You don’t need to be an athlete to have a career in the sports industry. On the contrary, most people working in this industry fill other roles. If you’d like to join their ranks, having a sports management degree will help. A degree indicates to potential employers that you’re dedicated to succeeding in sports management jobs and related careers. It also proves you have the education and experience necessary to thrive in this field.
Does that sound appealing to you? If so, you probably want to know how to get a degree in sports management. This guide will help.
- Graphic Designer & Animator - Championship Management Sales Executive
Sports Media - Southeast Region
- Merchandise/Retail Management Intern
Sports Internship - International
- Graphic Design/Video Board Management Intern
Sports Internship - Northeast Region
- Assistant Director of Equipment & Event Management
Administration/Management - West Region
Essential Steps to Getting a Sports Management Degree
It’s important to understand that everyone’s career path is unique. You may not follow the same steps as someone else when pursuing sports management jobs. In general, however, following these steps will boost your odds of landing your dream career.
Consider Choosing an Area to Focus On
Not all sports management degree programs are the same. Some focus on specific areas of the industry. For instance, if you’re sure you want to work in marketing, you would logically enroll in a program that’s marketing-centric.
This isn’t to suggest you need to choose a specific focus. There may be value in selecting a more general program that provides you with a broad overview of various sports management topics. If you do wish to focus on a specific topic, this initial overview will provide you with a foundation upon which you may grow and develop additional knowledge.
Perhaps more importantly, focusing only on one topic may limit your ability to fill other roles in the future. Someone who focused solely on marketing might not be a good fit for a job in sports facilities management. Getting a broad background first is more likely to prepare you for a range of potential careers when you begin job hunting. Again, you can always enroll in additional programs once you have the foundation.
Learn About Your Options
Many universities offer sports management degrees to their students. If you’re considering attending university (whether for the first time or to get a new degree), look for one that offers such programs. If you’re currently a student, research whether your school offers this type of program or certification. You may wish to transfer to a school that has a sports management degree program if yours currently does not.
That’s not to say you need to be a college student to earn a degree in sports management. Attending college again may not be practical for you right now. Don’t worry if this is the case. There are alternative options worth considering if you’re not in college now and don’t plan on attending one any time soon.
Review Your Other Options
It’s important to get a degree in sports management from a reputable institution. You don’t want to enroll in the first program you find without taking the time to learn about its reputation.
There are two main reasons this is the case. First, a lesser institution may not provide you with the same quality of education as another institution. Remember, a degree isn’t just a piece of paper. It’s a symbol of the knowledge and skills you’ve gained for a program. You want to be sure you’ve enrolled in a program that will genuinely provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to thrive in your chosen career.
On top of that, again, a sports management degree demonstrates your enthusiasm and commitment to potential employers. You must get a degree from an institution that will impress anyone checking your resume in the future.
Luckily, it isn’t difficult to find such programs. Consider the sports management program offered by the University of California Irvine’s Division of Continuing Education. The University of California Irvine is a respected institution that provides its students with quality education. According to the sports management program’s page, it specifically
“offers entry to mid-career professionals working or who aspire to work in the sports industry with a thorough, yet concise collaborative online learning experience.”
That’s the type of education you want to receive if you’re hoping to find a sports management job in the future.
It’s also ideal for people who need a certain degree of flexibility. Once more, you don’t need to be a current university student to get a sports management degree through a university. With programs such as this one, you don’t even need to attend classes on a campus. You can complete the necessary coursework online, which may be the best option for your needs. If you can’t afford to relocate right now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to pursue your career goals. An online course ensures you still can regardless of location.
Make Practical Preparations
There are specific practical steps you must take once you’ve identified programs to which you’d like to enroll. First, you need to review the cost of the programs to confirm you can afford them. While you don’t want to sacrifice quality in the name of savings, you also don’t want to spend more than you can justify on a degree right now. You might be better off taking time to save money before enrolling in your chosen program. This allows you to get a quality education in the long run, instead of enrolling in a program that doesn’t meet your standards.
You also need to review whether programs have specific requirements for applicants. There may be some you’re not eligible for if you don’t, for instance, meet certain basic education requirements. There may also be others for which you are currently ineligible, but could be in the near future if you take key steps first.
Additionally, when you’re fairly confident, you know which program you wish to enroll in, take your time to review the course schedule and general expectations. Your current lifestyle may already be reasonably busy. You need to make sure you can fit the coursework into your routine. Again, your goal isn’t to simply get a degree. It’s to get a strong education that will prepare you for your eventual career. You can’t get that kind of education if you don’t actively participate in the course and complete all work to the best of your abilities.
This is another reason why online-based programs are often ideal. Some allow you to complete courses according to your schedule (at least to some degree). Even those that don’t allow for such flexibility still don’t require any commute. Online courses allow you to fit them into your schedule much easier than programs that require you to attend classes on campus.
Why Get a Degree in Sports Management?
You may be wondering if these steps are necessary. There are, in fact, many jobs in the sports industry that don’t technically require applicants to have a relevant degree.
That said, if you’re serious about pursuing sports management jobs, getting a degree is absolutely worth your time and money. The following are key reasons why:
Loving sports is not the same as truly knowing the industry. The specific duties associated with a position you may wish to fill can be somewhat complicated. As with any job, there is likely going to be an adjustment period, during which you’ll learn how to perform your duties as effectively as possible.
Getting a sports management degree will help this adjustment period run more smoothly. Because you’ll already have thorough background knowledge, you’ll be likely to pick up on the nuances of your job quickly, which is key to impressing your employers. Start strong, and your odds of climbing the ladder in the future are much greater than they would be otherwise.
Many people want to work in the sports industry. It’s easy to see why. It is a growing and lucrative field that provides many dynamic career opportunities.
That means you should expect to encounter some degree of competition when you begin searching for jobs. Having a sports management degree will help you stand out among the competition. All other factors being equal, a hiring manager deciding between two qualified candidates will likely award the role to the one who has a degree. A degree or certification in sports management is a clear indication to a hiring manager that a candidate is serious about this field of work.
There are many, many different roles to fill in the sports industry. You might not currently be sure which is most appealing to you. By getting an initial degree, you’ll learn more about which roles are available, providing you with more significant career opportunities. The education and training you get in a sports management degree program will also boost your overall qualifications, making it easier to shift to different roles if you choose to do so in the future.
Just remember that the path to getting a degree in sports management can vary on a case-by-case basis. The information in this guide should merely help you get started on your own path.