How to Become a Sports Agent

Often people interested in the sports industry eventually want to know how to become a sports agent. While negotiating lucrative contracts is critical to the position, your primary workload in this role will be identifying and recruiting potential clients. A great sports agent will go beyond simply partnering with athletes and getting them high-paying deals. They will also be a general representation of the needs and rights of their clients.

If you want to form business relationships with star athletes, you will need to take the right approach in this highly competitive field.

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5 Crucial Steps to Becoming a Sports Agent

The first step you can take toward becoming an agent is to get a degree in a relevant field. Additionally, the steps you take during and after school will make it much likelier that you stand out from other candidates for these dream jobs.

Step 1. Get a bachelor’s degree and possibly a master’s.

It will help you land sports agent jobs if you have a degree in sports management, law, finance, or business. Some legal education is particularly helpful since knowledge of contract law will make you a better sports agent. The best sports management degrees for those who want to become agents are those less geared toward exercise, equipment, and facilities – instead centered directly on business. It will improve your chances of getting hired as an agent if your bachelor’s and master’s together give you academic experience that includes finance, business, and law classes.

Step 2. Look for sports agent internships.

It is critical to have experience if you want to get sports agent jobs. The best way to get to know the field first-hand is through an internship. In these roles, you can begin to better understand the business side of sports and the typical structure of contracts. Sports agent internships get you on the inside, increasing your chances of landing full-time agent positions. In fact, some agencies only hire individuals who have completed their internship programs.

Internships at agencies might involve such tasks as handling travel arrangements, managing schedules, developing press kits, tracking press coverage, helping with event coordination, assisting with scouting reports, and/or compiling player statistics. These positions are often unpaid, but some of them offer to pay that typically ranges from $10 to $15 per hour. Even if you do not get paid, you may get college credit for your work. You often need to be a student to land an internship; however, some agencies hire people who have recently graduated.

One key piece of advice for how to become a sports agent is to be flexible with your expectations when it comes to internships. Anything in sports will help to develop your career and resume. Many people want to become agents, so do not get frustrated if your path is indirect. (Even if football is your dream, take the basketball internship.)

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Step 3. Get licensed.

Many who want to know how to become a sports agent wonder if a license is needed. They are required in some states. Others (Texas is an example) do not require licenses but do require league certification (see below). If you do need to get a state license, simply complete an application and submit the fee.

Step 4. Get certification with a pro league.

Beyond knowing how to be trained and get initial experience, you will also want to know how to become a certified sports agent. Certification will allow you to work with athletes in the main professional leagues. Here is how to become a certified sports agent with the NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA:

  • NFL – You typically need to go to an accredited university for your bachelor’s, followed by a law degree or master’s, to get National Football League certification. However, you may be able to land certification if you have a bachelor’s combined with a track record of seven years or more in negotiations. Beyond education, you must pass an open-book exam, attend a two-day informational seminar, agree to a background check, and pay a $2500 application fee.
  • MLB – To work with pro baseball players in Major League Baseball, you need to pass an open-book test, submit to a background investigation, and pay a $2000 application fee. Even with that complete, you are not truly certified until one or more players select you as their agent within three years of completing the exam.
  • NHL – To become a hockey agent with the National Hockey League, you must complete an application, including your work and academic history. Contact the players’ union at [email protected] if you want to get an application and further details of the certification process.
  • NBA – To represent players in the National Basketball Association, you will generally need to attend an accredited college and earn a bachelor’s degree. However, similarly to the NFL, exceptions are sometimes made for those with a few years of experience in negotiations. Additionally, you must pass a multiple-choice exam, consent to a background check, and pay a $1500 application fee.

Now that you know how to become a certified sports agent, it is time to look for a job with an agency.

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Step 5. Find sports agent jobs.

The final step is to look for employment opportunities with sports management companies and sports agencies. If you have worked in the industry for many years, you could find a sports consultancy or your own agency. You could even extend your education with a doctorate in sports management, allowing you to pursue professor positions or get executive positions within agencies. How much money does a sports agent make a year? As of May 2019, the mean annual wage for business managers and agents of athletes, performers, and artists was $97,170, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Knowing The Right People

Do you love sports and crave the excitement of negotiating contracts for star athletes? To successfully land internships and jobs at agencies, it is powerful to have connections. At Jobs In Sports, we help people climb the ladder of the sports industry. Join our network and connect with industry professionals today!