By: SMDG Staff
Sports management is an exciting field for business savvy individuals with passion for sports related majors. After earning sports bachelor degrees, sport management professionals have what it takes to support the industry. They work in roles related to:
- public relations
- physical fitness
- data science
Sport management is a great career for entrepreneurs, photographers, data analysts, and physical fitness buffs. They may also serve in leadership roles in health clubs, healthcare settings, or rehabilitation facilities. While earning a bachelor’s in sport management makes sense for some individuals in the field, there are many other bachelor’s sports degree options out there for students planning a career in sports management. We created this list of the 20 best bachelor’s degrees in sport majors for future sport management professionals. This list can serve as a starting point as you explore the various options in these sports majors in college toward a career in sports management. We also showcase some of the best schools for each sport degree to help you with your search for the right program.
Related Resource: What is an Exercise Physiologist?
#20 – Bachelor’s in Recreation Therapy
Earning a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy is a great choice for future sports management professionals who want to help people with specific health conditions improve their quality of life through leisure activities. Recreational therapists may manage or lead treatment programs in hospitals, nursing homes, or rec centers for individuals with injuries or disabilities. They must recertify every five years. Course offerings may include:
- animal assisted therapy
- aquatic therapy
- relaxation and stress management
Most bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of recreational therapy is expected to grow by 10 percent from through 2030. In 2020, the median annual wage for recreational therapists was $47,710, per the BLS. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification certifies recreation therapists as Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists. To become certified, therapists need to have a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a closely related area, complete an internship, and pass a national certification examination.
Grand Valley State University-BS in Recreational Therapy
The BS in Recreational Therapy from Grand View State University meets the standards of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Grand Valley offers a nationally recognized curriculum. It is taught by experienced faculty. Students are engaged in service learning throughout the program. The recreational therapy program takes four years of coursework and a one semester internship to complete.
University of Toledo-BS in Recreational Therapy
The University of Toledo offers the only accredited bachelor’s in recreation therapy in the state of Ohio. The program emphasis hands-on education and graduates leave the program job-ready. Courses taken during the final two years of the program are online. All students choose a program track from options like:
- therapeutic arts
Clinical experiences are available all over the country in various settings.
Related Resource: 10 Best Online Masters in Parks and Recreation Management
#19 – Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science
The field of exercise science focuses on the study of human movement in the context of physical fitness. Future sports management professionals with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science have advanced knowledge and skills for positions like:
- fitness educator
- performance coach
- exercise instructor
- certified personal trainer
- fitness center manager
- gym owner
Bachelor’s degree programs may include courses in human anatomy, physiology, psychology, and biomechanics. Programs may be offered online or on-campus and usually take four years to complete. Students with management aspirations should choose courses in a complimentary area like business, communications, and leadership. Internships and hands-on training are a valuable part of many programs. Students new to the field should take advantage of these opportunities to gain professional experience and boost their resume. The health and fitness centers industry is valued at over $96 billion globally. As more people turn to exercise to improve overall health, the demand for exercise science professionals like exercise physiologists is expected to increase by 13 percent through 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That amounts to over 2,400 new job openings in the field available to those with the right education and skill sets. Earning certifications through expert organizations can help boost a resume and make graduates more marketable.
Loyola University-BS Exercise Science
The Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health at Loyola University Chicago offers an affordable bachelor’s in exercise science. Students will develop skills in fitness assessment, evaluate health behaviors, and write exercise prescriptions. Loyola also offers a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program in exercise science. This dual degree program allows students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degree in just five years.
Grand Canyon University-Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science-Sports Performance
The College of Science, Engineering, and Technology at Grand Canyon University features a unique bachelor’s in exercise science with an emphasis in sports performance that is recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as one of their Education Recognition Programs. Core courses cover areas like:
- exercise physiology
- resistance training
Students have the opportunity to learn how to use state-of-the-art laboratory devices found in top training centers around the globe.
