college athletic jobs with sports management degree

The sports industry is thriving. If you’d like to work in this field, there are many career options from which to choose. A sports management degree program can provide you with the qualifications you need to thrive in a range of such positions.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that the sports industry isn’t limited to the professional leagues. There are also many college athletics jobs you may be interested in. The following are just a few noteworthy examples to consider as you plan your career goals. Keep in mind that if you do work at the college level but wish to move up to the professional leagues in the future, having relevant experience working at a university will make you a more impressive candidate.

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College Athletics Jobs You Can Get with a Sports Management Degree

Athletic Director

college athletics jobs available with sports management degree

It’s worth noting that many of the sports jobs listed here might not represent the position you would immediately fill when applying to your first college athletics job. For instance, an athletic director has many responsibilities. It’s not likely a major school would hire someone without experience to take on this role right away. However, you can get a job working under an athletic director, which will provide you with an opportunity to work your way up the ladder. Eventually, you can become an athletic director when the person currently filling the role retires or if you apply for the position at another university.

An athletic director is typically involved in managing the overall athletics program at a college, making it one of the more sought after sports management jobs available. Duties associated with the role may include (but are not limited to): 

  • making team hiring decisions, 
  • scheduling games and matches, 
  • coordinating with marketing departments to develop strong promotional strategies and much more.

The athletic director is essentially the person who ensures a college athletics program succeeds. You need the right training and experience to fill such a crucial role. A sports management degree program can provide you with this experience.


Athletic Program Development Director

The responsibilities of an athletic director and an athletic program development director often overlap. That said, at many college athletic programs, the roles are slightly different.

An athletic director is typically involved in managing existing athletics programs. As the name implies, an athletic program development director is involved in building new programs or substantially expanding on the current athletics programs.

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Marketing Coordinator

college athletics jobs available with a sports marketing degree

Athletics programs can’t truly thrive if they don’t make money for the university. That’s why the general public must be aware of (and interested in) the university’s athletic events. Doing so requires proper sports marketing. Just as professional leagues market games to boost attendance and viewership, so too do universities. In fact, the lack of additional funding from significant sponsorships and related sources means a marketing department is arguably even more important at the college level than the professional level. You need to optimize your marketing strategy to maximize the athletic program’s revenue.

That said, marketing departments for college athletics programs aren’t simply involved in boosting game attendance and viewership. They also help promote the program to young athletes who may be wondering which school they should attend. While recruiters are often the professionals most directly involved in attracting talented athletes, the marketing department certainly plays an essential role as well.

This is another job that may interest someone with a degree in sports management. Consider pursuing it if you believe you have a knack for marketing. Luckily, because marketing coordinators often work with athletic directors in some capacity, this role will also help you expand your professional network. Should you ever decide to shift your career goals, pursuing an athletic director job in the future, working as a marketing coordinator will position you to do so.


Coaches & Trainers

Don’t overlook the possibility of taking on a role as a coach or trainer at a college. Granted, you’ll typically need more than just a background in sports management to qualify for such positions. Trainers and college coaches need specialized expertise to fulfill their responsibilities.

If you do have the proper qualifications, getting a sports management degree can boost your odds of getting hired as a coach, trainer, or similar team member. That’s because these professionals must often coordinate with other members of the general university athletics department. Those who know the essentials of sports management are often able to coordinate with such people more effectively. When you understand all facets of a college athletics program, you’re a far more attractive candidate than someone who lacks such knowledge.

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Recruiters & Scouts

Again, college athletics programs rely on audience attendance to survive. Audiences are, of course, more likely to attend games when they admire the athletes on the field. Thus, college teams must recruit the strongest young athletes they can find.

Recruiters and scouts help them find and attract such talent. While marketing and promotional campaigns can attract talent to some degree, recruiters and scouts are the ones who not only search for talented athletes but actively engage with them. A scout helps an athlete understand why a particular school is the right choice for their goals.

Working in this capacity allows you to help rising stars achieve their dreams. It’s even possible that someone you help recruit will go on to succeed not only at the college level but at the professional level as well. It’s also the type of professional experience you can have with a sports management degree. Your degree indicates you thoroughly understand the nuances of the industry, and not simply your particular role.

That’s one of the main reasons to pursue a degree in sports management. Whether you wish to work for a college athletics department or you’d prefer to work in the professional leagues, with the right degree, you’ll possess the necessary qualifications to fill a wide range of sports jobs.