You don’t have to hang up your soccer cleats or trade in your tennis racket when your school days are over. By choosing a career in a sports-related field you can stay in the game indefinitely.
People who love athletics can work in areas as diverse as medicine, management, marketing, manufacturing and many other sports-occupational areas. Prospects are increasing as more people play and watch sports. With the explosion of sports for women and girls, entire industries have sprung up, such as women’s clothing and equipment. In other careers–like sports journalism and sports administration and sports training–opportunities for women to participate in previously male-dominated have, if not leveled the playing field, at least greatly expanded it.
There are over six million jobs in sports-related careers, according to Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation. While many of these jobs take special education and training, entry-level positions exist for young men and women willing to work their way up.
Careers in sports take many forms. While many young athletes dream of making it to the professional ranks, the reality is that very few make it that far. In other sports-related careers the news is more encouraging. From educators to architects, facilities managers to fitness instructors, physical therapists to professional athletes, there are positions to fill.
Below is a sample of jobs with suggested education and/or training requirements for breaking into the field.
Sports journalists report on the news of the sports world to the public. A four-year degree in journalism and/or equivalent writing experience is recommended. Job opportunities exist in newspapers and magazines, radio, and television. Most beginning journalists begin as interns on college newspapers, radio, or television stations or as general reporters on small-town newspapers. Curiosity, writing, and interviewing skills and the ability to work within deadlines are characteristics of successful journalists.
College and university coaches are responsible for getting athletic teams ready to play in competition. In smaller colleges they may coach several sports, while in larger institutions they are mainly responsible for just one team. Duties include recruiting players, developing game strategies, and teaching skills. Most college coaching positions require a minimum of four years of college. A typical career path might begin as an athlete, followed by becoming an assistant coach at the high school or college level.
An exercise physiologist studies how the stress of exercise affects the body. The most common areas in which exercise physiologists work are prevention–teaching healthy lifestyle habits–and rehabilitation–helping to restore function following an accident or debilitating illness. They may manage a wellness center, teach, or conduct research. Most jobs require a minimum of a master’s degree with an expertise in exercise physiology
A sports agent acts as a professional athlete’s representative in negotiating contracts, salaries, endorsements, and other business arrangements. Education includes a four-year college degree in business or a related major, often followed by a law degree. Negotiating skills, sales ability, and ability to work under stressful conditions are all traits of the successful sports agent.