Finding a Job

Frequently Asked Questions About Working in Sports

August 26, 2021

If you're an athlete or have a passion for a particular sporting event, you may be interested in pursuing a career in sports. Working in this industry can allow you to interact with a variety of professionals, including individuals in marketing, psychology and coaching. Understanding the different job opportunities available to professionals interested in sports can help you determine which role might be the right fit for you. In this article, we review what working in sports is, what qualifications you need to work in this industry, the potential benefits of these roles and a list of jobs to pursue.

What is working in sports?

Working in sports involves finding a career related to any aspect of the sports industry, including recruitment, marketing and management. Professionals in this industry may perform a wide variety of professional duties, as the roles in this field can differ. While working in sports may apply to athletes, a job in the sports industry can also include becoming a sporting event planner, a sports psychologist or an athletic trainer and coach. In addition to training and caring for athletes, a career in sports may involve writing about their professional accomplishments or advertising merchandise for a particular team or player.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Find in Sports Marketing

What qualifications do you need to work in sports?

The qualifications to work in sports may differ depending on your profession, location and employer. Many institutions and organizations may require a bachelor's degree, although your major can focus on something other than sports or sports management. For example, if you're interested in pursuing a career in sports marketing, you may benefit from earning a degree in advertising, marketing or communications.

Alternatively, if you're seeking a job as a sports psychologist, you can consider a master's degree in clinical counseling and psychology. If you're interested in pursuing a career in this industry, consider your area of specialization and review the educational requirements and standards for those professionals.

Where can I work in sports?

Because of the diversity of professions and positions you can pursue when working in sports, you may be able to find a career in this industry around the country. If you're interested in working with athletes who play for a particular team or writing about players for a specific sport, consider moving to a location where this is possible. For example, if you're interested in working as a sports broadcaster and have a passion for hockey, you may consider moving to a state where this sport is popular.

What are the benefits of working in sports?

There are many benefits to pursuing a career in sports, such as:

  • Connections with coaches, athletes and fans: If you're passionate about sports, you may find it thrilling to surround yourself with other like-minded fans or work closely with professional athletes. Working in this industry can give you access to well-known players and coaches, and may allow you to interact with them firsthand.
  • Access to professional training: Just as professional athletes may have access to the most progressive and up-to-date training, those working with them or alongside them may also have access to resources that can further their professional development. In this industry, you may also have travel opportunities and exposure to a variety of training programs.
  • Development of transferrable professional experience: Many careers in sports can provide you with transferrable skills and extensive professional experience that may help you with job opportunities in the future. For example, a sports psychologist may be able to pursue clinical research for a university after working with professional athletes.

Related: Becoming a Sports Broadcaster (How To and FAQs)

What are jobs working in sports?

Here's a list of ten jobs working in sports for you to consider:

National average salary: $30,664 per year

Primary duties: Sports writers are professionals who write about sporting events for journalistic columns in newspapers or magazines. Their articles may include some of their own opinions in their writing as they relate to the outcome of the game and the performance of the athletes. These individuals are responsible for watching or attending a variety of games and familiarizing themselves with the team members. This means that sports writers may benefit from being familiar with journalistic standards, possessing strong written communication skills and being familiar with the rules and regulations of the sports they discuss.

National average salary: $35,143 per year

Primary duties: A referee is an athletic official who oversees sporting events to ensure that all players are abiding by the correct rules and safety guidelines. They may enforce and explain the standards of the game, signal the beginning and the end of an event and pause the game in order to assess a player's injury or examine the condition of sports equipment. They can also keep a record of how many periods of a game or match occur and take disciplinary action, such as administering a penalty, against players who don't adhere to the rules of the sport.

National average salary: $35,467 per year

Primary duties: A personal trainer is responsible for providing customized fitness plans for their clients in order to improve their strength, flexibility and overall fitness. These professionals may work closely with athletes to prepare them for a game or match and maintain their abilities throughout their sports' offseason. They may assist their clients with meeting their fitness goals and improving their form or stamina. They may work for teams or individual athletes depending on the sport, their location and the extent of their expertise.

Read more: Learn About Being a Personal Trainer

National average salary: $35,719 per year

Primary duties: An exercise physiologist is a healthcare professional who reviews athletes' medical histories and creates exercise plans in order to help them recover from athletic injuries or improve their performance and flexibility. They may also be able to provide athletes with support as they handle chronic physical issues or increase their cardiovascular functions. These may use their extensive knowledge and training to communicate with athletes and other medical professionals in order to optimize their athletic capabilities while preventing injuries.

Read more: Learn About Being an Exercise Physiologist

National average salary: $53,391 per year

Primary duties: Sports agents represent a variety of professional athletes and coaches to help them handle business deals or operations, address contract negotiations and navigate public relations appearances and events. They're typically involved in helping members of sports teams manage their careers, including signing team contracts and organizing their finances. They may also pursue alternative sources of income for their clients, such as brand deals, sponsorships and endorsements. These individuals are usually responsible for recruiting their own clients and identifying the sports professionals they're interested in representing.

National average salary: $57,415 per year

Primary duties: An athletic director is a professional who oversees and manages sports programs for a school or institution. They're responsible for hiring and training incoming staff members and coaches and promoting athletic games, matches and meets. They may also coordinate with other schools and universities to schedule sporting events and create fundraising initiatives for the athletic department. Athletic directors may provide support and guidance to student-athletes and address any administrative challenges or issues. These professionals may also remain informed regarding current policies and regulations involving athletes' ability to take part in tournaments, matches or games.

National average salary: $58,152 per year

Primary duties: Sports broadcasters are responsible for sharing their perspective and opinions for a sports audience throughout the duration of the event. They may broadcast their commentary online, on television, on the radio and live in the stadium as the game or match takes place. Their objective is to entertain the audience of a sporting event and highlight crucial moments or unique occurrences throughout the occasion. Before the event, they may research game statistics, learn about the history of the teams or players and review sports news stories to familiarize themselves with the reputations of the coaches, players and teams.

National average salary: $66,058 per year

Primary duties: A promoter in the sports industry may have different professional duties depending on the event. They may oversee smaller events such as local 5-K races or national games and matches, including the Super Bowl. These professionals may be responsible for visiting and choosing venues, managing marketing and advertising, creating event budgets and forecasting attendance and revenues. They may dedicate several months to organizing and arranging a single event. This is because sporting events can include business activities that require sponsorship, registration income and extensive planning. Promoters may also oversee post-event tasks.

National average salary: $81,852 per year

Primary duties: Physical therapists are medical professionals who help their patients with increasing their mobility, recovering from injuries and developing fitness plans to ensure the longevity of their health and fitness. They may work with athletes to help them recover from professional accidents. Physical therapists perform tests in order to assess their patients' physical condition and consider the clinical history of the people they work with in order to provide preventative care. By helping others enhance their functional and physical capabilities, they can allow athletes to improve their performance.

Read more: Learn About Being a Physical Therapist

National average salary: $94,773 per year

Primary duties: Sports psychologists work closely with their clients to help them support them with their mental and emotional health throughout the duration of their careers. These professionals can assist athletes and coaches through the recovery process if they're impacted by an injury or help them handle the pressure that may come with being a professional and well-known person in the sports industry. They may work with clients who have anxiety from the pressure of athletic competition and can work for individuals or entire teams.


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