Before any sports agent can start to negotiate contracts for their athletes, they must get certified through the sports union. It sounds like a simple enough task, but agents who want to represent skilled and athletic players in all types of professional sports have to do more than just have a passion. Prospective agents have to travel down the long path of earning an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree, or even a law degree.
The desire to get certified can be a long process, depending on how much school the individual has completed. This is why anyone wanting to represent athletes is best off knowing what they want to do in the future while they are choosing major coursework or a degree program. Here’s how agents in the sports industry get certified:
Related resource: 20 Great Small Colleges for a Degree in Sports Management
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
The very first step for future sports agents who want to get certified is to enter into the right undergraduate degree program. While no school offers an actual sports agent major, there are Sports Management programs that cover much of the topics students would need to know. Other recommended majors when studying for a Bachelor’s degree include communications, law, business, finance, accounting, and administration.
Advanced Degree Programs
A Bachelor’s degree is a minimum level of education that is needed to enter the field, but having a Master’s degree will be necessary to learn about contract law, collective bargaining and more. For those who want to compete to recruit the heavy-hitters in the industry, having a law degree is ideal. This will make you more attractive to experienced athletes and managers looking for representation.
Brushing Up on the Industry
Every professional league works differently. Agents need to possess knowledge of the sport and the ability to keep up with current sports-related news. It can take months, if not years, for an agent to gain the in-depth knowledge about the sport that they are choosing. Most future agents will begin researching publications, laws, and industry news while they are in school.
Take a Sports Agent Exam Through the Player’s Association
Before getting credentials, an agent would need to decide on the sport they will be specializing in. They will need to prepare for the exam, pay a fee, and become a member of the association representing players. The National Football League, for example, requires agents to pay a $1650 fee to sign up for the exam. Once paid, the applicant will need to schedule their tests between January 1 and January 31.
With the National Basketball Association, the rules are a bit different. Applications will need to demonstrate they meet the educational requirements and pass a background application. Once approved, they must pay agent dues of $1250 and pass a proctored written exam through the NBPA. Agents will need to maintain membership through the Players Association as long they are representing players.
Getting credentials requires applications to sit and complete a proctored exam, but the actual questions asked will depend on the sport and the association. While the cost is high to become a member and sit for the exam, the end result leads to much more opportunities to negotiate contracts for players in the league. Once certified, all agents must negotiate at least one player contract every 3 years or their credential will not renew.