Online Degrees In Sports Management

Mention sports management and sports lovers immediately think about Jerry Maguire and his famous “show me the money!” quote. And that’s definitely part of sports management. Sports Agent Directory reports approximately 3,500 certified sports agents in 10 different sports leagues; with agents representing major sports leagues like MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL along with smaller sports like bowling, gymnastics, motorsports, swimming, track and field, volleyball, among others.

The College Board explains that the field of sports management (also known as sports administration) requires individuals working in the field to have knowledge of fitness, business, and law. Online sports management degree programs can help aspiring sports administrators gain this knowledge while still adhering to work, family and other commitments.

Professional sports aren’t just a hobby – they are often global businesses with enormous budgets and involve complex negotiations. Sports management is the business behind sports and recreation and can require interdisciplinary skills from finance to marketing, and health to human resources. Just like many businesses, there can be diverse jobs to be had.

So, what jobs can you get with a sports management degree? You may work behind the scenes running offices or may represent players. Other careers may involve public relations, marketing, branding, media and promotions; accounting and finance; athletic equipment and sponsorship; sports administration; event management and ticketing; and sports law, to name only a few.

High school, college, intercollegiate, professional and even international sports teams need coaches. Athletic and sports clubs, community sports programs, stadiums and arenas, and sports equipment companies need managers and administrators. These are a few examples of careers that fall under the sports management umbrella.

The table below describes occupations related to the field of sports management along with associated job openings, average salary, total employment and job outlook for 2018 to 2028 using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career
Employment
Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
Athletic Trainers28,600$50,54018.8%
Coaches and Scouts241,390$44,91010.5%
Athletes and Sports Competitors11,330$93,1406.2%

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Scouts look for the newest talent out on the fields and evaluate their skills and potential for success at college, amateur or professional levels. Some of their duties include:

  • Reading newspapers and scouring news sources to find athletes to study
  • Viewing videos of athletes’ performances, studying statistics and attending games to determine their potential
  • Talking to athletes’ coaches and athletes themselves to see if they fit what they are looking for
  • Reporting to the coach and other officials of the team they are scouting for
  • Negotiating contracts, or offering incentives like athletic scholarships to recruit them

The BLS reports that scouts may have to travel extensively in search of the best players.

The following steps outline one way to become a sports scout:

Step 1: Play a sport during high school: the BLS states that scouts may benefit from the experience.

Step 2: Take biology, chemistry, and health sciences in high school as well as business classes if possible.

Step 3: Research online sports management degree programs to see which ones suit your needs.

Step 4: Enroll in the program and earn your sports management degree.

Step 5: Start building your contacts while still in college.

Step 6: Gain experience through an internship.

Step 7: After graduation, apply for and obtain professional certifications from the sports authorities relevant to your sport or opt for an advanced degree.

Step 8: Look for a job. Keep your expectations realistic as competition for scouting jobs can be tough.

Step 9: Grow your network by building and maintaining relationships in the field.

Online sports management degree programs start from the associate degree level right up to doctoral degrees. Although associate degrees may be sufficient for entry-level positions, most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in sports management and, depending on the career objective, a concentration such as marketing or finance. Doctoral degrees in sports management are rare and prepare candidates for teaching or administrative careers in sports management degree programs.

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

Individuals earning their sports management associate degree online can learn how to apply foundational business, fitness and coaching principles toward running different sports and fitness organizations.

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Curricula usually cover a range of business topics including the legal and marketing aspects of sports along with topics in health. Some examples of courses you may take include:

  • Sociology of sports
  • Sports administration
  • Sports and fitness facilities management
  • Sports communication
  • Sports psychology

Students may have to complete an internship in order to satisfy the requirements of their online sports management degree programs.

Possible electives: History and principles of PE and sport s; sports financing; sports fundraising

What kind of jobs can I get after earning an associate degree in sports management?

An associate degree in sports management may allow you to work in entry-level positions in the industry or may act as a stepping stone toward an online sports management bachelor’s degree. Individuals may find work in schools, colleges, recreational facilities or with sports league offices, to name a few. Some potential job titles include:

  • Assistant facility manager
  • Field operations staff member
  • Pit crew member
  • Player personnel
  • Sports media specialist

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor’s degree program?

Online sports management bachelor’s degree programs can help students understand sport theory, kinesiology, along with the application business principles like marketing, and finance to sport. Students may develop the skills they need to manage different aspects of a sports business including problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Typical duration: Four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Curricula explore the field of sports management in more depth than an associate degree program. Apart from general education courses, core coursework may include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Law and sport
  • Planning and managing sport facilities
  • Sales within sport
  • Sport media relations

Students may need to complete an internship as a part of their online sports management degree program.

Possible electives: Science of coaching; current issues in sports management; sports in America

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a bachelor’s in sports management?

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for coaches and scouts according to the BLS. A sports management bachelor’s degree may also open up opportunities in areas like facility and event management, marketing, administration, fundraising, and player representation. Some examples of job titles include:

  • Facility manager
  • Professional sports scout
  • Sports agent
  • Sports event manager
  • Sports finance analyst
  • University athletic administrator

What can I expect to learn in an online master’s degree program?