Related Resource: 20 Best Online Masters in Kinesiology and Exercise Science
#18 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management
Sports are big business. SIGNA Sports United and Boston Consulting Group shared a report predicting the value of the global sports market today is $1.1 trillion. Future sport management professionals with a natural ability to lead others should consider pursuing a bachelor’s in sport management. Top bachelor degree programs in sport management are offered online or on-campus. This makes it easy for working students and adult learners to earn their degree in an affordable way. Courses cover a variety of key sport management areas including:
- sport marketing
- sports administration
Many programs include an internship or practicum experience which can connect students to the field and help them build a professional network. Full-time students can earn their degree in about four years. Accelerated bachelors to master’s degree programs are available that allow students to complete both sports degrees in college in a shortened time period. This saves both time and money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for entertainment and sports occupations is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2030, resulting in an additional 160,600 jobs. The median salary for this group was $47,080 in 2020, which is higher than the median wage for all other occupations. Sport management professionals have a skill set that is in demand in a variety of areas including:
Judson University -Bachelor’s in Sport Management
Judson University offers a best value bachelor’s in sport management through their Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Students can customize their degree by choosing a minor or selecting elective coursework that align with their professional goals. Experiential learning opportunities are built into every course. Variable credit internship opportunities help students pursue a seamless route to employment after graduation.
Northern Illinois University -BS in Sport Management
The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University offers a low cost bachelor’s in sport management with rich, innovative experiences. Students can add value to their degree by choosing to pursue a unique minor in sports sales. Course offerings include:
- sport management strategies
- legal and ethical aspects of sport
- finance in the sport industry
Students can also complete an internship, giving a boost to their resume.
Related Resource: What Does A Sports Nutritionist Do?
#17 – Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training
Athletic training is an allied health care profession focused on the prevention, examination, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries or medical conditions. They are multi-skilled health care professionals who work as part of a health care team team. To become an athletic trainer, individuals complete an athletic training major in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and pass the Board of Certification Exam. Coursework typically covers areas like:
Students receive clinical instruction in areas like taping and bracing, therapeutic modalities like rehab plans and healing injuries, strength condition practices, and orthopedic evaluation and assessment. Clinical experiences allow students to work closely with certified athletic trainers as they develop their clinical skills. Athletic training major programs also prepare students for graduate school in athletic training. Athletic trainers work in a variety of settings including:
- fitness centers
- physician offices
Some are employed directly by professional sports teams or work independently as a consultant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for athletic trainers is expected to grow by 23 percent through 2030 which is much faster than average. The Athletic Training Strategic Alliance has decided that athletic trainers will need a master’s degree to be eligible to sit for the certification exam. Bachelor’s degree programs in athletic training will prepare students for graduate school and give students a strong foundation.
Alfred University -BS in Athletic Training
Alfred University features a CAATE accredited bachelor’s in athletic training. The program emphasizes areas like:
- injury prevention and care
- ethical evaluation
All students complete a built in minor in exercise science. The student to faculty ratio is kept low to foster professional relationships.
Limestone University -Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences-Pre-Athletic Training
Limestone University features a top BS in pre-athletic training. The program was created for students planning to pursue graduate school in athletic training. Students complete a common core set of classes while choosing elective courses that align with their intended profession.
Related Resource: What is the Salary Potential of an Athletic Trainer?
#16 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Marketing
Sports marketing comes in two forms. There are sport marketing professionals who promote sports and sporting events. The other form uses sports to promote or sell products or services. Athletes are often used in marketing campaigns for everything from fast food to sneakers. We hear about major events like the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby months before they are held. It’s the responsibility of sport marketing professionals to use the principles of marketing to promote brand awareness, influence consumers, and promote events. Students can expect to take courses in sport promotion, sport communication, and business. Some programs include a practicum or internship experience that allows students to gain valuable hands-on training. Marketing managers with a background in sports are in demand. The job outlook for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is expected to increase by 10 percent through 2030, an increase of almost 32,000 jobs. Future sports management professionals with a bachelor’s degree in sport marketing are well suited to work on marketing campaigns with:
- professional athletes
- professional sports teams
- advertising agencies
- clothing and footwear companies
- sporting facilities
University of Northwestern Ohio -Bachelor of Science in Sports Marketing and Media
The Sports Marketing BS at the University of Northwestern Ohio emphasizes the development of management, business, and leadership skills. Students gain a strong understanding of the business of sport from industry professionals. Course offerings include sport communication, services marketing, and sport marketing.
Indiana University Bloomington -Bachelor of Science in Sports Marketing and Management
The School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington offers a high quality bachelor’s in sports marketing. The program includes foundational coursework in both sport and business. Students complete a practicum or internship experience to build their resume. The Indiana University Sport Marketing Alliance, a student led organization, is a great resource for professional development opportunities and networking.
Related Resource: What is the Sport Marketing Association (SMA)?
