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Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences Career Planner

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If you think your love of sport and fitness has to take a backseat to your work, you may be surprised to learn that you can transform your commitment to sports and exercise into a lucrative, life-affirming career. 

SNU’s Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences degrees offer ideal educational paths for students who are serious about careers in exercise, sport administration, human performance, fitness and wellness and understand how these roles transform lives, says Dr. Sylvia Goodman, Chair of the School of Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences. Dr. Goodman was recently awarded a grant from the Kerr Foundation to further diagnostic training in the Exercise Science Lab. Training in Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences can help you channel your passion for fitness into many different roles, offering flexibility and fulfillment. 

Goodman emphasizes that these jobs cater to many different personalities and interests, with a common theme of improving the sports industry. Whether you’re interested in clinical work or business and management, Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences could be a good fit. At SNU, students can choose between a Master of Science in Exercise Science, which focuses on human performance, clinical practice and community health, or a Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration, which centers on the business side of sports teams and athletic institutions. Careers in the fitness and sports industries are versatile and diverse. Keep reading to discover some paths you might follow. 

Download a PDF version of this guide by filling out this form, or keep scrolling to read.


Why Pursue a Career in Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences?

Sports play a key role in many people’s lives. Most Americans say they are sports fans, and the global sports market is expected to reach almost $600 billion in value by 2025. If you’re interested in the business side of sports or relish the idea of managing a team, there will be plenty of potentially lucrative jobs available. 

For sports management roles, an average annual salary is around $75,000. However, there are many potential roles available, and many offer salaries well above six figures. A Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration can open the door to a fulfilling role as an agent, executive, team manager or promoter. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more roles will be open to coaches and scouts than any other role in sports management. 

If the world of business and management does not appeal to you, you can still make an impact. Exercise physiologists are enjoying faster-than-average career growth of 13%, with salaries of about $51,000 annually. The top-tier members of the profession can earn much more by starting their own businesses, catering to high-end clients or becoming clinical professionals. 

However, earnings are just one aspect of career satisfaction. An ongoing research project by 80,000 Hours consistently identifies these key predictors of career satisfaction: 

  • Finding a higher sense of purpose. 
  • Experiencing positive emotions. 
  • Engaging in meaningful daily tasks. 
  • Forging relationships with others. 
  • Feeling a sense of accomplishment. 

Based on these measures, careers in exercise and sports have it all. If you choose clinical work, you will help people achieve optimum health and play a role in their ability to return to their favorite sport or active lifestyle. Those on the management side will guide their favorite teams to victory and fulfillment.

A career in sports management might be the right choice for you if:

  • You’re interested in the business side of sports, not just the game. 
  • You’re passionate about coaching and athletics. 
  • You have an interest in sales, marketing or front office management. 
  • You have a background in athletics and want to move into administration.


Jake Magness, Manager of Stadium Operations - USA Softball

SNU Rehab and Sport Sciences student testimonialJake graduated from SNU in 2019 with a Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration.

What is your background? I was born and raised in Catoosa, Oklahoma. My life was centered and raised around sports. I’m married with one kid and work for USA Softball. 

Where has your career path led you? During the end of my courses for my master’s degree, I was the Operations Coordinator for the OKC Dodgers. 

Why pursue your degree? This program grabbed my attention. I knew I needed to take the next step in my education career to make sure that the path I was going to be taking in my life was led by educational decisions!

Why SNU? This program was right where I needed to be. The small class sizes and professor involvement was top-notch. Having this degree set me apart from the rest and has helped me succeed in my real-life career path.

A career in exercise science might be the right choice for you if:

  • You love interacting with and helping other people. 
  • You’re passionate about physical fitness or have a fitness background. 
  • You want to help people achieve their limits in human performance. 
  • You’re interested in the science of bodies, sports and exercise. 
  • You want to promote community health and well-being.

So when should you consider pursuing a master’s degree? Here are some key signs it’s time:

  • You hit a career ceiling, a promotion or new career path requires more education. 
  • You’re hoping for a career transition and need more training and education.
  • You want to start your own business and need the necessary training to practice independently. 
  • You’re trying to climb the sports corporate ladder and need more business acumen. 
  • You want a deeper understanding of health, exercise and sports to access a range of careers. 

If you have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree, SNU offers a variety of undergraduate programs. You must complete your undergraduate degree before pursuing a graduate program in Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences.

Coach and Student discussing sports management in volleyball game

What to Expect in an MSES or MASMA Program

At SNU, your sports career can follow one of two broad paths, each with many branches and career options.

The Master of Science in Exercise Science (MSES) expands the knowledge of coaches, trainers, teachers and other health and fitness workers. The Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration (MASMA) trains professionals in the world of athletics, including future executives, team managers and agents. 

The MSES Program

SNU’s Master of Science in Exercise Science program trains students to take on clinical roles as cardiac rehabilitation specialists, kinesiologists or similar experts. Some of the classes you will take include

  • Exercise and Wellness Across the Lifespan 
  • Foundations of Health 
  • Legal Principles in Wellness Management 
  • Nutrition for Sport Performance 
  • Physical Activity Epidemiology and Pathophysiology

You can choose between a Health Promotion and Wellness track and a Health and Human Performance track. Some courses in the Health Promotion and Wellness track include: 

  • Community and Cultural Health
  • Corporate Wellness and Entrepreneur Health 
  • Psychology of Health and Addictive Behaviors 

In the Health and Human Performance track, classes include: 

  • Advanced Exercise Physiology 
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription 
  • Sport Psychology

Some career paths you might consider after graduation, which may or may not require additional training or licensure in your state, include: 

  • Cardiac rehabilitation specialist
  • Kinesiologist
  • Personal trainer
  • Corrective exercise specialist 
  • Public health advocate
  • Strength and conditioning coach 
  • Wellness director

