. It's easier when you are based in the heart of the action, where the decision makers are concentrated."
Tip 5: Sit in on a class
Provide your prospective course of choice with the ultimate test.
"You will be able to get a feel for the type of learning, the dynamics of the class and level of interactivity," says Stricker. "You will be able to receive a sample of what you would get if you sign in and make up your own opinion whether the degree feels right for you or not. Also remember that sport is global; therefore consider a learning environment where you have a good mixture of participants from different countries and backgrounds."
Top Tip: Compare education providers
Stricker adds: "Compare the 'extras' you get, i.e. access to a connection base which will enable you to make contacts in the industry, give access to events and opportunities. Also, consider a degree signed by universities that are recognised worldwide in all sectors, not only in sport, which will provide you with more value in the long term."