Since sport management is relevant to so many different career paths, schools that offer sport management degrees generally offer two or three types of degrees, such as Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Master of Business Administration. Each program offers various specialties that students can choose, depending on their preferred career path. For example, a student who wants to be a coach might pursue a Bachelor of Science in Coaching Education, whereas a student interested in public relations might enroll in an MBA in athletics administration.
Below is a list of various degrees and concentrations that students can pursue towards a career in sport management:
Different sport management degrees are tailored to fit different career paths, so a student choosing a course of study should consider what their long term career goals are. Below are several important questions that students should consider when choosing a degree program and career trajectory.
A: If you said “I like to work with athletes,” or anything about actually playing your favorite sport, coaching is probably your best bet. You can work closely with a team, develop plays and other in-game strategies, and even stay active by doing training, workouts, and practice scrimmages with the players. For someone who loves the sport, a Master of Science or Master of Education in coaching can help you get a career that will keep you close to the game or even on the field.
Q: “What sport management skills do you already have?”
A: Maybe you already have a job as a little league coach, or an administrator at a university athletic program. If you already have the skills to manage a sports team’s budget, and you want to expand your role in the business side of the organization, an MBA in sport management or athletic administration could help round out your skills.
Q: “What type of organization do you want to work for?”
A: Working with professional athletes at the top of their game can be a thrill, but coaching a high school football team can be just as fun if you’re passionate about it. Knowing whether you want to work with kids, high school students, or pros, and whether you want to work for a huge, national organization or a small community, can help you decide which sport management degree is right for you.
Ranking systems for university programs in all disciplines use various factors to determine which universities and courses of study are the “best” or most effective. When you are exploring sport management schools that you might like to attend, it is worth checking out the rank of your potential colleges in several popular lists. If your college ranks well in some lists, but poorly in others, it is worth examining why certain lists gave your school a bad score.
No ranking system is completely objective though, so you shouldn’t make your decision based entirely on a college’s score from a particular ranking body. Just use the information as one element of the complete picture you develop of all your potential schools before deciding which one is right for you. Below is a list of other factors worth looking into when deciding which university and degree program is right for you.
Students should choose a sport management degree that fits their current circumstances, while keeping in mind that they can always pursue a more advanced degree later when the time is right. If you need an associate’s degree just to get a job, get one, and worry about the bachelor’s or master’s degree later!
The type of job you get, and the salary you are paid, when first entering the field of sport management will influence your later job options and salaries. If you want to work on the business side of a sports organization, try to get some sports business experience while you’re in school. Whether that means volunteering at a local sporting agency or asking around at your college to find entry level work at a community sports center, getting some experience will go a long way toward getting you the job you want, eventually.
Additionally, negotiating your starting salary can pay off both now and in the long run. Subsequent employers will probably ask what you were paid at your last job. If you can negotiate even a small pay bump when you first begin working, it may increase your lifetime income by a significant percentage.
Requirements for licenses or certificates vary widely by profession and location in the world of sport management, so you need to research the requirements for the specific field and organization you plan to work in. Most sport related careers require intimate knowledge of how the game is played, which many workers gain by playing the sport in high school or amateur leagues.
Those wanting to coach elementary or high school teams may need state educational certificates and licensure. Usually, team coaches at the secondary education level are also teachers at the school, often in health or physical education classes.
Ultimately, the sport management degree you choose can take years of your life and alter the trajectory of your career, so picking a good one is important, but shouldn’t be a huge cause of stress if you are passionate about sports, and about the field you choose to study. Check out the list below for some of the top accredited schools that offer online sport management programs for students who want to further their education without sacrificing free time or quitting their jobs.
Use the degree finder below, and we'll help you find a sport management program.