Contrary to the popular belief, you can build a successful career in the sports industry even if you are not an athlete or a person who has certain athletic experience. You can always show your support for the sports industry by offering certain physical assistance or professional mental help, which is vital for those who are competing and facing both victories and the times when things are not going the right way. Then we always have the field of sports marketing, design, advertisement, coaching, and the sales aspect that deals with the sports equipment, tournaments, various advertisement challenges, and more. Let us not forget about such amazing sports career opportunities as being a radio or TV host, sports writer, or journalist dealing with the promotion of sports. The opportunities are virtually endless, which makes it important to explore your chances and build a successful career!
Types of Sports Careers to Consider
Here are some options that will fit various fields of education, which means that if you study healthcare, psychology, or nutrition, you can use it as the professional background to succeed in sports:
Fitness Management / Coordination Careers
It may include the responsibilities of the fitness program coordinator, fitness director, or therapeutic recreation director positions among others. If you choose to earn a Master's or Bachelor's degree as the Fitness Program Coordinator, your median salary will be around $45,682 but may be higher if you consider private fitness centers, business outlets, or hotels. The Fitness Director may earn between $24,874 and $65,305 and your duties may revolve around YMCA, colleges, and hotels. Finally, a therapeutic recreation director may consider earning up to $68,305, but it will include assisted work at the living environments, nursing homes, health recovery centers, and hospitals.
Sports & Fitness Coordinator may earn the median of $37,099 or higher even working at the various NGOs or YMCA branches. Finally, if you do not mind corporate hospitals or private practices, consider the career of the wellness manager with a median salary of $55,525.
You can consider high school coaching, which will require a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. You will also have to pass a background check and drug tests. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your annual wage will start at $33,570.
Now if your educational background is in Athletic Coaching or Sports Science, you can think about the career of a college sports coach. It is one of the most prestigious and high-paid jobs with the average salary being $53,670. The reported salaries of NCAA football coaches usually start from $225,000. Of course, professional top coaches (non-college) may earn up to $8 million a year as many of you might already know!
General Sports Management
In simple terms, it deals with all the business and marketing challenges. The responsibilities include handling various negotiations, advertisements, contracts, legal issues, and trade deals. The GMs often act as the scouts at colleges by seeking talented players. One must have a passion for sport and be strong-willed. The average salary will start at $112,200, yet it will always change depending on the sport and your duties.
It will include the roles of sports announcer and/or commentator with the work on live radio or TV. You can also host a sports show online, which is also a good option. Do not forget about the possibility of becoming a sportswriter or a sports blogger, which might be more applicable for the younger generation. If you want to get serious about sports journalism, think about starting as the Assignment Editor or Associate Producer for sports programs or news reports.
The Field of Sports Marketing
It may include the role of being an Account Coordinator, Event Coordinator, or Public Relations Assistant, which will work both in the PR department or while you are being employed at some college. If you are good with finances or have an economical academic background, think about the Inside Sales Department Representative's job.
As the title implies, it may deal with various healthcare-related positions and requires getting the Board Certification in Sports Medicine. Some positions to consider: Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Athletic Trainer, Exercise Physiologist, or Kinesiotherapist. Of course, you can always work as a sports nurse (Sports Medicine Nurse). At the same time, do not forget about high chances to get employed as a Sports Physical Therapist or Sports Nutritionist.
If you do not mind combining Psychology, Science, and Sports, consider the career of the Academic Sports Psychologist (schools and colleges), Clinical Sports Psychologist (dealing with mental illnesses), or Applied Sports Psychologist (teaching the athletes).
Women In Sports Careers
It is high time to break down the stereotypes and prejudice regarding women in sports. As a matter of fact, many things have changed after the TITLE IX law that has been issued in 1972. At last, women could pursue many careers in sports that they would not be able to think of before. This law states that "no person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance". Here are five of the most popular sports careers considered by females:
This position stands for preventative services, emergency care, clinical work, and various types of rehabilitation of athletes and sports teams. Joining a college or university in the United States, you can earn up to $46,860 or higher, depending on your education and sport chosen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job trainers will receive more opportunities in the 2021-2022 period.