#15 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine
Sports medicine professionals work with individuals of all ages to improve physical fitness and treat and prevent injuries. It’s important to note that sports medicine professionals do not work exclusively with athletes. They work with individuals with physically demanding jobs, active kids and youth, and adults who want to improve their overall health through physical fitness. Sports medicine bachelor’s degree programs can be a great choice for students planning to pursue programs in medicine, health sciences, and physical or occupational therapy. Students can complete their Bachelor’s in Sports Medicine before moving on to master’s degree programs to become a physician assistant or occupational therapist. Students planning on a career in exercise and sport science can also benefit from completing a sport science program and earning a Bachelor’s in Sports Medicine. Coursework can cover areas like:
- neuroscience and motor control
- musculoskeletal anatomy and kinesiology
- motor development and learning
Students develop critical thinking skills and abilities to make effective decisions regarding the health and wellness of athletes. Sports medicine professionals such as an exercise physiologist are in demand, with the BLS predicting a 13 percent growth through 2030. While entry level positions typically require a bachelor’s degree, many sport medicine degree holders continue their studies to become occupational therapists or physician assistants.
Colorado State University -BS in Health and Exercise Science-Sports Medicine Concentration
Colorado State University features a sports medicine bachelor’s degree program for students planning to further their studies in exercise physiology or pre-medicine. Students take rigorous, science based coursework in areas like kinesiology and biomechanics. The courses prepare them for advanced studies. Hands-on learning opportunities are available through labs, a capstone experience, and an optional internship experience.
University of North Georgia -BS in Kinesiology with a Sports Medicine Concentration
The sports medicine concentration at the University of North Georgia prepares students for graduate school in a variety of careers including athletic training and physical therapy. Courses cover areas like biomechanics, exercise testing, and kinesiology. Students participate in a semester-long internship experience in their chosen health care setting. This gives them a distinct advantage when applying to grad school.
Related Resource: What Types of Jobs Are There In Sports Medicine?
#14 – Bachelor’s Degree in Facility Management
Facilities management is commonly thought of as the management of physically build environments. In the context of sport facilities management, this would include stadiums, multi-sport complexes, fitness centers, and community recreation facilities. Facilities management professionals are involved in planning, designing, and maintaining these facilities. Facility management is a valuable degree for future sports management professionals who want to oversee the physical features of:
- large health clubs
- ball parks
- college athletic facilities
Facilities management can also be a great choice for sports enthusiasts who want to work as construction planners or building analysts. Coursework is usually offered in architecture, project management, interior design, business, social sciences, and engineering. Students should look for programs that are hands-on, requiring them to engage in projects and activities under the supervision of an experienced facilities management professional. According to the BLS, the demand for administrative services and facilities managers is expected to grow by nine percent through 2026, which is faster than average. The 2020 median pay for a professional in administrative services and facilities management is $98,890. Earning a professional certification in facilities management such as the Certified Facility Manager, the Facility Management Professional certification, or the Sustainable Facilities Professional Certificate can boost a resume and stand out from the competition.
SUNY Delhi -Bachelor of Technology in Facilities Management
SUNY Delhi offers a Bachelor of Technology in Facilities Management for students who want to manage large facilities. Courses cover areas like building codes, law and contracting, and space management. Courses are taught by faculty with years of industry experience. Students complete an extensive internship experience (one semester and one summer) that prepares them for a successful career in facility management.
Grace College -Bachelor’s in Facility and Event Management
Grace College features an affordable bachelor’s degree in facilities management taught with a biblical worldview. Students get real world experience and participate in internship opportunities with organizations like Notre Dame and multiple branding companies. The program is a good fit for students who are natural problem solvers and multitaskers who want a professional career in facilities management.
Related Resource: Job Profile: Sports Facility Director
#13 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Psychology
Sport psychology uses the principles of psychology to help athletes and teams improve their performance on and off the court. An athletes’ mindset can make or break their performance, so their mental well-being is critical to their success. Earning a bachelor’s in sport psychology gives students the broad understanding of the mental factors that influence an athlete’s behavior and performance. Since sport psychology professionals can work with athletes of all ages and levels, programs typically offer courses in child, adolescent, and adult psychology as well as motivational processes and ethics. Future sports management professionals help athletes build focus, perform better under pressure, and recover and return to their sport quicker after an injury. They use contemporary psychology theories to teach athletes how to reduce anxiety, deal with setbacks, and stay mentally strong. Most programs can be completed in four years. Most programs include an internship experience or capstone project. Many graduates use this degree as a stepping-stone for graduate work in psychology or kinesiology. Other paths for graduates with their bachelor’s in sport psychology include roles in:
- social service
- community organizations
- performing arts
The demand for psychologists is expected to grow by 8% through 2030, or about as fast as average. While it takes a doctorate degree to become a licensed psychologist, future sport management professionals with a bachelor’s in sport psychology are well prepared to work in a variety of areas including:
- sport clinics
- health clubs
- recreation centers
- rehabilitation facilities
Graduates should take advantage of professional development opportunities and industry trainings if they plan to advance to leadership positions.
