Become a Sports Agent: Education and Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a sports agent. Research the education requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in sports management.

Should I Become a Sports Agent?

Sports agents negotiate contracts for athletes. They may work out the details in contracts between athletes and sports teams, as well as between athletes and endorsers. When they are not working out contracts, sports agents are often promoting the value of their athletes. Travel is often required, and the work may be stressful due to keen competition. Although a degree is not required, many sports managers have law degrees or other graduate degrees in areas like business administration or sports management.

Career Requirements

Degree Level No formal degree is required; law or master's degree common
Degree Field Sports management, business
Licensure Licensure or registration as an athlete agent is required in many states
Experience Sales experience beneficial; internships available
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication skills, understanding of contracts, knowledge of league rules; negotiation
Salary (2014) $64,200 (Median annual wage for agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, SouthSource, November 2011, University of Minnesota, Career Services, Various state licensing authorities, Job listings (September 2012)

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring sports agents can pursue degrees in sports management. A sports management degree program combines coursework relating to business with courses that provide basic instruction on exercise science. Students may also take courses in sports marketing, finance, business law and kinesiology. Some programs require an internship. Sometimes a sports management degree is offered in the kinesiology or exercise science department, and the program may also be available at a business school.

Success Tips

  • Build communication skills. Agents will be required to communicate the value of their athletes to sports teams, corporations and even charities. It is important to build persuasive communication skills by taking speech courses or joining public speaking groups.
  • Get experience. If possible, aspiring agents will benefit from an internship at a sports management agency. However, experience selling will provide sports agents with the skills of persuasive speaking.

Step 2: Become Licensed or Registered

In many states, including Georgia, New York and Florida, agents who represent athletes are required to become licensed or registered. There is not a formal board that governs this process across the country, so the various requirements can vary by state. Generally, prospective agents will only need to submit to a background check, along with an application and any applicable fees.

Step 3: Opportunities for Career Advancement

Sports agents can also consider going to law school. Here they will use their studies to help them read and negotiate contracts. However, it is not mandatory to go to law school, and sports agents can also find master's degree programs that offer training in sports management, such as the Master of Business Administration. With this type of degree, students can learn the details of the sports industry, such as how to develop a brand for players, as well as the details of salary caps and intellectual property rights in the field. The program may also include an internship.

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