15 Highest Paying Jobs in Sports

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 3, 2021 | Published March 12, 2020

Updated March 3, 2021

Published March 12, 2020

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If you have a passion for sports, pursuing a job in the sports industry can lead to a rewarding and lucrative career. It's not necessary to have athletic abilities in order to pursue a career in sports. Depending on your skills and ambitions, you can consider a wide range of sports jobs. Learning about potential salaries in this field can help you set your career goals and give you something to work towards.

In this article, we’ll discuss the highest-paying sports careers to help you find the right job for you.

15 of the highest paying sports jobs

When you work in athletics, you can become anything from a professional athlete or coach to a reporter or physician. Here are 15 sports careers that pay above $30,000 annually:

  1. Sports editor

  2. Baseball coach

  3. Basketball coach

  4. Personal trainer

  5. Sports reporter

  6. Football coach

  7. Umpire

  8. General manager

  9. Athletic director

  10. Athletic scout

  11. Sports marketer

  12. Physical therapist

  13. Sports psychologist

  14. Statistician

  15. Sports physician

1. Sports editor

National average salary: $30,800 per year

Primary duties: Sports editors are journalists who focus on sports news. They work for newspapers, magazines or websites, where they write about teams, athletes and leagues. These journalists perform extensive research, interview players and coaches and write both news and opinion articles. Some sports editors write about a wide range of athletic events, while others focus on a single sport.

Educational requirements: While not always required, a degree in journalism from a four-year college can help you be more competitive in the field.

Related: How To Become a Sportswriter

2. Baseball coach

National average salary: $20.45 per hour

Primary duties: Baseball coaches are responsible for motivating their teams to perform their best. They oversee practice sessions, ensure that players develop key skills and monitor players' progress for any areas of potential improvement. They also strategize and determine who will play in upcoming games. Baseball coaches may work for teams that range from high school to Major League Baseball.

Educational requirements: Coaches come from varied educational backgrounds, but typically require a degree from a four-year college or higher in sports science, physical education or athletic coaching.

Related: How to Become a Coach

3. Basketball coach

National average salary: $21.38 per hour

Primary duties: Basketball coaches oversee team practice sessions and games. They monitor players' workout routines, track their progress and advise them about skills that need improvement. These professionals are also responsible for helping players set goals, keeping them motivated and ensuring that teams give the best possible performance in every game. Basketball coaches can work for high school, college or professional teams.

Educational requirements: Coaches come from varied educational backgrounds, but typically require a degree from a four-year college or higher in sports science, physical education or athletic coaching.

Read more: How To Become a Sports Coach

4. Personal trainer

National average salary: $21.43 per hour

Primary duties: Personal trainers guide athletes through workouts and training regimens. These professionals talk with athletes and coaches to determine their fitness goals then develop exercise routines to help athletes build muscle, increase strength or improve stamina. They may also discuss health and nutrition with athletes. Personal trainers may work for teams or individual athletes.

Educational requirements: Personal trainers often need a high school diploma to work in the field. Having an associate or bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology or physical education can help you advance in the field.

Related: Learn About Being a Personal Trainer

5. Sports reporter

National average salary: $45,200 per year

Primary duties: Sports reporters, or sports broadcasters, discuss athletes, teams, leagues and events on news outlets like television and radio networks. They use their high-level sports knowledge to provide commentary, analyze performance and predict the outcomes of upcoming games or seasons. Many sports reporters strive to create personas for themselves and develop followings so their expertise stays in demand.

Educational requirements: Sports reporters typically need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. However, larger newspapers and broadcasters may require a master’s degree in a field such as journalism. Students may want to also pursue classes related to sports to gain additional knowledge and be a more effective reporter.

Read more: Becoming a Sports Broadcaster (How To and FAQ)

6. Football coach

National average salary: $22.73 per hour

Primary duties: Football coaches help players develop their athletic skills so they can achieve peak performance. These professionals create training schedules, advise about practice methods and teach players useful skills for their sport. They also assess players' physical and mental well-being and provide support as necessary. Football coaches can guide amateur, college or professional teams.

Educational requirements: Coaches typically require a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as sports science, physical education or athletic coaching.

7. Umpire

National average salary: $22.93 per hour

Primary duties: Umpires monitor baseball games and apply rules and regulations as necessary. These professionals are experts on the rules of the sport and are responsible for both identifying when a player breaks a rule and deciding the penalty. They must maintain total concentration during a game, and they have to react to game events quickly. Although some umpires work for single teams, many travel to oversee games for a variety of teams.