Adams State University -Bachelor’s in Sport Psychology
The best value bachelor’s in sport psychology from Adams State University teaches students how to apply psychological and physical activity principles in the context of human performance. Students will learn strategies that can improve athlete performance, facilitate psychological growth and enhance overall well-being. Graduates are prepared for graduate study or careers in clinical, research, or educational settings.
Faulkner University -Online BS in Sports Psychology
The top online bachelor’s in sports psychology from Faulkner University features a faith based curriculum and personalized instruction. Faulkner offers a variety of unique sport management electives covering areas like performance management and appraisal, conflict management, and individual and dual sports. Graduates are prepared for roles as fitness instructors, rehab assistants, and athletic counselor.
Related Resource: 20 Best Online Master’s in Sports Psychology Degree Programs
#12 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Nutrition
Athletes must be in top physical condition to achieve peak performance. Many athletes recognize the important role nutrition plays in achieving their performance goals. Proper sports nutrition can make a positive impact on strength, performance, and recovery. Sport nutrition professionals work in research laboratories, corporate wellness centers, rehabilitation clinics, and nutrition and health food retail establishments. They help athletes optimize their performance through diet and supplements. Students learn how to assess the unique nutritional needs of athletes and make recommendations. They may take complimentary courses in areas like athletic training, exercise science, and psychology. Most programs can be completed in four years of full-time study. Students interested in becoming a registered dietician will need to make sure the courses they take qualify them for a post-baccalaureate internship. Graduates may pursue a master’s degree program in sports nutrition, athletic training, or another allied health area. As the pressure for athletes to perform at their best grows, they are using nutrition to gain more energy, build muscle mass, and boost brain power. According to the BLS, the demand for dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase by 11 percent through 2030, which is faster than most other occupations. The median pay for professionals with a bachelor’s degree is $63,090/year.
University of Nevada Las Vegas -BS in Nutrition Sciences-Sports Nutrition
UNLV features a high value bachelors in sport nutrition. This concentration includes courses from both nutrition and kinesiology. Students will meet the requirements for the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics which is needed for students planning to become a registered dietician.
Kansas State University -Bachelor’s in Sports Nutrition
The sports nutrition bachelor’s degree from K State focuses on nutrition related to sport and human performance. Students can choose to supplement their nutrition coursework with courses that can lead to certification in areas like personal training or strength and conditioning. Working students will appreciate the selection of courses offered online. Undergraduate research opportunities are available.
Related Resource: How Can I Get a Job as a Sports Nutritionist?
#11 – Bachelor’s in Sports Communication
Sports communication is a flexible field with professionals reporting live, front and center, as well as working behind the scenes to pull together a major production. They are needed in almost every area of sport from exercise gyms to e-sports to gambling. People get their sports news and information from a variety of sources. The need for communication professionals who understand sports and their specific audiences is growing. Future sports management professionals with a sports bachelor’s degree in sports communication have the skills needed to effectively communicate about sports and sport related issues using correct terminology and context. Programs may offer specialized coursework in areas like media research, sport culture, social media strategies, sports operations and logistics, and broadcast journalism. Many programs offer internships that provide students with valuable hands-on training as part of a communication team. Programs may be offered in a traditional on-campus format or through distance learning. Most programs take four years to complete. Graduates with their bachelor’s degree in sports communication are prepared for entry level management and leadership positions. They are well positioned for career advancement opportunities. Earning a bachelor’s specializing in sport communication can make you more competitive in the job market since graduates are able to use a variety of methods and techniques to communicate about sports. Communication and media occupations are expected to grow by 14 percent through 2030 resulting in 151,500 new jobs according to the BLS. The median annual wage is reported to be $61,310 as of 2020, which is higher than the median wage for other occupations.
Florida Southern College -BS in Sports Communication and Marketing
The BS in sports communication and marketing from Florida Southern College is a hands-on program with cutting edge facilities. Students will learn how to use HD video equipment and state of the art production software in Florida Southern’s newly renovated facilities. Graduates have the skills needed to cover large sporting events.
