Sports Careers for Non-Athletes

Jan 19, 2020

Non-athletes can still find several careers in sports that allow them to work at various sporting events. Find out about some of the available careers, their median salaries, expected job growth rates and education requirements.

Sports Career Options for Non-Athletes

Several sports-related careers are available for people who do not consider themselves to be athletes. Most of these careers allow people to be close to and/or indirectly involved in the sports action. Here you can learn more about some of the available sports careers for non-athletes.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Coaches and Scouts $33,780 11%
Athletic Trainers $47,510 19%
Photographers $34,000 -6%
Radio and Television Announcers $33,220 -7% (decline)
Reporters and Correspondents $41,260 -12% (decline)
Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials $27,020 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Sports Careers for Non-Athletes

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches and scouts both interact with athletes from various sports on a regular basis and may or may not have previously participated in athletics. Coaches are responsible for leading individuals and/or teams of athletes through practices of their particular sport to prepare for games and competitions. Scouts observe and try to recruit athletes to their particular team or organization, which may include offering different types of incentives to the player. Coaches and scouts need a bachelor's degree and knowledge of the sport they work with.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers attend sporting events and typically treat athletes for various injuries and illnesses. They provide first aid and emergency care at these events as needed and work to help rehabilitate injured athletes after the fact. Athletic trainers must keep detailed records of incidents and treatment plans and ensure that they are following federal and state regulations. These professionals usually need a state license or certification and must have at least a bachelor's degree in athletic training.


Not all photographers cover sports, but some, like photojournalists, may take pictures at various sporting events for newspapers, websites, magazines and other media. Most photographers use digital cameras and edit their pictures using photo-enhancing software. They use different lighting equipment and lenses to capture quality images, as well as different photographic techniques. Some photographers, like photojournalists, need a bachelor's degree, but all photographers need a solid technical understanding of photography.

Radio and Television Announcers

Some radio and television announcers specialize in covering sports topics and/or commentating during sporting events. This may include researching topics for discussion and preparing questions to use while interviewing guests. These announcers may also be asked to appear at promotional events and/or interact with their listeners or viewers. Usually, radio and television announcers need a bachelor's degree in a communications field and an internship experience.

Reporters and Correspondents

Similar to photographers and radio and television announcers, some reporters and correspondents may specialize in covering sporting events for their audience. They may report through newspapers, websites, newscasts and other media to inform the public about a particular sporting event or news in the field. They may also conduct research and interviews for their stories, as well as checking their work for accuracy and any necessary updates as they occur. They need at least a bachelor's degree in communications or journalism and experience in the field.

Umpires, Referees and Other Sports Officials

Some referees and sports officials do need to be somewhat athletic to run and keep up with athletes during sporting events, but most do not. These officials may stand relatively still as they officiate competitions, which may include keeping time, signaling infractions, judging performances and enforcing rules of the game. Officials may also need to inspect equipment for safety and settle any complaints from the participating parties. Most of these professionals have a high school diploma and an understanding of the sport they are officiating, but education requirements vary by sport and state.

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