Jobs Involving Sports

Jan 18, 2020

Although not as numerous as some career options, there are several jobs that directly or indirectly involve different sports. We discuss a handful of the different career options that involve sports, as well as their education requirements.

Career Options Involving Sports

There are several career options in various fields that involve sports, whether through directly playing a sport, working with athletes, reporting on sports or managing sports in some way. We have listed a few jobs below that involve sports in different ways.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Athletes and Sports Competitors $50,650 6%
Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials $27,020 6%
Athletic Trainers $47,510 19%
Coaches and Scouts $33,780 11%
Recreation Workers $25,060 8%
Sports Reporters $41,260 (all reporters and correspondents) -12% (decline)
Announcers $106,550 (for announcers in the performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries) -11% (decline)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs Involving Sports

Athletes and Sports Competitors

Some of the more obvious jobs that involve sports include athletes and sports competitors. These are the actual participants in sports, who compete and draw a crowd for entertainment. These professionals must train, practice and improve their skills for the sport, as well as following the directions and advice of their coach/trainer. During competition, they must obey the rules of their particular sport, and after competition they usually assess their performance to look for areas of improvement. Athletes and sports competitors do not need a formal education, but they usually have extensive experience in their sport.

Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials

Umpires, referees and other sports officials are the ones responsible for enforcing the rules of a particular sport. This helps to maintain the standards of play, as well as keeping the participants safe. Depending on the sport that they are officiating, they may need to determine a winner, inspect sports equipment, track time, determine penalties and use signals to inform players of decisions and calls. Based on the sport and state of employment, education requirements for these positions may range from no formal education to a high school diploma. Usually some level of training and knowledge of the sport's rules are also required.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers do not directly participate in sports, but they help care for athletes and other sports competitors. They diagnose, treat and work to prevent sport-related injuries and illnesses. Often their work involves treating the muscles and bones of athletes using tape, braces, bandages and more. They usually attend sporting events and provide first aid and/or emergency care as needed, as well as evaluating any injuries that occur during the game. Athletic trainers also complete detailed written reports concerning incidents and treatment plans. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree and license or certification.

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches are responsible for teaching athletes the game and managing individual athletes or teams, while scouts focus on the recruiting side of athletics. Coaches create plays, run practices, improve athletes' techniques and develop team strategies to implement during games. Scouts observe players' performances and offer incentives to try and recruit them to a particular school or team. Although coaches and scouts may have personal experience with the sport that they work with, it is not required. Most of these professionals hold a bachelor's degree.

Recreation Workers

Recreation workers plan and oversee recreational activities at places like playgrounds, public pools, camps and more. They may work with kids or adults as they organize recreational activities that may include, but are not limited to, various sports. They may also oversee activities like arts and crafts, camping, music and more. For those recreation workers who offer sports camps or activities, they usually need to provide the sports equipment, teach participants the rules and techniques of the sport and work to ensure the safety of the participants. Recreation workers need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, and they usually receive some on-the-job training.

Sports Reporters

Sports reporters specialize in informing the public about particular sporting events and news. They may work for newspapers, television broadcasts, magazines and more. Their job may require them to write sports-related articles, interview athletes or other sport-related professionals or even take photos and/or video of sporting events for visual aids. Depending on the story they are reporting on, they may need to make updates to the piece as more information becomes available. Most sports reporters have at least a bachelor's degree.


Announcers typically work in radio or television, and could specialize in announcing sports. Sports announcers provide listeners with sports information and news, play-by-play commentary during a sporting event and even interviews with athletes, coaches and other professionals related to the game, on-air. This may require them to follow a script or ad-lib their commentary. Often these announcers are asked to make public appearances to promote their employer and interact with fans. Announcers need on-the-job training, and they may have a high school diploma or bachelor's degree.

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