Sport and exercise psychologist

Sport and exercise psychologists study the mental and emotional effects of taking part in sport.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£48,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends attending events or appointments

How to become a sport and exercise psychologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need to complete:

  • a degree in psychology accredited by The British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • a BPS accredited master's degree in sport and exercise psychology
  • 2 years' structured supervised practice

You may be able to study for an approved postgraduate conversion course, if you're a graduate in a subject other than psychology or your psychology degree is not accredited by the BPS.

Competition for postgraduate training is strong. You'll need an upper second class degree or higher, and evidence of excellent research skills to apply. You'll also need relevant work experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels or equivalent

More information

More information


Professional and industry bodies

You can join The British Psychological Society for professional development opportunities.

Further information

You'll find more details about working in psychology from The British Psychological Society.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people‚Äôs reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a sports psychologist you could be:

  • working with athletes, teams, coaches and referees
  • helping athletes develop strategies to deal with nerves, anxiety, self-confidence, concentration and motivation
  • supporting athletes to deal with sports injuries
  • giving advice to coaches on team communication

As an exercise psychologist your day-to-day duties might include:

  • working in cardiac rehabilitation or GP exercise referral schemes
  • advising and counselling patients who are ill and might benefit from getting involved in regular exercise
  • working with health promotion staff to show patients the therapeutic and health benefits of exercise
  • setting up exercise programmes in workplaces, prisons and psychiatric units

Working environment

You could work at a sports arena, at a fitness centre, at a health centre, in a prison or on a sports field.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

You could work as a full-time sport psychologist, or you could combine consultancy work with teaching and research.

As an exercise psychologist, you could work for a local health authority, or on a GP exercise referral scheme. You could also evaluate exercise programmes in workplaces, prisons or psychiatric settings.

With experience and further study you could become a senior psychologist or head of a psychology department. You could also move into teaching or lecturing.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a sport and exercise psychologist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Pre-Access: Full Science

  • Start date: 22 September 2020
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Pre-Access to Science & Nursing - Part-Time

  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: King's Lynn

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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