Bradley University -Bachelor’s in Sports Communication
Bradley University features a high quality Bachelor’s in Sports Communication that gets students involved in hands-on training beginning in their first semester. Required courses cover areas like journalistic writing, digital journalism, and sports promotion. Students can complete a professional internship, boosting their resume and giving them the skills they need in the workplace.
Related Resource: What is Sports Communications?
#10 – Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Broadcasting
There have been many iconic sports broadcasters throughout history. Pat Summerall, Jim Nanz, and Al Michaels are some of the greats who brought sports to life and helped us make sense of what was happening on the field. Sport enthusiasts rely on sports broadcasting professionals to share information about games and events in real-time when they can’t be there in person. Sport broadcasters are good commentators. They communicate with their audience by telling a story. Earning a Bachelor’s in Sports Broadcasting can give students the skills and training needed to effectively present information in a unique way, speak clear and concise, and communicate through a variety of media. Coursework in sports broadcasting can include journalism and multimedia storytelling, voice training, and live presentation. Students learn how to do effective sports play-by-play, remote sports production, management, and audience research. Future sports management professionals interested in broadcasting should complete an internship experience. Working with other sports broadcasting professionals can help students better understand their role in film, television, and digital media. The BLS reports that median pay for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts is $49,300/year. Sports broadcasting is extremely competitive, and employers look for workers with experience. College students should take advantage of opportunities to work for their college radio or TV station.
Dean College -Bachelor’s in Sports Broadcasting
The Bachelor’s in Sports Broadcasting from Dean College gives students the skills needed to be fully immersed in the multibillion dollar and entertainment industry. Students will learn what it takes to conduct play-by-play, color commentary, and create radio and podcasts. Every course has a built in practical application, giving students valuable hands-on training.
Louisiana State University of Alexandria -Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with concentration in Sports Broadcasting
LSUA features a cost effective Bachelor’s in Communication Studies with a concentration in Sports Broadcasting that fully prepares students for a career in sports broadcasting. Students gain hands-on experience while working on live television and internet broadcasts for LSUA athletics. A complete broadcasting truck is available for students to learn how to run cameras and audio while broadcasting home games.
Related Resource: Job Profile: Sports Broadcaster
#9 – Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations
Image is everything and how an athlete or a team is perceived by the public is critical. From managing and disseminating information related to personal conflicts and achievements to injuries and illnesses, public relations professionals play a necessary role in sport. Future sport management professionals who earn a bachelor’s degree in public relations know what information to share and how to share it with the public. Courses typically found in bachelor’s degree PR programs include:
- electronic public relations
- strategic relations
- effective writing
- business and economic foundations
Students should complete an internship or practicum experience to get experience working in a variety of PR settings. PR is a competitive field, so students adding a minor in a complimentary field like communications, marketing, or advertising can have an edge over the competition when entering the job market. Many programs are offered to both full and part-time students. Most programs can be completed in four years of full-time study although part-time students will take longer. With a bachelor’s degree in public relations, students can work in a variety of different settings including professional sports, talent agencies, newspapers, television station and universities. They may represent PR firms, teams, or individuals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the public relations industry will grow by 11% by the year 2030. A bachelor’s degree in public relations can give future sports professionals the knowledge and skills to be able to strategically share accurate information in a professional manner between athletes, teams, and organizations with the public.
Illinois State University -Bachelor’s in Public Relations
The public relations major at Illinois State University prepares students to work in both public and private organizations, helping them develop and maintain positive relationships with the public. The program is the first in the state to earn Certification in Education for Public Relations from the Pubic Relations Society of America.
Tulane University -Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations
The Tulane School of Professional Advancement features a high quality bachelor’s in public relations offered on-campus or in a campus/online hybrid model. Students will develop job-ready skills that lead to rewarding careers. Courses are taught by industry experts with experience in public relations and digital media marketing.
Related Resource: What Public Relations Jobs in Sports are Available?
#8 – Bachelor’s Degree in Photography
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In sports, a picture can also be very lucrative. Iconic sports images can go for thousands of dollars. Sports photographers capture the essence of the game. The intricate details of the play and emotions of the athletes. The need for highly skilled photographers in the sports industry is obvious. Earning a bachelor’s degree in photography is a great fit for future sports management professionals with a keen eye for detail. Photography bachelor’s degree programs offer coursework in digital imaging, studio photography, digital art, equipment use, and editing. Students should look for a curriculum that’s hands on, so students get experience and perfect their technique. Sport photography students should try and get experience taking pictures of various sports in different settings to get an understanding of the type of movement that photographs best for each sport.