The MASMA Program 

The Master of Arts in Sports Management and Administration cultivates a deeper understanding of the role of sports and athletics in society and the business aspects of owning, operating and promoting sports teams. Some of the courses you will take include

  • Organizational Communication 
  • Professional Connections: Revenue Generation 
  • Social Issues in Sport
  • Sport Finance
  • Sport Governance and Compliance 
  • Sport Law
  • Sport Marketing

Some of the career paths you might enjoy include: 

  • Athletic director
  • Coach 
  • Event coordinator
  • Fundraising manager
  • Media relations director
  • Sports agent
  • Sports contract administrator
  • Sports entrepreneur or business owner
  • Sports executive
  • Sports lawyer (with additional legal training)
  • Sports marketer
  • Sports sponsorship manager
  • Sports team owner

How to Choose a Fulfilling Program and Career Path 

So how can you choose the right degree and career path for your needs? Try asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Am I interested in a career that might require additional training or licensure after graduation? How long will my education take? 
  • How much time do I have to devote to my education? 
  • What are my top sports interests? 
  • What does a fulfilling job look like to me? 
  • What roles have I thrived in before? How can I channel those talents into a new role? 
  • Have I worked in sports before? If so, in which areas did I excel? 
  • What feedback have I received from previous colleagues or instructors? 

SNU students go on to do great things. You might share a career path with one of these recent graduates: 

  • Jake Magnus, who started an internship with the Dodgers and went on to work with them full time. 
  • Jose Rojas, who now serves as a health promotion specialist with INTEGRIS Health.
  • Noah Truitt, who is now a cardiac rehab specialist at Oklahoma Heart Hospital South.   



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SNU online student in Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences

Find Your Career Path

Whether you’re making a career switch or attempting to grow within a field you already love, adding another responsibility can feel intimidating. You may wonder if you can juggle it all as you pursue a degree.

That’s why SNU caters to adult learners returning to school, with flexible programs that allow them to graduate quickly without sacrificing program quality. Courses are structured into a six-week format, with the option to graduate in as few as 20 months.

Choose the right rehabilitation and sport sciences program.

In terms of preparing you for a rewarding career, programs are not interchangeable. It’s crucial to choose the right degree and school for your aspirations.

Before choosing a school, ask yourself the following: 

  • How much time do I have to devote to classes? 
  • Do I prefer in-person or online learning? 
  • What financial aid resources will I need? Are there scholarships? 
  • Which accreditations are most important in my chosen field? 
  • What is the school’s graduation rate? How quickly can I graduate? 
  • What specific programs does this school offer to prepare me for the working world? 
  • What classes does this school offer, and who teaches them? What industry experience do they have?
  • Where is the school located, and can I handle the commute? 
  • How does the school foster professional connections? What career and networking support does it offer? 
  • Will my credits transfer if I leave the school? 
  • What is the school’s reputation? 
  • What must I do to complete an application, and how long is that likely to take? 

When narrowing down your degree options, consider these questions: 

  • What specific educational background do I need to thrive in my ideal career? 
  • What classes does my ideal degree offer? 
  • What areas of professional development do I most need? 
  • Am I more interested in health and fitness or the business and administrative side of sports? 
  • Do I want to interact with people every day? 
  • What aspects of my current career am I good at? How might those fit into my degree program? 
  • Has my employer indicated I need growth and development in a specific area?
SNU Rehabilitation and Sport Sciences student on baseball field with OKC Dodgers

Why Consider SNU?

Many of the skills you’ll need in the field are soft skills, such as strong communication and the ability to read people. You will begin cultivating these skills from day one at SNU. Goodman emphasizes that with small cohort sizes of just 12-15 students, students enjoy personal interactions that train them for the working world. What else sets SNU apart?

Quality Programs

Our regionally accredited programs are respected across the nation. Hospitals, sports teams and businesses routinely recruit our graduates. 

Exceptional Instruction

We hire experts in the field to teach our classes. Our professors have already held the roles you want, and bring decades of wisdom, lived experiences and a firm theoretical grounding to their work. 

Focus on Adult Learners

Adult learners juggle many roles, including parent, employee, caregiver and more. SNU has spent years developing its programs for adult learners, with a strong emphasis on flexibility and support. School doesn’t have to upend your life. 

Flexibility and Innovation

Our programs offer rolling admissions, online and evening course options, flexible scheduling and an innovative cohort model that helps you build your network from day one. We prepare students to enter into meaningful careers the day they graduate. 

Unparalleled Support

Going back to school can be difficult. We are here for you, with a supportive chaplain, comprehensive financial aid counseling and our VETS Center, which helps veterans manage the transition from soldier to civilian and student. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The world of sports is highly diverse, so your school should be too. Diversity is more than just a buzzword at SNU — it’s a moral calling and a necessary prerequisite to thrive in the real world. At SNU, every voice matters, and every student brings something unique to our community.

Few Prerequisites

You don’t need to take endless admissions tests or meet dozens of prerequisites before enrolling at SNU. We streamline the application process to include only that which is necessary. That means a faster enrollment timeline, less stress and more time to focus on everything else in your life. 

Personalized Approach

Our small programs mean you will never be lost in the crowd. You will get to know your professors and your cohort, making it easier to draw on these professional connections after graduation. 

The time to pursue your passion is now. You don’t have to choose between a meaningful career and doing what you love. We spend much of our lives at work, so make those moments count. SNU trains you to integrate your love of sports and fitness into the next few decades of your working life. 

SNU is here to help you get started.

Whatever obstacles you face, we can help. Apply now

To jumpstart your education today and get your finances in order, check out SNU’s Complete Guide to Financial Aid.

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