Never before has athletics formed such a strong pillar of any society’s entertainment. Both in America and around the world, there exist more channels for accessing sports than ever before. From social media to fantasy sports, online environments to good old-fashioned tailgaters, love of athletics – both as doers and viewers – is only increasing.
The good news for you? If you adore sports and want to make them your reason for being, there are plenty of jobs to consider. With a sport management degree, you’ll have the necessary skills and worldview to engage in sports at almost any level and succeed. Here are just a few of your options:
Middle and High School
At this level, you can enjoy working with budding athletes as they truly begin to begin showing their potential and are still young enough to be guided and molded into future stars. In high school, rigor is increased, but so are the rewards you’ll see from your efforts. Working as an athletics coordinator or a coach at this level will vary, but $14 to $15 per hour as a starting salary is probably reasonable. As your expertise and tenure with the school build, you will earn more. You might also work as an assistant coach or production assistant, helping broadcast sporting events over TV, radio, and the Internet.
At the college level, your opportunities greatly increase. Colleges usually have more expansive facilities, with many adjunct services and centers. Think stadiums, sports clinics, athletic services departments, and training fields, where you can work one-on-one with players or help manage the finances of a facility. You might also opt to become an athletic trainer. Again, while salaries vary widely depending on what position you want to hold, trainers make on average around $46,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other possible roles include operations manager, groundskeeper or student services specialist.
The world of professional sports is huge, and with it the number of roles you might take on increases. From working directly with players and managing facilities to organizing media coverage and writing about sports, crunching numbers and predicting trends to breaking down complex concepts for public consumption – there exists endless grist for the professional sports mill. You might also find a career in public relations, bookings or youth outreach.
If you want a global perspective on athletics with the possibility of travel and exposure to other cultures, consider international sports. You might be an international talent scout, for instance, in which role you can earn more than $30,000 per year on average, or you might be an agent representing a well-known foreign player, netting more than $80,000. You can also bring your talents to cruise lines as an activities director or an advocate for underserved communities in the sports world, such as LGBTQ players.
Many private sporting academies and training companies exist. These are add-on services for athletes of any age, from high school up through professional playing levels, with the goal of helping those athletes measurably increase their game. You may work in a specific sport – football, basketball, golf, hockey, baseball, soccer, and so on – or you may be responsible for the facilities themselves. Salaries vary, though the BLS quotes operations managers as earning, on average, more than 6 figures. You might also work for yourself as a personal coach or trainer.
Working at the recreational level can relieve some of the pressure of the high-stakes college and professional worlds, while still giving you the access to athletics you crave. Whether you coach intramural teams, manage community facilities or oversee a city’s parks and recreation budget, a degree in sport management can help you get there. You might also be happy as a fitness attendant or playing a role in an organization’s marketing department. Depending on your level of experience, you can earn anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000 in roles such as these.
The Road to Sport Management
Finding the right career for your future is important. Being prepared for the opportunities that come down the road – whether it’s in sport management or some other line of work – is equally as important. But you can give yourself an edge by earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.