Growing up, many of us aspire to become professional athletes. While some do achieve their goals, the majority will fall short. However, there are many opportunities for a successful career in sports that the average person can attain and still make the big bucks.
Here are nine high paying jobs in sports you can consider.
Lucrative Jobs in Sports for the “Average Joe”
1. Sports Psychologist
A sports psychologist works primarily with athletes, helping patients achieve maximum performance. In this high paying sports job, a clinical psychologist uses teaching strategies from applied psychology combined with therapy to help those with mental health problems that can affect performance.
The career path taken is generally a bachelor’s degree in psychology, followed by a master’s or doctoral degree. Many times, those looking to enter the field enroll in the doctoral program taking additional classes in sports medicine, marketing, or physiology, among others.
Those getting into this field often work at the university level or are self-employed, with a median annual income of $75,230. A promising field to enter in sports, there’s a predicted demand of about 22% growth by 2020.
2. Athletic Trainer
An athletic trainer is one of the most important and high paying jobs in sports, as the prevention and treatment of muscle and bone issues are paramount for top athletic performance.
The athletic trainer must be able to make timely decisions regarding injuries, and while working with a doctor, determine a treatment plan. Also, trainers generally work directly with athletes designing a workout plan to help prevent injuries.
Trainers can work in universities, medical facilities, or professional teams. Those in a scholastic setting often teach courses, which require proper teaching credentials. It should also be noted that a certification from the independent Board of Certification is required.
An excellent high paying job in sports with an expected growth of 30% by 2020, the median salary is $48,630 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3. Sports Coach
While professional coaches can earn seven-figure salaries, the journey to that level can be quite difficult, and the opportunities are limited. However, coaches at the collegiate and high school levels still earn a substantial salary, and their careers can be gratifying in other ways.
Coaches have a vast array of responsibilities, including preparation for competitions, teaching teamwork and sportsmanship, development of in-game strategies, and in some cases, serving as a scout.
Most sports coaches are former players at some level and wish to remain in the game as a teacher or mentor. Generally, a bachelor’s degree of some sort is required to coach at the high school or collegiate levels. However, it should be noted that doesn’t always step into a head coaching role immediately. In many cases, a candidate first serves as an assistant coach for some time.
The top 10% of college coaches earn more than $63,720 per year, while the median annual salary is $31,460. The short-term outlook in terms of growth is quite promising in this field, as the number of coaches is expected to increase by 29% by 2020.
- Club Coaching Position
Professional Coaching/Scouting - West Region
- Seasonal Coaching Staff
Sports Services - West Region
- Instructor in Coaching (Initial Assignment: Assistant Baseball Coach)
Health/Fitness/Rec. - West Region
- Instructor in Coaching (Initial Assignment: Assistant Football Coach)
Health/Fitness/Rec. - West Region
4. Sports Statistician
Across the world of sports, statistics are increasingly used to determine the probability of outcomes, as well as examining team and player performance trends. Every sports league maintains a slew of team and individual statistics, which are becoming vitally important to coaches and strategies.
Statisticians examine data and are responsible for gathering information and drawing conclusions. Statisticians in the sports industry are responsible for collecting and analyzing data, which can help with drafting, recruiting, trading, personnel strategy, among other things. One of the highest paying jobs in sports, a statistician at the entry-level position will need at least a bachelor’s degree, although a higher-level degree is preferred. If working at the collegiate level, a Ph.D. may be required.
14% growth is expected by 2020, and the current average salary is $72,800 annually with a median salary of about $80,500.
5. Sports Broadcaster
The top broadcasters who work at the national level can earn seven-figure salaries. Although most don’t achieve that level, a career in broadcasting can be both rewarding and lucrative for the avid sports fan.
Broadcasters generally need a degree in communications as they’ll be announcing live events and offering analysis and commentary. Preparation includes the research and study of teams and players. The most successful broadcasters provide additional stories of interest, discuss current trends in sports, and often add an element of humor to the broadcast.
The top 10 broadcasters earn an average of $5,000,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, the average annual salary was $82,730. For local broadcasters, they’re generally paid on a per game basis with a median salary of $36,000 per year.
6. Sports Event Coordinator
The events that sports fans enjoy attending and watching on television wouldn’t be possible if not for the person behind the scene – the event coordinator.
A sports event coordinator helps arrange transportation, organizes the schedule, makes sure there is proper media accommodations and makes sure audio and visual equipment are in working order. In addition, the event coordinator is responsible for contract cost negotiations.
Those interested in a sports job as an event coordinator should have a degree in hospitality management and some events experience. The demand for this job is booming and is expected to grow 44% by 2020. With this kind of demand and a median annual salary of $47,350, the event coordinator is one of the top high paying jobs in sports.
Aside from the athletes on the field, no one’s closer to the action than an umpire or referee. These officials must know the rules and apply them nearly instantly throughout the game. Umpires and referees must have excellent concentration, vision, judgment, and quick decision making.
As a professional umpire, there’ll be much travel. A specific degree is not required, although many go to umpiring school. They generally start at the high school or collegiate level before entering professional sports leagues.
Umpires and referees at the highest level of professional sports can earn into the mid-six-figures. Those at lower levels earn an average of $37,810 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
8. Sports Marketer
A highly lucrative job in sports of vital importance is the sports marketer. Marketers promote teams, leagues, stadiums, and other services or products related to sports. In addition, they’re responsible for media content highlighting teams and players. More duties include strategies to increase sales, viewership, attendance, and endorsements.
While the job is extensive and time-consuming, it’s very rewarding. This marketing sports job is becoming increasingly important with excellent growth expected. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, the average salary was about $120,000 annually.
- Director, Marketing & Advertising
Administration/Management - Central Region
- Manager, Corporate Partnership Marketing
Administration/Management - Central Region
- Marketing Automation Coordinator
Marketing/Events/Promotions - Southeast Region
- Marketing & Promotions Coordinator
Marketing/Events/Promotions - West Region
9. Sports Physical Therapist
A physical therapist is important in helping athletes return from injury. Many teams hire full-time therapists who work in tandem with athletic trainers and team physicians. However, some physical therapists also have private practices and work with individual athletes.
Many sports physical therapists have a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, which requires a bachelor’s degree for admission and other courses such as those in anatomy, physiology, and biology. Upon graduation, physical therapists may complete a one-year residency program.
For this position, the average salary is around $76,000 per year.
Ready to Pursue a High Paying Career in Sports?
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