An online sports management master’s degree program can help students prepare for leadership positions in the field. Students may learn to conduct research and explore the business of sports at a global level. They can learn to develop financial strategies and evaluate organizational goals.

Typical duration: One year of full-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in sports management or a related field

Typical coursework: Coursework is usually designed to help students develop advanced knowledge of sports business theory its practical application. Some examples of courses include:

  • Finance and economics of sports
  • Foundations of sports outreach
  • Internationalization of sports business
  • Research methods in sports management
  • Sports marketing and media

Students may need to complete a master’s project as a part of their online sports management degree program.

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a master’s in sports management?

Individuals with a master’s degree in sports management may qualify for management positions within the field. Some examples of job titles include:

  • Athletic Director
  • Contract Negotiation Manager
  • Public Relations Director
  • Director of Operations
  • Finance Director
  • Corporate Partnerships Manager

An online graduate certificate in sports management may suit professionals in the field who want some graduate education but do not have the time or financial resources for a graduate degree. Certificate programs may also help career changers with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Certificate programs may therefore be focused on a few aspects of sports management or act as an introduction to the field allowing individuals change their occupations or career fields.

Typical duration: One year of part-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in sports management or a related field

Typical coursework: Curricula vary depending on the focus of the program and its target audience. Some examples of courses include:

  • Event management
  • Fiscal practices in sports
  • Risk management in athletics
  • Sports analytics and social engagement
  • Strategic management of sports organizations

What can I expect to learn in an online doctoral degree program?

Online doctoral degree programs in sports management can help future leaders of the field prepare themselves to handle both the day-to-day and theoretical challenges that come with running these international franchises or to work in research and academia.

The program of choice depends heavily on career goals. Students who want to focus on the business of professional sports may opt for a DBA in sports management, while students who want to pursue careers in research and academia generally prefer the Ph.D. The Ed.D. is similar to the Ph.D. in sports management, but generally places more emphasis on college athletics. There can be a considerable overlap between the two.

Typical duration: Three to seven years of full-time study

General prerequisites: Master’s degree in sports management or a related field

Typical coursework: Curriculum typically covers ethics and legal issues in sports; advanced business topics such as marketing or branding; and other high-level administrative concerns. Some courses you may take include:

  • Strategic planning and thinking for global sport leaders
  • Interpersonal relationship in sport
  • Leading internal and external sport
  • Effect of governing bodies on sport leaders
  • Interpreting and applying analytics in sport

Dissertation: At most schools, full-time students spend the first two to three years of their program on required coursework. Students are then expected to pass a comprehensive exam showcasing the lessons learned throughout the initial period. Students then move onto the dissertation phase, where they spend another two or more years researching, composing and defending their selected topic.

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a doctorate in sports management?

A doctoral degree in sports management may qualify individuals to move from management roles to executive roles in the industry. They may qualify for positions on the board of sports leagues or organizations or as directors of sports facilities. They may also be able to work at universities teaching the next generation of aspiring sports managers.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a voluntary process schools undergo to demonstrate their educational offerings meet the high standards of quality necessary in the professional world. Employers may prefer hiring candidates from accredited schools over others. Attending an accredited program can play an important role while applying for federal financial aid as well as for the transfer of credits. You may also need to graduate from an accredited program in order to be eligible for professional certifications. Online sports management degree programs may be are programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Specializations in Sports Management

Specializations offered via online sports management degree programs may help you focus your studies and therefore your future career in area that interests you. Some examples of specializations are:

  • Athlete development
  • High performance coaching
  • Sports analytics
  • Sports law

Certifications in Sports Management

Professional certifications may demonstrate your expertise in a particular area of sports management along with your dedication to the field. Additionally they can help you become a more competitive in the job market. Some examples of certifications include:

Those working in schools (for example coaches) may require additional certifications and hold a teaching license. Similarly, certification requirements for college coaching positions can also vary. Additionally each sport or league may have specific certification requirements, so it can be a good idea to check with the league you want to work with.

Employment Statistics

Athletic Trainers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Other Schools and Instruction
  • Spectator Sports
  • Other Amusement and Recreation Industries
  • Civic and Social Organizations
  • Colleges,Universities and Professional Schools
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Auburn-Opelika, AL
  • Athens-Clarke County, GA
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • Lubbock,TX
  • Corvallis,OR

Coaches and Scouts

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Other Schools and Instruction
  • Spectator Sports
  • Other Amusement and Recreation Industries
  • Civic and Social Organizations
  • Colleges,Universities and Professional Schools
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Auburn-Opelika, AL
  • Athens-Clarke County, GA
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • Lubbock,TX
  • Corvallis,OR

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

You may find there are several scholarships and financial aid programs to help eligible students earn their degrees with a lighter financial burden. Scholarships may be offered by professional bodies, educational foundations or schools themselves. We’ve listed a few scholarships below to help you get started in your search.

Students of online sports management degree programs may also qualify for a variety of business administration scholarships.

Additional resources

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Sources

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