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Top 10 Sports Careers

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Many people—kids and adults alike—dream of being a professional athlete and earning those impressive wages for doing something they love. However, the physical demands of professional athleticism are intense, and the athletes that make it pro are few and far between. If you’ve got the passion AND the skill to make it pro, great! If not, don’t lose hope—there are plenty of sports careers that allow you to put your athletic passion to use and make money!

Here are just a few of them:

SPORTS AGENT

Sports agents represent the interests of talent in the sports industry. They analyze data to prepare presentations, negotiate contracts, advise clients about opportunities for endorsements, and pitch the services of their clients to prospective employers. Many sports agents also help clients to manage their finances.

  • Average Salary: $59,829
  • Education Requirements: A law degree often is the best path to a career as a sports agent because contract negotiations are such an important aspect of the job.

SPORTS BROADCASTER

Have you ever watched a sporting event on TV and thought “I can do better than those announcers”? If you think you can, it may be possible to break into the field of sports broadcasting, but it’s an admittedly tough process.

  • Average Salary: $41,800-$75,754
  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in either broadcasting or communications. You’ll have to work your way up the ladder, working your way up from local media to the regional or national scene.

SPORTS MARKETER

A marketer promotes teams, leagues, players, stadiums, media outlets, and other products and services related to sports. They analyze markets and develop strategies, as well as negotiate agreements to set prices and terms for products, services, endorsements, and advertisements.

  • Average Salary: $57,420-$127,390
  • Education Requirements: A traditional Master of Business Administration is the favored degree by executives in pro and college sports when hiring a senior executive.

UMPIRE/REFEREE

Umpires and referees must study the rules of their sports and apply them instantly to game situations. Officials in basketball and hockey must maintain excellent physical fitness to keep up.

  • Average Salary: $40,320
  • Education Requirements: A high school diploma and a significant amount of time playing in the sport you plan to referee in. However, attention to detail and the rulebook – mixed with a healthy sense of fairness—is really the best resume.

PHYSICAL THERAPIST

Physical therapists work with people who have injuries or are recovering from surgery. They usually serve the general public, but it’s possible to develop a specialization in sports.

  • Average Salary: $87,930
  • Education Requirements: A Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT) and a license in the state where you’re practicing.

SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

Doctors who specialize in sports medicine, sports-related surgery, and the prevention of injury.

  • Average Salary: $228,398
  • Education Requirements: Medical school, as well as any state licensing requirement.

HEAD COACH

While most folks won’t become the head coach of professional sports teams, you can still coach at the high school or college level. There’s good news and bad news on the salary front, but if you want to dream big, head coaches in college and pro football commonly make seven-figure incomes.

  • Average Salary: $33,780
  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree and consistent participation in the sport you hope to coach.

MEDIA SPORTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR

A media director coordinates broadcast activities, handles program scheduling and event coverage, and works with production personnel in assessing the length and content of media presentations.

  • Average Salary: $71,309
  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree and several years’ experience working in a media-related capacity.

TEAM TRAINER

Team trainers work at preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries and illnesses by working with team members on an ongoing basis. Their job is to keep the athletes healthy and able to perform with certain injuries.

  • Average Salary: $47,510
  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree related to the field.

SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER

It’s definitely not one of the higher-paying sports-related jobs, but if you love photography and sports, this can be the perfect career for you.

  • Average Salary: $35,726
  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree or associate degree in photography or journalism.

Auburn University shared their top sports-related degree field is Fitness, Conditioning, and Performance, stating, “Our program prepares you for a career and certification in personal training or strength and conditioning. You will gain a solid foundation for athletic training, coaching, and other sport-related areas. You will also complete a six hour internship with your coursework.

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