Sports-Related Jobs for People Without a Degree

Individuals without a degree looking for a career in sports have several options. Learn more about these options, career information, salary, and growth.

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Career Options for People without a Degree that is Sports-Related

There are a few different career options for those looking for a sports-related occupation that does not require a degree. Some of these options are occupations that involve actually playing the sport, while others are those who work with athletes or are on the sidelines. Take a look at a few of the different options available, along with salary and growth information.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Athlete and Sports Competitor $47,710 6%
Fitness Trainer and Instructor $38,160 8%
Umpire, Referee, or Other Sport Official $25,660 5%
Photographer $34,070 3%
Recreation Worker $23,870 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
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Career Information for People without a Degree that is Sports-Related

Athlete and Sports Competitor

Athletes and sports competitors do not need a formal education, though they do need experience to compete professionally. Athletes put in a lot of work in practice to perfect their skills when competing in their chosen sporting event. They also must put in effort to train and follow diets to stay in good physical shape. Athletes must have excellent listening skills and ability to follow directions from coaches, as well as be able to be a team player.

Fitness Trainer and Instructor

Most fitness trainers or instructors do not need college degree, though some employers do look for it in applicants. Some employers also require certain training or certification. Fitness trainers and instructors work with people, including athletes, on different exercises and activities to improve their fitness. They also help with nutrition and follow all safety rules for sports.

Umpire, Referee, or Other Sport Official

Umpires, referees, and other sport officials typically do not need a formal education; however some states require a high school diploma. They also are required to have knowledge of the sporting event including rules and regulations. Umpires, referees, and other sport officials officiate over various sporting events to ensure participant safety, rules are being followed, and to determine the winner of the event. They must use good judgment to call plays quickly and accurately.


Photographers work with a variety of clients to take photos, edit them, and many times display them. Photographers are always at sporting events to take photos of players or to present to newspapers. This gives those interested in sports the opportunity to work with them in a different type of setting. Photographers normally do not need a formal education, though some wishing to pursue a career in photojournalism would need a bachelor's degree.

Recreation Worker

Recreation workers normally need a high school diploma or the equivalent and complete on-the-job training. These individuals lead different activities that include sports. They plan the activities, explain the rules, and ensure safety of all participants. Recreation workers must be able to give first aid help when needed.

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