I hear this question a lot from recent high school graduates and those who aspire to work in the sports industry. For most, the concern is acquiring a degree that will guarantee them a job in sports. With the cost of a university degree rising and the time commitment such a degree requires, it is understandable that they want to get the most out of their degree as possible and land a job in their desired industry afterwards. Of course, the simple answer to this question is that there is no “right” degree for the sports industry. This article will explore some of the main issues an undergraduate student should consider when picking a degree program, if they want a job in sports.
First of all (and not surprisingly), what degree you choose depends largely on what you want to do in the sports industry. There are literally thousands of sports niches and while a business student may succeed in one niche, they may not succeed in another. With that being said, the first thing I advise students to do is think very hard about what they want to do in the sports industry. Do they want to become a sports agent? Athletic trainer? Team manager? Sports marketer? Make a list of your values, skills, experience, and pros and cons of each career.
After narrowing down your interests, research your potential careers and find out what degree would benefit you the most. For example, if you want to become a sports marketer, you might want to consider an undergraduate degree in communications or media relations and a graduate degree in sports marketing (some schools offer sports marketing as an undergraduate degree – be sure to check what options your university offers). Alternatively, you could graduate with a degree in business and gain experience in a sales position.
As an article by Forbes.com points out, experience in sales can be extremely useful if you want to get into the sports industry. This experience, combined with your degree, can be very advantageous for a recent graduate. Forbes also notes that many sports companies look for graduates who have experience with college athletic departments or internships within the sports industry. As you can see, choosing the “right” degree is only half the battle – many companies look for experience and the ability to sell products or ideas.
Of course, there are other ways to get into the sports industry that don’t require you to be a salesman such as athletic training, coaching, or grounds-keeping. Evaluating your skills and interests is the best way to determine what degree would benefit you the most for a career in the sports industry. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, check out JobsInSports.com for potential internships and job opportunities!