Sport photographers can work independently as freelance photographers who managing their own business, or work for newspapers, magazines, or websites. Sport photographers can also work in advertising to capture and edit images to use for marketing campaigns or branding. The median pay rate for a photographer is $41,280 according to the BLS. The job outlook is excellent with an expected growth of 17% through 2030.
Southern New Hampshire University -Online Bachelor’s in Digital Photography
The affordable online bachelor’s in digital photography from Southern New Hampshire University focuses on different aspects of the profession to help students be more marketable in the field. Students will learn technical skills in digital camera operation, editing, and lighting. At the end of the program, students have a professional portfolio they can use to gain clients or advance their career.
Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University -Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
Kendall College of Art and Design and Ferris State University features a cutting edge bachelor’s in photography. Students will use traditional and state of the art equipment to explore a variety of processes and techniques. This comprehensive program emphasizes both the fine art and commercial aspects of photography. This unique mix gives students a well rounded education and prepares them for a variety of exciting career opportunities.
Related Resource: Can I Earn a Specialized Sports Marketing Degree?
#7 – Bachelor’s Degree in Event Management
It’s no secret that sporting events attract a crowd. The U.S. Travel Association reported that in 2018, over 150 million people attended professional sporting events across the five major sports leagues. While professional sports teams fill arenas, sporting events at the lower levels still draw a crowd. Wintergreen Research determined the youth-sports industry was a $17 billion market and continues to grow. Event management professionals are needed at all levels of sport to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible. Earning a Bachelor’s in Event Management can help future sports management professionals by providing students with the business skills and abilities needed to plan, organize, and deliver safe sporting events. Students will learn how to properly manager events from a local softball tournament to large scale productions like the Super Bowl. Coursework may cover areas like food service management, convention management, and HR management. These programs typically take four-years to complete and may include internship or practicum experiences that give students hands-on training. Graduates can find employment opportunities with:
- community sport organizations
- event production companies
- consulting firms
- convention centers
It takes a cohesive team of event managers and planners to successfully pull together a sporting event. The BLS reports that the job outlook for meeting, convention, and event planners is expected to grow by 18 percent through 2030, which is much faster than average. The median pay for planners with a bachelor’s degree was $51,560 in 2020. Experienced sports event managers can earn significantly more as they manage larger teams and coordinate bigger events.
Concordia University-Ann Arbor -BS in Hospitality and Event Management
Concordia University Ann Arbor offers a BS in Hospitality and Event Management through the Department of Sport and Hospitality Business. Students will work with a network of industry professionals to gain a real-world perspective on the industry. Event management courses cover areas like concessions, catering and vendor strategies. Guest speakers and field experiences allow students to get a feel for the industry. A competitive internship program allows students to gain hands on experience working with professional event planners and marketing communication companies.
Kent State University -Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Event Management
Kent State University features the only four-year program in Ohio accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. They offer a Bachelor’s in Hospitality and Event Management Sport, Event, and Hospitality Management that gives students foundational knowledge in hospitality operations. Students in the event management program will learn how to plan and manage small and large events while following protocols and ensuring safety.
Related Resource: Job Profile: Sporting Event Planner/Coordinator
#6 – Bachelor’s in Sports Journalism
Sports journalists report on sporting events and information online, in print, over the radio, and on television. They also follow leads and research players and stats. They may manage a team or an athlete’s social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to tell their story. Earning a bachelor’s degree in sport journalism can give students skills in television studio production, understand ethical principles in the industry, and refine their digital production skills. Sport journalism programs are usually four-year degrees. Students without industry experience should look for a program offering an internship or practicum to gain hands-on training in a professional work environment. Coursework covers several different types of media including news writing, studio production, and digital production. Sport journalism is an incredibly competitive field and graduates need to stand out from the competition to score the best jobs. Graduates should be familiar with all aspects of media including online, print, broadcast, photography, and mobile. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent job growth through 2030. The median pay in 2020 for news analysts, reporters, and journalists was $49,300 per year.
DePaul University -BA in Sports Communication-Sports Journalism
The College of Communication at DePaul University features a sports journalism bachelor’s degree program that prepares students for success in the fast-changing world of sports media. Courses are taught by professional journalists who have worked with organizations like ESPN and FOX Sports. Graduates have the skills needed to work in TV, radio, print, and digital outlets.
University of Missouri -Bachelor’s in Journalism
With a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, students can get a jump start on their career by their senior year. Students staff six professional newsrooms while completing their degree. They gain hands on training and experience in sport journalism from industry experts. Graduates are working for top sport organizations like ESPN, MLB.com, and Sports Illustrated.