Educational requirements: Umpires in professional Major League Baseball need to graduate from umpire school. There are two umpire schools in the U.S. and both are located in Florida. If you’re chosen to move forward in the process you must next complete the Minor League Baseball Advanced Course. Only a few participants from this stage are picked to move forward.

Related: How Much Do Umpires Make?

8. General manager

National average salary: $55,623 per year

Primary duties: General managers oversee team staff and handle administrative tasks for teams. They create strategic plans for drafting or contracting players, and they develop budgets for teams. They also negotiate contracts with players and their agents and advise about players' promotional pursuits. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer teams all employ general managers.

Educational requirement: Requirements of general managers vary, but at minimum, you will need to have a high-school diploma. Select institutions may require a bachelor's degree or higher in business or a related field.

Related: Learn About Being a General Manager

9. Athletic director

National average salary: $55,890 per year

Primary duties: Athletic directors are in charge of the athletic department for a high school or university. These professionals manage the department's daily operations, including setting budgets, hiring and training staff and overseeing travel arrangements. They also handle public relations and help the department maintain a positive image. Athletic directors typically need strong communication, leadership and decision-making skills to do their jobs well.

Educational requirements: Careers in sports administration often require a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sports management. Certifications such as registered athletic administrator, certified athletic administrator or certified master athletic administrator can also be pursued.

Related: How to Become an Athletic Director

10. Athletic scout

National average salary: $61,890 per year

Primary duties: Athletic scouts identify and monitor athletes who have the potential to succeed in college or professional sports. They observe as athletes work out, practice and play sports. These professionals also monitor trends, read news and talk with coaches to learn more about promising athletes. Most athletic scouts work for universities or professional sports teams, and they travel extensively to seek out the best athletes for their teams.

Educational requirements: While a formal education is not always required of athletic scouts, most scouts are former sports players or coaches with years of experience and knowledge in the sport.

11. Sports marketer

National average salary: $67,768 per year

Primary duties: Sports marketers promote teams, players, leagues and stadiums or arenas. They perform market research, draft ideas to increase interest and awareness and create strategies to meet marketing goals. Most sports marketers are responsible for increasing attendance and viewership or selling merchandise. They use a variety of media outlets, including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and social media.

Educational requirements: Sports marketers typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher in marketing, public relations, advertising or other related fields.

12. Physical therapist

National average salary: $85,672 per year

Primary duties: Physical therapists work with athletes who have sustained injuries or who are recovering from surgery. They examine athletes and develop rehabilitation plans that allow players to regain the full use of their joints and muscles. These professionals strive to help athletes move freely, reduce pain and prevent additional injuries. Physical therapists often work in training facilities, where they collaborate with physicians, trainers and coaches.

Educational requirements: At a minimum, a physical therapist needs to have a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.).

Related: Learn About Being a Physical Therapist

13. Sports psychologist

National average salary: $90,002 per year

Primary duties: Sports psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in helping athletes achieve their top performance. They develop treatment courses to help athletes rehabilitate mentally and emotionally after injuries. They also advise players about addressing anxiety and dealing with the pressure of competition. Sports psychologists often work for college or professional athletic teams, where they motivate players to do their best.

Educational requirements: A doctorate of psychology or philosophy in sports psychology and performance is recommended.

14. Sports statistician

National average salary: $94,476 per year

Primary duties: Sports statisticians, also known as sports analysts, use data to assess the chances of a range of outcomes. They collect, monitor and analyze complex datasets for players, teams and leagues. Their analyses help teams decide whether to recruit or trade athletes and whether to place certain players in their lineups. Sports statisticians typically work for college or professional teams.

Educational requirements: Sports statisticians will typically require a bachelor’s degree in math or statistics.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Sports Analyst

15. Sports physician

National average salary: $201,655 per year

Primary duties: Sports physicians are doctors who specialize in providing athletes with medical care. They use tests to diagnose patients' illnesses and injuries and develop treatment plans for patient rehabilitation. They also advise patients about health, nutrition and exercise. Sports physicians may work for professional teams, or they may treat individual athletes.

Educational requirements: Sports physicians require a doctorate of medicine, a three-year residency and a two-year fellowship.

Related: Top 10 Sports Medicine Jobs to Consider

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