What Can You Do With a Master's in Sports Psychology?

Feb 27, 2018

Following the completion of a master's degree program in sports psychology, you will be prepared for a career in sports psychology, social work, teaching, and more. Take a look at job descriptions as well as key stats that might impact your career decision.

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A master's degree program in sports psychology equips you with the knowledge and skills to motivate individuals and help them create plans for meeting their goals. Here are some of the careers and salaries you can expect to find with your degree.

Master's in Sports Psychology Careers and Salaries

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Social Worker $46,890 16%
High School Teacher $58,030 8%
Coach $31,460 13%
Rehabilitation Counselor $34,670 13%
Sports Psychologist $95,710 (for psychologists, all other) 11% (for psychologists, all other)

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Descriptions for Sports Psychology Graduates

Social Worker

Social workers work with people and communities that they identify are in need. When engaging with these people, social workers help identify areas of strength and weakness in addition to support networks. Athletes, like anyone else, can suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Students who've studied sports psychology may have particular insight into mental health, human behavior, and how those are intertwined with athleticism for people involved in the sports world. Social workers can apply therapeutic approaches and develop treatment plans to help these individuals overcome the mental health issues that they might be facing.

High School Teacher

High school teachers are responsible for planning lessons and instructing students in a variety of areas. Since a master's degree in sports psychology prepares individuals to work with the public and put together plans for success, they are suited for a role instructing students in areas such as psychology. Some of the theories that individuals might learn about in a graduate sports psychology program include learning theory and the biological basis of behavior. These are applicable beyond sports psychology and can be taught in a general psychology class at the high school level.

Coach

Coaches work with athletes and help to train and motivate them to success in their specific sports. They may also be called upon to scout talent or rely on scouting talent within their organization. Coaches are responsible for planning and conducting practice sessions, identifying areas of performance that can be improved, and developing strategies to meet improvement goals. Sports psychology degree holders may be uniquely suited for the mental and social aspects of team management, since coaches often have to balance multiple personalities and get them to work together toward group success.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors are responsible for interacting with people who have a range of disabilities, be they physical, emotional, mental, or developmental. Given the psychological impact of such disabilities, sports psychologists are positioned to help motivate their clients and help develop plans that work toward specific goals. Athletes who have been injured may require help rehabilitating their injury. Counselors can apply their training toward motivating these individuals and applying appropriate techniques to help them overcome their injuries.

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists support athletes and help reduce downtime. This position focuses on building support systems for athletes and draws upon fields such as kinesiology, psychology, and motor learning. Sports psychologists are responsible for teaching individuals about how to manage mental and behavior habits in order to improve their training and sports performance. This role also includes providing psychological advice when necessary.

A degree in sports psychology positions an individual for a role as a counselor, coach, or even high school teacher. Each role requires working with a public, creating plans for meeting goals, and motivating individuals toward those goals.

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