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How to Become an Athletic Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an athletic manager. Research the job description and the education requirements and find out how to start a career in athletic managing.

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Should I Become an Athletic Manager?

Athletic managers work for sports and recreational organizations, including sports teams, athletic institutions and schools. They often manage budgets, operations, marketing and program design within an organization. This occupation may be stressful at times, with the manager's success often dependent upon the many factors affecting a team's wins and losses.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; some organizations prefer a master's degree
Degree Fields Sports management, physical education, business
Licensure or Certification Not required
Experience Experience working in sports management is required; Experience with public relations and/or fundraising may be helpful
Key Skills Ability to set and manage budgets; good interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills; basic word processing, record-keeping, and Internet skills
Salary $101,910 (Mean annual wage as of May 2014)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Sports management majors are becoming more popular within accredited universities and colleges. This major introduces students to a wide scope of topics as they relate to sports management, including law and ethics, operations, program design and planning, economics, finance and marketing. Other options for someone interested in becoming an athletic manager might be earning a business administration or physical education degree.

Step 2: Complete an Internship

Some sports management programs require students to complete an internship with a professional sports team, regional sports commission or other sports or recreational organization, such as a golf or country club. During these internships, students usually work in the field while keeping a journal of their experiences, as well as meeting regularly with their advisors.

Step 3: Pursue a Master's Degree

Becoming an athletic manager, athletic director or other sports management professional commonly requires a master's degree. Aspiring athletic managers might consider a master's degree in business administration, sports administration or sports management. As with bachelor's degree programs in the field, sports management programs are becoming increasingly popular at the graduate level. Master's level sports management programs generally introduce students to strategic management, finance and economics, marketing, business development and budgeting as they relate to sports or athletic organizations. Some master's programs require a thesis project, in addition to completing an internship.

Step 4: Gain Work Experience

Graduates of master's degree programs in sports management, business administration or a similar discipline are prepared for entry-level positions. They may work as operations assistants or assistant sports managers. By gaining work experience, individuals might work their way up to athletic manager, athletic director or sports manager.

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