Exercise psychology is a fascinating field that applies psychology to increase exercise participation and motivation levels in the general public. This article will delve deeper into the world of sports and exercise psychologists, exploring their role and the impact they have on athletes and individuals seeking to optimize their exercise experience.
Understanding the Role
Sport psychologists play a crucial role in various aspects of sports, from counseling referees to helping coaches build cohesion within their teams. They also assist athletes with personal development and provide support in dealing with the psychological consequences of injuries. On the other hand, exercise psychologists focus on maximizing the benefits of exercise and assist clients in implementing effective goal-setting strategies.
Where They Work
Sport and exercise psychologists have a diverse range of clients, catering to recreational, amateur, and elite levels of competition. Some work as private consultants or hold full-time positions with professional sports teams or national governing bodies. Often, they combine their consultancy work with teaching, research, or other domains such as clinical and occupational settings. Exercise psychologists may also work with individuals in contexts such as employment, prisons, and psychiatric facilities.
Becoming a Sport and Exercise Psychologist
To become a Chartered member of the society through the sport and exercise psychology training route, specific qualifications are necessary. These include a Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) achieved through a society-accredited degree or conversion course. Additionally, completing a society-accredited Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology is required. To use the title “Sport and Exercise Psychologist,” registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is necessary, involving the completion of Stage 2 of the Society’s Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology or an equivalent approved qualification.
Gaining Relevant Experience
When pursuing a career in sport and exercise psychology, it is crucial to gain relevant experience. Universities offering Masters courses usually have specific requirements. Prospective applicants can contact course tutors directly to understand the type of experience that successful applicants generally possess. Coaching, fitness and exercise instruction, and PE teaching are all beneficial experiences to have.
The pay for sport and exercise psychologists is variable and dependent on factors such as the level of athletes they work with. Those working with local level athletes may earn differently from those with contracts to work with elite sports teams. Many sport and exercise psychologists combine consultancy work with lecturing, so typical lecturer salaries may also apply.
Finding job advertisements in the field of sport and exercise psychology can be done through various channels. Some of the locations where job ads may be found include:
- Jobs in Psychology – Find Top Psychology Jobs In The UK
- The Psychologist app
- National newspapers
For individuals with a 2:2 undergraduate degree, higher qualifications such as a psychology Masters degree might be necessary to be considered by admissions tutors. The focus is on demonstrating applied research ability, so a taught MSc with an emphasis on research methods could be relevant.
Regarding funding opportunities, course organizers are the best source of information. There are several websites that offer valuable information about postgraduate funding options, such as the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), DirectGov, Learn Direct, Postgraduate studentships, and Prospects.
For additional resources and information, explore the following links:
- Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP)
- BASES: British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences
- BPS Explore – find sport & exercise psychology publications through our online shop
- Download our free Psychology Careers Guide
With a passion for understanding the human mind and a drive to help athletes and individuals realize their full potential, a career as a sports and exercise psychologist can be both rewarding and fulfilling.