Entry-Level Sports Jobs: Salary & Positions

Several entry-level sports careers are available that span from coaching athletes to commentating during sporting events. Learn about a few of the different job options, their median salaries and education requirements.

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Entry-Level Sports Career Options

Although it may depend on the level of sports competition, there are several entry-level sports careers available in different fields. These jobs vary greatly in job duties and median salaries. Compare some of the different entry-level sports career options below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Coaches and Scouts $31,460 13%
Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials $25,660 7%
Athletic Trainers $45,630 22%
Athletes and Sports Competitors $47,710 7%
Radio and Television Announcers $31,400 -11% (Decline)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Entry-Level Sports Jobs

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches and scouts do not need any previous work experience in a related field and entry-level positions may be available at places like middle or high schools or small postsecondary institutions. Coaches are primarily responsible for running practices and making game-time decisions for their particular sport, as well as ensuring their athletes know and obey the rules of the game and improve their technique. Scouts primarily observe and recruit athletes to play for their particular organization or team. Coaches and scouts must fully understand their particular sport and usually have a bachelor's degree.

Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials

Umpires, referees and other sports officials can officiate sports at a variety of levels, from children's organized sports to the professional level without prior work experience in the field, although most probably work their way up to the professional level. These officials are responsible for enforcing the rules of the particular game they are supervising to ensure that all participants are safe. Depending on the sport, they may need to determine a winner, keep time, set penalties, inspect equipment and address complaints from the participants. They must understand the rules of their sport, but education and training requirements vary by state and sport organization.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers do not need prior work experience and interact closely with athletes as they treat various sports injuries and illnesses. These trainers are qualified to evaluate injuries and offer emergency care and first-aid at sporting events as needed. They also help athletes recover from injuries with various treatment programs and carefully document treatment plans and incidents in reports. Some athletic trainers need certification or a license, depending on the state, but all need at least a bachelor's degree.

Athletes and Sports Competitors

Although not everyone will be a professional athlete, athletes and sports competitors do not have to have prior work experience in their field to compete. However, they undergo extensive training to improve their technique and constantly evaluate their performances to find areas for improvement. Athletes and sports competitors must adhere to the rules of their particular sport and typically work with coaches and/or trainers to improve. These professionals do not need a formal education, but must know their sport and usually work their way up from entry-level competition.

Radio and Television Announcers

Some radio and television announcers may specialize in covering sporting events and/or topics and the position does not require any prior work experience in a related field. These announcers may commentate during a sporting event, as well as prepare information to discuss during the event. They may also interview sport-related guests, announce station breaks and appear at various promotional events. Radio and television announcers may need some entry-level experience in the field, such as that gained through an internship, and a bachelor's degree.

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