How to Become a Sports Announcer: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 04, 2020

Learn how to become a sports announcer. Research the job description and the education requirements and find out how to start a career in sports announcing.

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Sports Announcer Career Info

Sports announcers provide commentary for games and sporting events during live radio or television broadcasts. They may interview guests or present relevant information during their broadcast. Like many positions in the entertainment industry, this field is often very competitive, and work may only be available on a part-time basis.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Broadcasting, communications, journalism
Experience Advancement may be commensurate with experience
Key Skills Good voice and good sense of timing, communication and research skills, knowledge of sports, the ability to use editing software
Salary (2018) $33,220 (median annual pay for all radio and television announcers in all fields)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Gain Experience Locally

One of the first steps an aspiring sports announcer can take is to gain experience through local events. Many aspiring sports announcers participate in local radio broadcasts or volunteer to announce sporting events at a local high school. These opportunities provide initial experience in the field and do not typically require a formal education. While this background is not necessary, it helps form a basis of knowledge and experience for individuals pursuing a college education in order to become sports announcers.

Public address announcers typically do not need a formal education, and this is an excellent way for aspiring sports announcers to get a head start in broadcasting. Some short on-the-job training is required.

Get a Bachelor's Degree

Requirements for becoming a sports announcer vary based on employer preferences, but students interested in getting a bachelor's degree should considering majors such as communication, journalism, or a related subject to give them a competitive edge that may increase their job opportunities. Such curricula often provide courses in research, writing, and ethics. An understanding of electronics and broadcasting basics also helps prepare students for positions as sports announcers. Familiarity with computers and the Internet proves increasingly valuable, since many announcers maintain a regular Web presence through social networking websites and often broadcast online. Even though aspiring sports announcers may prefer to cover specific athletics, they benefit from being knowledgeable about all sports.

Get Work Experience

Most entry-level positions for sports announcers require prior experience. Candidates often gain such experience through campus radio or television stations and through internships at commercial stations. Whether paid or unpaid, this hands-on experience enables aspiring announcers to hone their craft while establishing valuable contacts within the industry. A formal education is indispensable for most sports announcers, but additional requirements include having a pleasant and recognizable vocal style, using correct grammar, exercising well-timed and accurate delivery, and for television announcers, displaying a pleasing and welcoming appearance. Many of these traits can be learned through continued on-the-job experience.

Most broadcasters and announcers need practice to become professionals. Working at smaller stations can help new sports announcers get a feel for the job, find their voice, and work on communication skills.

Advance in the Field

Competition at major radio or television networks for the position of sports announcer generally tends to be intense. The most common path for advancement begins by gaining recognition in a local community and then seeking work in a larger city. Once established, aspiring network sports announcers gravitate toward more visible national markets. Successful announcers continually try to improve their craft and possess a desire to become more knowledgeable about the sports they cover.

Again, there is no one sure path to becoming a sports announcer, but those interested in the profession should start gaining experience at the local level, complete a bachelor's degree program in the communications field, finish an internship, and look for an entry-level job in a smaller market before moving up to a larger one.

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