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Career and Education Opportunities for Professional Athletes in Elgin, Illinois

If you want to be a professional athlete, the Elgin, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 530 working professional athletes in Illinois; this should grow by 17% to 620 working professional athletes in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for professional athletes, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.8% over the next eight years. 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. Earnings for professional athletes are better than earnings in the general category of Sports in Illinois and better than general Sports category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: bug worker, ball player, and horseman.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can study to be a professional athlete, among sixty-one schools of higher education total in the Elgin area. Professional athletes usually hold less than a high school diploma, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Elgin 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

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.

Northern Illinois University - Dekalb, IL

Northern Illinois University, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Dekalb, IL 60115-2825. Northern Illinois University is a large university located in Dekalb, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 24,397 students and an admission rate of 58%. Northern Illinois University has a bachelor's degree program in Health and Physical Education which graduated fifty-eight students in 2008.

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: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.