Related Resource: What is the Best Degree for Becoming a Sports Journalist?
#5 – Bachelor’s in Sports Media
Sports media is a broad field covering broadcasting and reporting sports in the media. We rely on sports media professionals to share what is happening on and off the field. Sports media professionals work on the field to give us real time info on what’s happening, sharing their observations with the world. They also work off the field in roles like sports editor, public relations manager, or in media relations. To learn the skills and strategies needed for success in sports media, future sport management professionals can earn a Bachelor’s in Sports Media. These programs offer technical training and provide students with the communication skills needed to effectively develop content and share the information with fans. Schools may offer specializations in areas like strategic communications, sports production, or multimedia journalism. When choosing a program, it’s important to find one with hands-on training and/or professional development opportunities that can boost a resume. Relevant coursework and specialized technical training can make graduates more marketable in the field. Programs are available online and in a traditional campus-based format. The field of media and communications is expected to grow by 14 percent through 2030 according to the BLS. Popular positions available include announcers, correspondents, video technicians, and social media reporters. The median annual wage was $61,310 as of May 2020.
Indiana University Bloomington -BA in Media-Sports Media
Indiana University features a high value bachelor’s degree in sports media focused on how media communication works in the world of sports. Students are able to apply their knowledge through hands-on learning opportunities offered throughout the program. Students develop skills desired by employers, giving them a competitive edge over the competition.
Franklin Pierce University -Bachelor’s in Sports Media
The high quality sport media bachelor’s degree program from Franklin Pierce University gives students a strong foundation in media studies and marketing in the context of sports. Students will gain the skills needed for entry level roles in minor league clubs or college athletics while building their network to work their way up to high-visibility coaching careers.
Related Resource: What Social Media Jobs are Available With a Sports Management Degree?
#4 – Bachelor’s in Sports Analytics
In 2003, Michael Lewis published a book called Moneyball: The Art of Willing an Unfair Game. The story describes the Oakland Athletics 2002 season. Facing a small budget, the team used an advanced analytical approach to assemble a competitive baseball team that could compete with teams with a much bigger budget. The book was turned into a movie in 2011 and went on to win six Academy Awards. Our obsession with analytics in sports has continued to grow beyond the usual scores, the touchdowns, yards, bases, errors, outs, hits, and runs. Sports organizations want analysts on their team to create a competitive advantage.
Earning a Bachelor’s in Sports Analytics can open the door to a successful career as a sports analyst. These programs teach students how to make sense of a vast amount of data, determine what is relevant, and improve the performance of both individuals and teams. Courses cover areas like:
- database management
- price theory
Internships may be offered to give students valuable industry experience. Most Bachelor’s in Sport Analytics programs can be completed in four years of full-time study. Sports analysts should have a good grasp of the game and understand the data being analyzed. Graduates can work as consultants or with professional sports teams or organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for mathematicians and statisticians is expected to grow by 33 percent through 2030. That is much faster than average. Sport analysts can usually find employment after completion of a bachelor’s degree program and hands-on training.
Rice University -Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Sport Management and a Major Concentration in Sport Analytics
Rice University offers an exciting bachelor’s in sport analytics that teaches students how to analyze sport data to help make business decisions. Students will learn a variety of different data science tools and models. They will explore areas like computational thinking and advanced sport analytics. Students complete a semester-long research project as their capstone experience while also hearing from industry professionals engaged in cutting edge research.
Appalachian State University -Bachelor’s in Mathematics with a Certificate in Sports Analytics
Appalachian State University features a 15 credit hour Certificate in Sports Analytics. The degree can be earned in conjunction with a bachelor’s in mathematics. Students will study:
- data management and visualization
- statistical modeling
- economics in sport
Students can also complete an internship specifically related to analytics, gaining valuable hands-on training.
Related Resource: What is Sports Analytics?
#3 – Bachelor’s Degree in Coaching
John Wooden said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” A coach has the natural ability and cultivated skills that can take their athletes and teams to the next level. Earning a bachelor’s in coaching is a great option for future sport professionals who want to train and motivate athletes at all levels. The National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education has a voluntary accreditation program for institutions offering degrees in coaching. While certification is not required, schools with NCACE certification offer a program that aligns with the National Standards for Sport Coaches.
