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Career and Education Opportunities for Professional Athletes in Chicago, Illinois

Professional athlete career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. About 530 people are currently employed as professional athletes in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 17% to about 620 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for professional athletes are expected to grow by about 11.8%. In general, professional athletes compete in athletic events.

The average wage in the general category of Sports jobs is $19,790 per year in Illinois, and an average of $30,850 per year nationwide. Compared with people working in the overall category of Sports, people working as professional athletes in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Sports nationally. People working as professional athletes can fill a number of jobs, such as: soccer player, golf professional, and house player.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a professional athlete. The most common level of education for professional athletes is less than a high school diploma. It will take only a short time to learn to be a professional athlete if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Professional Athlete

Professional Athlete video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, professional athletes compete in athletic events.

Professional athletes assess performance following athletic competition, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and making adjustments to further optimize future performance. They also maintain equipment used in a particular sport. Equally important, professional athletes have to participate in athletic events and competitive sports, in line with established rules and regulations. They are often called upon to attend scheduled practice and training sessions. They are expected to receive instructions from coaches and other sports staff before events, and consider their performance afterwards. Finally, professional athletes represent teams or professional sports clubs, performing such efforts as meeting with members of the media or participating in charity events.

Every day, professional athletes are expected to be able to do heavy work over long periods of time. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for professional athletes to lead teams by serving as captains. They are often called upon to exercise and practice under the direction of athletic trainers or professional coaches, in order to optimize skills, improve physical condition, and get ready for competitions. They also maintain optimum physical fitness levels by training regularly, following nutrition plans, and consulting with health professionals. They are sometimes expected to represent teams or professional sports clubs, performing such efforts as meeting with members of the media or participating in charity events. Somewhat less frequently, professional athletes are also expected to assess performance following athletic competition, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and making adjustments to further optimize future performance.

And finally, they sometimes have to exercise and practice under the direction of athletic trainers or professional coaches, in order to optimize skills, improve physical condition, and get ready for competitions.

Like many other jobs, professional athletes must believe in cooperation and coordination and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Athletic Scout. Instruct or coach groups or individuals in the fundamentals of sports. Demonstrate techniques and methods of participation. May evaluate athletes' strengths and weaknesses as possible recruits or to improve the athletes' technique to prepare them for competition. Those required to hold teaching degrees should be reported in the appropriate teaching category.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Professional Athlete Training

Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

Trinity Christian College, 6601 W College Dr, Palos Heights, IL 60463-0929. Trinity Christian College is a small college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,404 students and an admission rate of 94%. Trinity Christian College has a bachelor's degree program in Health and Physical Education.

DePaul University - Chicago, IL

DePaul University, 55 E Jackson, Chicago, IL 60604. DePaul University is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 22,554 students. DePaul University has a bachelor's degree program in Health and Physical Education.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a less than one year program in Health and Physical Education which graduated eight students in 2008.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has an associate's degree program in Health and Physical Education which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Health and Physical Education which graduated fourteen and one students respectively in 2008.

North Park University - Chicago, IL

North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625-4895. North Park University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,255 students and an admission rate of 30%. North Park University has a bachelor's degree program in Health and Physical Education.

CERTIFICATIONS

AFAA Challenge Exam: Any AFAA Certification may be challenged, however, it is recommended that you attend the preparatory workshop for that certification offered prior to the exams (Primary, Step, KickBoxing - 1 or 2 days, Personal Fitness Trainer - 3 days).

For more information, see the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America website.

USDF Certified Instructor: The USDF Instructor Certification Program is designed to educate dressage instructors and aspiring instructors who demonstrate the knowledge and abilities necessary to teach the classical concepts of dressage and meet specified proficiency standards.

For more information, see the United States Dressage Federation website.

LICENSES

JOCKEY

Licensing agency: Illinois Racing Board
Address: 100 West Randolph, Suite 7-701, Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-2600
Website: Illinois Racing Board

JOCKEY, APPRENTICE

Licensing agency: Illinois Racing Board
Address: 100 West Randolph, Suite 7-701, Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-2600
Website: Illinois Racing Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.