College Athletics Director
Your task here is to oversee the work of college coaches and staff in various athletic activities. You will have to provide a graduate degree and have strong business management and leadership background. According to the Payscale Salary website, the median salary in this sector is quite competitive at $105,320.
One of the most popular positions, which will fit every aspiring female who would like to study coaching and focus on being an assistant for the head coach even. Currently, the majority of college coaches nationwide earn between $25,000 and $2 million if the team competes in one of the college or national championships.
Sportswriter / Broadcast Journalist
Do not forget about various opportunities related to sports media, various leagues, and becoming an online video or text blogger. It is one of the most high-earning sports positions where you can show creativity and strive for standing out. Moreover, it is also a great chance to earn an internship, which we shall discuss in a bit.
It must be said right away that salaries in this particular field start from $20,000 and up to $1 million in major league sports. It includes the PR sector, advertising, broadcasting duties, sales, accounting, and management, which is something to consider if you are confident and have great management skills.
Why Sports Internships Must Be Considered?
The best way for non-athletes to start a career in the field of sports can be achieved with the help of a successful internship. Remember that even before you start seeking some opportunities, the majority of sports careers already include certain internship programs that are cleverly integrated as part of a curriculum. As you hold on to your internship experience, you also get the chance to learn valuable skills that will help you with finding the right jobs in the sports industry. Most importantly, earning an internship is your chance to connect with the professionals in the relevant field, talk to athletes, coaches, and secure a solid position in the industry by showing your knowledge and skills.
As you are looking for internships for non-athletes, consider:
- Have a great plan! Although many people believe that writing a resume letter will work wonders, it is not the best way when dealing with the sports industry. You should look into various organizations that provide internship opportunities or talk directly to the people in your chosen sector. Consider sports agents, coaches, even players.
- Know how to advertise yourself! It is a competitive field, which is why you should always stand out and know how to sell your skills in a certain way. Add some extras, provide examples of your work and be the one who does things differently and knows how to be positive and think outside the box.
- Start networking! Turn to social media for help, try to establish some contacts that may be helpful, ask around, and attend the sports events. You never know what might work for you! Do not put things off and start applying early!
While each sport will have some specific rules, you can consider:
- Basketball: NBA Internship Program.
- Football: NFL Junior Rotational Program.
- Hockey: MSG Sports & MSG Media.
- Baseball: MLB Diversity Fellowship Internship.
- Soccer: United Soccer League Internship or USA Sport Group Management Internship.
Make sure to check the opportunities for your specific program as well!
The List of Useful Sports Resources
Here are some resources to consider for your career in sport:
- Sports Marketing Association. It provides valuable data for sports practitioners, academics, researchers, athletes, and students wishing to connect their lives with sports marketing.
- The Society of Health and Physical Educators. While it is mostly school-based, it has great professional development programs, resources, and scholarships.
- NFL Internship Program. Consider it for those high-paid jobs in the industry and the network-building chances.
- National Collegiate Athletic Association. It is dedicated to student-athletes in Division I, II, and III and has enough information to help you get started.
- National Athletic Trainers' Association. Also known as NATA, it provides information for the future and current athletic trainers. It also has a great Career Finder Center.
- Association for Women in Sports Media. It is an amazing international organization worth checking for female athletic careers and non-athlete jobs as well.
- Association for Applied Sport Psychology. It offers certification opportunities and has good resources on health psychology.
- American Sports Medicine Institute. Consider this NGO for information and fellowship opportunities to boost your career chances.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Learn more about this world's largest organization and see professional development and career toolbox sections.
- American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. It covers over 2,700 sports medicine specialists working in the field of education, advocacy, research, and care.
Most importantly, remember about networking and being unique! Dare to ask questions, attend sports events, get certified, and make your skills stand out. Doing so will guarantee you a great start to your non-athletic sports career!