Effective coaches need to have strong soft skills in communication, active listening, and motivation. They also need to be focused and help their athletes set goals. The best coaching bachelor’s degree programs offer courses that strengthen these soft skills while emphasizing the technical piece of coaching. Coaches need to understand the rules and regulations of their sport. They may also work as part of a team to develop appropriate strength and conditioning regimens. Experience is key when it comes to career advancement in coaching. Students should start earning certifications and gain experience in the area they want to coach while still in school. According to the BLS, coaches in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree have a median pay of $36,330/year. Coaches are found at every level of sport, from little league through the professional level. Pay can vary dramatically by the amount of experience a coach has under their belt.
University of the Cumberlands -Online Bachelor’s in Coaching
The affordable online bachelor’s in coaching from the University of the Cumberlands is a comprehensive program for students who want to hone their talents and expand their professional coaching skills. Courses are taught by industry experts. They help students customize the program to meet their professional goals.
The University of Memphis -BSEd in Sport Coaching
The University of Memphis offers a cost effective Bachelor’s in Sport Coaching for students working with athletes in both individual and team sports. Courses cover areas like exercise physiology, motor behavior, and sports officiating techniques. All students complete a professional internship experience. This prepares them for success in the workplace.
Related Resource: 20 Best Online Masters in Sports Coaching
#2 – Bachelor’s Degree in Parks and Recreation Management
A Bachelor’s in Parks and Recreation Management is an excellent choice for future sport management professionals interested in enhancing the quality of life for members of their community. Parks and recreation professionals provide meaningful recreation opportunities to populations of all ages and abilities. Parks and rec management bachelor’s degree programs are offered in traditional on-campus settings or online. Programs may offer hands-on or interactive learning opportunities through field work or internships. Students who complete an internship will gain valuable professional work experience that can look great on a resume. Course offerings usually include recreation and tourism, outdoor adventure activities, leisure diversity and culture, natural resources, and special event programming. Popular concentration areas include therapeutic recreation, natural resources recreation management, or tourism and resort recreation.
There are several certifications available through the National Recreation and Park Association including:
- Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP)- Available for beginning to mid-level parks and recreation professionals
- Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)- The industry leading certification for those responsible for playground safety
- Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE)- The national standard for parks and recreation professionals at the management level
- Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO)- The premier certification for swimming pool operators
There is certainly room for advancement in the field of parks and rec management. While many entry level positions are part-time or seasonal and require only a high school diploma or on the job training, supervisory or management level roles typically require a bachelor’s degree. The BLS reports that recreation jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 16 percent through 2030, which is much faster than average. While the median pay for recreation workers is $28,440/year, the highest 10% of workers earned over $46,510/year.
University of Florida -BS in Tourism, Event and Recreation Management
The University of Florida features a budget friendly bachelor’s in tourism, event and recreation management. Courses are highly interactive and include class projects, internship opportunities and field experiences. Graduates typically pursue career opportunities in areas like public recreation and tourism.
University of Utah -BA/BS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah offers an innovative bachelor’s in parks, recreation, and tourism with three areas of emphasis to choose from. Students can focus on:
- commercial, community and sport management
- sustainable tourism and hospitality management
- outdoor recreation studies
All students complete a supervised field experience through a supervised internship.
Related Resource: 5 Lucrative Careers in Parks and Recreation Management
#1 – Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration
Sports are big business. North America accounted for 35% of the global sports market in 2020. Demand is high for business savvy professionals who can navigate this rapidly growing industry. A bachelor’s degree in business management gives future sport management professionals a strong foundation in:
Internships may be offered to give students hands-on training and skill development. Graduates are prepared to join the workforce in entry level business roles or continue to graduate studies and earn an MBA. The best business programs are very competitive. Applicants should have strong references, good grades in all previously completed undergraduate work and excellent references.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, business is the most popular major in college. Earning a bachelor’s degree in business management is a great choice for future sport management professionals. Business students develop a solid foundation of sound business and management principles that will help them be successful in a variety of different sport management fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for those working in business and finance is $72,250/year. The industry is projected to grow by 5% through 2029.
New York University Stern -BS in Business
NYU Stern features a high quality BS in business that provides students with a well rounded education. Students can choose from 13 different business concentration areas to specialize their degree. The Social Impact Core takes a deep dive into the impact of business on society. The International Studies Program allows students to explore business on a global level.
The University of Texas at Austin -Bachelor of Business Administration
The top value Texas McCombs Bachelor of Business Administration program is highly customizable with over 10 majors to choose from. Courses are taught by award winning faculty. Students work closely with academic and peer advisors throughout the program to achieve academic success.
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