Working in Sports (With Benefits and Career Opportunities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're an athlete or have an interest in a particular sport, you can consider exploring career opportunities in the sports industry. Working in the sports industry may allow you to build relationships with different professionals such as coaches, agents, marketers, and psychologists. As a result, understanding the variety of career opportunities available to people interested in sports can help you choose a viable career path. In this article, we discuss working in sports, review the necessary qualifications, explore the benefits of working in this industry, and provide some available career paths in the sports industry.

What does working in sports mean?

Working in sports refers to building a career in any area of the sports industry, including management, recruitment, and marketing. It's important to note that the sports industry is vast, and professionals in this industry may perform various duties. Typically, working in the sports industry involves being athletes and coaches, but a career in sports may include becoming a sports journalist, psychologist, event planner, or agent.

Related: Top 12 Highest Paid Sports Careers In Canada

Necessary qualifications to work in sports

The requirements to work in the sports industry may vary depending on the profession, employer, and location. Most employers and institutions may require to complete an undergraduate program, although it may not be necessary to major in sports, physical education, or sports management. For example, if you want to pursue a career in sports marketing, you may earn a bachelor's degree in communications, marketing, or advertising.

Similarly, if you want to become a sports psychologist, you can get an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology or clinical counselling. It's important to consider the area you want to specialize in, research the basic educational requirements, and review the profession's standards to help you succeed in the industry.

Benefits of pursuing a career in sports

Here are some of the benefits of working in the sports industry:

  • Relationships with athletes, coaches, and fans: If you have a strong passion for sports, you may want to surround yourself with like-minded professionals and work closely with fans. Working in the sports industry provides you with access to world-class athletes and coaches and may allow you to build personal relationships with them.

  • Access to professional training: Professional athletes typically have access to state-of-the-art training facilities and progressive training techniques. Similarly, professionals who work with them may also have access to these resources and opportunities to travel with athletes, which may help them improve their personal lives.

  • Development of transferrable skills and professional experience: The opportunities in the sports industry may equip with extensive professional experience and provide transferrable skills that may be beneficial outside the sports industry. For instance, if you worked with professional athletes as a psychologist, you can transition into the educational sector as a clinical researcher.

Available career opportunities in sports

Here are some career opportunities available to you if you want to work in the sports industry:

1. Sports writer

National average salary: $29.15 per hour

Primary duties: A sports writer is an individual who writes about different sporting events for columns in magazines, newspapers, or blogs. They may include their personal opinions in their articles about the players' performances and the game's outcome. These professionals watch and attend sporting events and games and build relationships with teams, athletes, managers, and other professionals. It may be beneficial for sports writers to familiarize themselves with journalistic standards, possess excellent written and oral communication skills, and understand the rules and regulations of the sports they want to discuss.

2. Referee

National average salary: $22.64 per hour

Primary duties: A referee is a sporting official that officiates sporting events to make sure athletes obey the game's rules and adhere to the safety guidelines. They also explain and enforce standards of the game and signal the start and end of an event. Referees can also pause an event to assess sporting equipment to ensure they meet the minimum standard or examine an athlete's injury. Referees also record the game's events, such as the scoreline and take disciplinary actions such as awarding penalties against coaches and players that don't follow the rules.

Related: How to Become a Referee (With Responsibilities and Skills)

3. Personal trainer

National average salary: $29.73 per hour

Primary duties: Personal trainers create personalized fitness plans for their clients to help them improve their flexibility, strength, and overall fitness, depending on the client's fitness goals. These individuals may work with athletes to help them prepare for an event, maintain and develop their skills during the offseason, and help them return to fitness after an injury. Personal trainers may work for teams or individuals depending on their expertise, the sports, and location.

4. Exercise physiologist

National average salary: $31.42 per hour

Primary duties: Exercise physiologists are healthcare professionals who create exercise plans based on an athlete's medical history to help them improve their performance, recover from injuries, or increase their flexibility. They also support athletes with chronic physical issues and help improve their cardiovascular functions. Exercise physiologist applies their knowledge and training to educate athletes and communicate with other professionals to help optimize an individual's athletic capabilities and prevent injuries.

Related: 10 Lucrative Sports Medicine Jobs in the Health Sector

5. Sports agent

National average salary: $19.20 per hour

Primary duties: A sports agent works with professional athletes and coaches to help them conduct business operations and deals, handle contract negotiations, maintain a good public image, and navigate events. These professionals help players and coaches manage the business aspects of their careers, such as the team a player signs for and organizing their finances. Agents also help athletes diversify their revenue streams by investing in alternative income sources such as brand endorsements, sponsorships, and deals. It's important to note that agents are typically responsible for recruiting their clients and selecting the athletes they want to represent.

6. Athletic director

National average salary: $56,174 per year

Primary duties: An athletic director is an individual who manages and oversees the sports program of an institution or school. These individuals are responsible for hiring and training new coaches and sports staff and promoting the institution's sporting events such as meets, games, and matches. They may also collaborate with other schools and institutions to organize events and create initiatives to help fund the athletics department. Athletic directors perform administrative functions and provide support and guidance for student-athletes. They ensure to keep up with new regulations and policies regarding athletes' eligibility to compete in events and tournaments at different levels.

7. Sports broadcaster

National average salary: $48.41 per hour

Primary duties: Sports broadcasters share their opinions and perspectives with the viewing or listening audience throughout an event. They can broadcast their commentary on television, radio, online, or live during the event or game. The broadcasters aim to entertain the audience and highlight important moments, and special occurrences during the occasion. They may research the teams and statistics before the game to help acquaint themselves with the players, team histories, and reputations of the coaches and players. These professionals may also research and discuss recent developments related to the sports they're covering, such as trades and transfers.

8. Promoter

National average salary: $22.26 per hour

Primary duties: The responsibilities of a promoter in the sports industry may vary depending on the event. They may manage local, national, or international sporting events. Promoters typically visit or choose the event's venue, manage the advertising and marketing, create budgets, and estimate the event's attendance and revenue. These professionals may spend months organizing and preparing for an event. This is because a sporting event may include other aspects such as business activities that may require independent planning, registration income, and sponsorship.

9. Physical therapist

National average salary: $40.36 per hour

Primary duties: A physical therapist is a medical personnel who helps clients recover from injuries, increase mobility, and develop fitness plans to help maintain their health and fitness. These professionals work with athletes during rehabilitation to help them recover from long-term or severe professional accidents. In addition, physical therapists may conduct tests to assess a patient's condition and provide preventive care based on a client's medical history.

Read more: How to Become a Sports Therapist (With Salary Expectations)

10. Sports psychologist

National average salary: $56.53 per hour

Primary duties: A sports psychologist works with athletes to help support their emotional and mental health, especially duration the difficult moments in their careers. During their rehabilitation, they typically help athletes and professionals if a long-term injury affects them. They also help them work through the pressure associated with fame, performing at the highest level, or performance anxiety from a major event. Psychologists may work as an individual contractors or an employee for a sports organization.

11. Athletic scout

National average salary: $48,284 per year

Primary duties: An athletic scout is a professional who discovers and identifies athletes with the potential to succeed in college or professional sports. These individuals pay attention to young athletes who work out, practise, and participate in minor and major events. They also monitor trends and inquire about promising individuals from their coaches. Scouts typically work for professional sports organizations or colleges and may travel across the country to find the best talents for their teams.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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