A Certified Performance and Sport Scientist helps organizations validate their performance practices by gathering and assessing empirical evidence. The CPSS is a highly knowledgeable individual, supporting athletic performance and organizational success. When hiring a sport scientist, first understand the role, responsibilities, and career trajectories.
Professionals holding the CPSS certification add value at universities, sport organizations, and within tactical training units. They contribute to organizational success as performance analysts, technology specialists, collaborators, department leaders, and administrators. You may also find CPSS professionals serving on product development teams for wearable technology, athletic apparel, and footwear companies.
CPSS professionals drive innovation at their institutions. Hiring a CPSS will support injury prevention and athlete safety while improving the quality and supervision of performance programs.
Academic preparation and professional experience are valued qualities in the sport scientist role, which involves complex technical and analytical work. The skillset for the sport scientist represents four levels of responsibility within the sport science department. While allied specialists like data scientists can contribute to sport science initiatives, resources should prioritize the growth of dedicated sport scientist roles.
While statistics for applied sport science careers are scarce, nearly every professional and many collegiate athletic programs now have dedicated sport science roles or departments — indicating the discipline’s growth. The NSCA is on the forefront in supporting this growth with pioneering credentials and educational resources for the Certified Performance and Sport Scientist (CPSS).
In 2022, the NSCA published results from a salary survey for strength and conditioning coaches. While a similar survey has not yet been completed for emerging sport scientist roles in the US, international salary ranges for sport scientists, have been reported between $26,000-$79,000 (adjusted to US currency) in the UK dependent upon experience level. Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) released an Accredited Sport Science Salary Guide in 2021, with salary ranges from accredited recent graduates to senior leadership roles between $52,000-$89,000+ (adjusted to US currency). In the US, ZipRecruiter, as of March 2022, lists the average Sport Scientist Salary at $66,538 with top earners bringing in $124,500 per year. Simplyhired.com and Glassdoor.com reports average salaries for sport science jobs at $74,590, and $81,725 per year, respectively. *Data and currencies for this description were collected from the linked sources in March of 2022.
Sport Science Intern/Trainee
This may include roles such as apprentice, intern, or junior analyst.
Typical Experience: Senior in college, or recent college graduate
Sport Science Coordinator
The coordinator level represents full-time staff roles within an athletic or performance department.
Typical Experience: 1-6 years
Director of Performance and Sports Science
This role is the senior research scientist of an athletic or performance department.
Typical Experience: 7+ years
Senior Director of Athletic Performance
This senior administrator oversees multiple sport science related areas within an athletic or performance department.
Typical Experience: 10+ years
Use these sample job descriptions as a starting point for creating a job description that is appropriate for your situation.
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