Careers in Sports Management
Careers in sports management can include business positions managing the sports organization and jobs working directly with professional or amateur athletes. See the table below for a quick look at the careers in this field.
|Coach||Sports Marketing Manager||Athletic Trainer|
|Career Overview||Coaches help amateur and professional athletes develop the skills to play a sport.||Sports marketing managers develop marketing campaigns to promote teams and athletic events.||Athletic trainers prevent, diagnose and treat bone and muscle injuries in individuals, including professional athletes.|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Program Length||Four years||Four years||Four years|
|Certification and Licensing||Certification required for employment in some schools||None||Certification and licensing is required in most states|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||Faster-as-average growth (6%) compared to all occupations*||Faster-than-average growth (9%) compared to all occupations*||Faster-than-average growth (21%) compared to all occupations*|
|Median Salary (2014)||$30,640*||$127,130*||$43,370*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Coaches help athletes develop the skills to play sports competitively. The coach works with all the players on a team, schedules practices and determines the strategy for games or competitions. Coaches evaluate the skills of all the players on a team and develop conditioning programs to help them overcome their weaknesses and take advantage of their strengths.
There are no formal requirements for coaches, but those working with universities and colleges are usually required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. High school coaches may also be required to hold teacher's credentials to coach the school's teams. Degree programs for coaches include sports science, nutrition, physical education and sports medicine. High schools, colleges and universities may require coaches to obtain certification, which often entails certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Below are some examples of coaching positions available in December 2012:
- A university in Washington is looking for a head coach for its women's volleyball team. The coach will schedule and conduct practices, coach in games, evaluate players and develop game strategies. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, but the school prefers candidates with a master's degree. In addition, applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience as a college coach.
- An Illinois university is searching for a head coach for its bowling team. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum of three years of experience as a bowling coach.
- A California high school is searching for a coach to oversee the school's swim team. The head coach position requires the individual to manage administrative and coaching duties for the team. Applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma, but the school prefers applicants with a bachelor's degree and five to eight years of experience as a swim coach.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that coaches who specialize in girls' sports and women's sports were expected to have stronger job prospects than those who coach men's sports. As such, you might consider focusing your career on women's sports. Additionally, rather than seeking head coach positions, you may want to start your job search by pursuing assistant coaching positions. This is because, as the BLS reports, coaches often gain extensive experience as assistant coaches before advancing to mid- and upper-level coaching positions.
Sports Marketing Manager
Sports marketing professionals develop pricing strategies and campaigns to promote a sports organization. Marketing managers work with advertising, public relations and promotions professionals to increase product and ticket sales. They also analyze trends in the industry to identify products and events that will appeal to the public.
Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree for an entry-level marketing manager position. You could qualify for this position by earning your undergraduate degree in marketing or advertising, though some colleges and universities offer sports management programs that may help prepare you for this career. Sports marketing managers also tend to have experience in the field ranging from one to five years. This experience may be in the form of an advertising specialist or another entry-level role.
Below are examples of sports marketing positions available in December 2012:
- A Connecticut advertising firm is looking for entry-level sports marketing professionals. Applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma, but professionals with a degree in sports management, marketing, advertising, communications, business administration or public relations may qualify.
- A sports marketing firm in Virginia is searching for an entry-level sports marketing professional to provide customer service and marketing services to the agency's clients. Applicants must have a minimum of a two-year degree and strong communication skills to qualify for the position.
- A Pennsylvania sports marketing firm is looking for an entry-level sports marketing professional with at least a high school diploma and a professional image.
The BLS points out that the growing prevalence of online advertising will result in an increased need for marketing managers with strong Web skills. As such, you might gain an edge over the competition by learning graphic design or photo imaging software, such as products in the Adobe suite. These professionals also commonly use analytical software and customer relationship management software. Additionally, taking public speaking courses during college can help you project a confident and professional public image when applying for sports marketing positions.
Athletic trainers work with athletes at all levels to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries. Trainers work under the direction and supervision of a team physician. They may perform administrative tasks such as writing reports on player injuries, managing budgets and purchasing equipment and supplies to treat players.
Trainers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in athletic training. Such programs include coursework in anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition and physiology, and they're comprised of both in-class and clinical components. The BLS reports that most states require certification through the Board of Certification, Inc. and state licensure to practice as an athletic trainer.
Below are some examples of athletic trainer positions available in December 2012:
- A university in New York is looking for an athletic trainer to work in the employer's orthopedics and rehabilitation department. Applicants must have a degree in athletic training and certification in New York.
- An Indiana hospital is seeking an athletic trainer to provide emergency care, education and injury prevention programs. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, an Indiana license as an athletic trainer, certification from the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) and CPR certification to qualify for the position.
- An Indiana healthcare system is searching for an athletic trainer to provide preventative, emergency and rehabilitative services to individuals and athletes. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in athletic training, an Indiana license, certification from the NATA and athletic trainer certification from the Board of Certification, Inc.
While a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for entry into this profession, the BLS notes that many athletic trainers also have master's degrees. You might consider earning a graduate degree in athletic training to increase your chances of employment. Additionally, particularly if your state doesn't require certification for employment, you could demonstrate your dedication to the field by earning voluntary certification through the NATA. This association offers the Athletic Trainer designation to candidates who've completed accredited athletic trainer programs and passed a certification exam.