Interested in a career in sports? You don’t have to be a superstar athelete to make this dream a reality! From agents and money managers to front office personnel and medical staff, sports organizations require the professional capabilities of a wide variety of individuals to run effectively. Here are some of the top 5 sports careers that every professional sports team needs!
1 - Athletic Trainer/ Medical Staff
You’ve seen them rush out onto the field when a player gets injured (or is milking a pretend injury). It’s a high pressure job - quickly determining whether a star player is fit to stay on the field, or whether they need immediate medical treatment. Athletic trainers also work to keep athletes healthy, developing personal programs that are targeted towards potential problem areas for individuals.
Make it happen: Being an athletic trainer takes a lot of hard work and requires a bachelor’s degree and special certification course. So if you want to rub elbows (or wrap elbows) with famous athletes, study hard and dedicate yourself to this rewarding career.
2 - Sports Photographer
Photography is another way to get close to the action without being an athlete (sometimes too close).
Sports photographers capture all the game action and often have the best seats in the house. How do you pursue a career in sports photography? Get out your camera now and start practicing! Volunteer to take sports action shots for your high school newspaper, because photography is all about experience.
Make it happen: You don’t need a degree to be a great photographer, but you do need to study and practice and have a great portfolio of examples!
3 - Front Office
It takes a lot of work to keep a professional sports team going, from marketing and accounting to operations and computer technicians, the front office is a busy place. If you have a deep interest in sports but aren’t the greatest ball handler, think about some of the other things you love. Pursuing a career in sports is all about being good at what you do, finding your niche and applying to the right places. After all, there are not only a lot of individual sports teams, but tons of sports. So focus in and start doing a little research. Maybe you love graphic design, in which case a job at a Sports Marketing firm might be for you. Sports marketers get to attend games and meet with cool advertisers like Coke and Sprint.
Make it happen: Different careers will have different paths, so start looking into things that interest you and think about pursuing an internship with a sports organization (whether professional team, college team, local sports, or agencies that deal with sports).
4 - Statistician
Remember MoneyBall? Well, the math behind sports is serious business. There’s lots to learn from all the data (like free throw percentages, RBIs, and more) - but first you have to understand it. That’s where Statisticians come in - you collect, organize and analyze the data so that it not only makes sense but becomes usable for your team. Sure, you might know that Bernie Williams usually hits to left field, but against left-handed pitches throwing a slider? There’s lots to understand and make sense of but it can be really rewarding for the mathematician and the team when all the numbers come together.
Make it happen: Being a statistician is hard work and requires at least a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position but advanced degrees will get you even further. So if you love math and sports, this might be the career for you (especially since demand is expected to increase by 14% by 2020).
5 - Umps/Refs
To REALLY get in on the action without being the one in the jersey, consider donning the stripes of a referee. Refs know as much about the game as anyone (if not more), and while they might not be the most loved people sometimes, they definitely earn the respect of players. So if you have a passion for the details (and we mean some of the obscure things that don’t come up often), being a ref might be the right call for you.
Make it happen: Start out by volunteering at local sports leagues in whichever sport you love the most and work your way up!