Sports Management Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in a sports management program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Sports Management: Degrees at a Glance

If you have a knack for marketing and business and an interest in sports, you might consider a degree in sports management. With an associate degree in the field, you are eligible for entry-level jobs in promotions, game operations, communications, sales, or general management. If you decide to earn a bachelor's degree in sports management, you could work in a management position at sports and recreation facilities or manage minor and major sports teams.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a job growth rate of 44% for meeting, convention, and event planners during 2010 through 2020, which was faster than average growth ( The BLS projected that, during this same time, advertising, promotions, and marketing manager jobs would grow at the average rate of 13%.

Associate Bachelor's
Who Is This Degree For? Individuals interested in an entry-level position in sports management Individuals seeking a managerial or higher-level sports management job
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) -Sales account executive ($27,000)*
- Event coordinator ($38,000)*
- Meeting, convention, and event planners ($46,000)**
- Marketing managers ($116,000)**
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements -Approximately 60 course credit hours
-Approximately 120 course credit hours
-Field test
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED - High school diploma or GED
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: * (May 2012 statistics), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate Degree in Sports Management

The curriculum of an associate degree in sports management provides an overview of the sports industry as well as what it takes to plan events and manage sports professionals. Many programs also teach marketing, administration, and sales. Graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs in sports management and will likely be able to advance in their careers after gaining experience.

Pros and Cons


  • Degree prepares you to work in a wide range of jobs within the sports and fitness industry
  • After graduation, you might have the opportunity to work with individuals or entire teams
  • Prepares you to enter the workforce after only two years of study


  • Degree does not ensure employment; this is a competitive field and it might be difficult to begin a career in the specific sector of the industry in which you are interested
  • May compete with bachelor's degree holders for the same jobs
  • Will likely require experience to advance in your career

Common Courses and Requirements

Because an associate degree in sports management prepares you for a diverse range of jobs within the industry, the curriculum of these programs usually ensures that you develop solid skills in a range of areas. Usually, you learn about business, accounting, management, marketing, and planning. You also learn about human communication and behavior, which helps you express your ideas and understand how decisions are made in the industry.

Online Degree Options

Associate degrees in sports management are available online. Some programs offer courses online but require that you complete a few requirements on-campus. Additionally, you will likely need to complete any internship requirements in person. In general, online programs have the same curriculum as on-campus programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Keeping up with how technology affects the field might keep you ahead of the rest of the pack. In a sports management job, you might use computer programs to keep track of money, events, or people. General education or elective courses in computer use, database systems, or spreadsheet creation could teach you how to use these programs.

Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management

With a bachelor's degree in sports management, you may be eligible for job positions like golf course manager, aquatics director, marketing manager, or event planner. Some sports management programs are part of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree program, while others are offered as a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management. The former type of degree might serve you well if you plan to take the marketing manager route in your career, and the latter if you are interested in a career in which you are more involved in fitness and recreation.

Pros and Cons


  • Degree may qualify you for more jobs even though you lack experience
  • You may be able to specialize your degree in a certain fitness area
  • You may be involved in market research during your studies, which is a valuable skill that could make you more attractive to employers


  • Degree leads to a high-stress career in which you may have to adhere to strict deadlines
  • Your job may require a lot of responsibility overseeing other people and making sure they complete their work
  • Unusual work hours, such as evenings and weekends, might be required

Courses and Requirements

The type of courses in your program depends on the major of your degree. The amount and type of business and fitness classes, for example, differ depending on whether you pursue a degree in business administration or fitness. However, most programs include an internship regardless of major. Courses you might complete in a bachelor's degree program include accounting, economics, sport, event and facility management, writing, aspects of fitness, psychology, and sociology.

Online Degree Options

Online degrees in sports management are available. Courses and other requirements of these online programs are usually the same as their in-person counterparts. Note, however, that when attending an online program you will likely need to complete any practicums or internship requirements in person.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider completing courses in statistics. Information gleaned from relevant sports statistics can be used as the foundation for managerial decisions. Knowing how to gather and analyze statistical data may make you more attractive to employers.

Also consider completing a course in using spreadsheets or other computer applications. Being knowledgeable about how to use technology as it pertains to sports management can help you stand out against your competition.

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