Coach/ManagerMedian Salary: $28,340
Even the most talented athletes need a capable leader, which is the role of the coach. Athletes in team and individual sports have coaches, and those at the highest level are sometimes as recognizable as their pupils.
The profession ranges from those at the pinnacle, paid in the millions, to part-timers. Many high school coaches, for example, are also teachers. Others still are volunteers at the youth sports level.1 of 10
Event CoordinatorMedian Salary: $45,260
A sporting event is just one facet of the moment. Someone is responsible for overseeing the various other details to ensure that the game, match or race goes off without a hitch.
An event coordinator behind the scenes operates like a coach on the field, directing the implementation of strategies related to seating, security and media accommodation.2 of 10
Physical TherapistMedian Salary: $76,310
To address the aches and pains of rigorous physical exertion, teams employ physical therapists specialized in athletic training.
Sports physical therapy is one of the areas of specialization in which the American Board of Physical Therapy offers certification.
University programs designed specifically for sports psychical therapists appear on campuses around the nation, including Ohio State, which hosts one of the more prominent residency programs in the field.3 of 10
Public Relations ManagerMedian Salary: $57,550
The high profile world of professional sports can open its figures to public scrutiny. A good publicist manages crises quickly and effectively to protect the image – and sometimes privacy – of a client.4 of 10
PhotojournalistMedian Salary: $29,130
There are images from the sports world that are iconic entries into the tapestry of Americana; take Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston. The outlets at which a sports photojournalist can work vary. The struggles of the newspaper and magazine industries limit options, but many sports organizations themselves hire photographers professionally. Online outlets generally use wire services like the Associated Press and Getty Images, both of which hire full-time and freelance photojournalists.5 of 10
StatisticianMedian Salary: $72,830
Statistics play a vital role in sports, but in the last decade have had an unprecedented high profile thanks to the book and movie Moneyball.
Advanced statistical metrics are gaining popularity in sports beyond baseball, creating an entirely new niche for the mathematically inclined. Statisticians’ increased prominence is seen in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which was founded in 2006 and has attracted such noteworthy speakers as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.6 of 10
BroadcasterMedian Salary: $36,000
Events are disseminated to the homes of millions through TV, radio and online outlets. The elite in the field are household names. The most high profile of sports broadcasters can earn paychecks comparable to the athletes they cover. Conversely, there are those dedicated to the craft, working their way up on local radio broadcasts earning a paltry per-game stipend, but with the dream of reaching the big time.7 of 10
Advertising Account ExecutiveMedian Salary: $ 45,350
Advertising dollars keep sporting events beaming into our homes, and the advertising account executives working behind the scenes are handling some hefty ledgers. Demand for their skills is high, and compensation can easily exceed six figures annually.8 of 10
Sport PsychologistMedian Salary: $68,640* (BLS average for general psychology)
Sport psychologists assist athletes with a variety of issues directly related to performance, including kinesiology and mental preparation.9 of 10
AgentMedian Salary: $64,790
Sports agents negotiate parameters of their clients’ contracts and endorsement deals. But agent Leigh Steinberg added another responsibility to the agent’s workload in a Forbes column last year:
“Agents also have a responsibility to help build the sports of the players they represent. Professional sports [are] not a vital life necessity like food or transportation. Sports depend on the support of fans who choose to spend revenue on products and attend and watch games.”
State bar certification and a law degree are helpful, though requirements vary depending on organization. The National Football League Players Association, for example, will grant waivers for agents looking to break in but lacking a postgraduate degree. Seven years of negotiating experience is required, however.10 of 10