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Five Career Paths for High School Athletes to Consider

Career Options for High School Athletes

  • Professional Sports
  • High School Athletic Director
  • Fitness Trainer
  • Sports Gear Developer
  • Business Leadership Positions

Involvement in competitive sports at an early age may help establish interesting career paths for high school athletes. Student-athletes with good academic records are viewed favorably by college admissions officers because they have already proven that they can balance academics and physical endeavors, showing motivation and ability to thrive under pressure. These are qualities that indicate the likelihood of succeeding in college and in various career tracks as well.

Another excellent resource: 20 Great Small Colleges for a Degree in Sports Management

1. Professional Sports

The most obvious direction that a high school athlete can take is to train and qualify to play on the professional level with an established and well-funded team. The competition for a contract on these teams may be tough, but the goal is not far-fetched for those who excel in their chosen sport. Team recruiters are always on the lookout for fresh talent, taking the time to check out and evaluate the most promising athletes in high schools all over the country. High school athletes can prepare for a career as a professional athlete by choosing a college program that would improve their skills and other qualities needed to excel as a pro athlete.

2. High School Athletic Director

The athletic director plays a major role in the lives of high school athletes. This is a person who can motivate students to improve their athletic performance while making sure that they stay on track with their academics. The athletic director serves as a mentor for students on various teams and eventually becomes their confidant, providing advice and guidance on issues unrelated to sports. High school athletes understand the importance of this authority figure and would do very well in this job after attending college.

3. Fitness Trainer

High school athletes have the distinct advantage of being exposed to healthy lifestyle choices as part of their physical training. Healthy nutrition, exercise, adequate rest, supplementation are all part of the holistic approach to good health, which athletes are exposed to in the course of their career. Those who opt to become fitness trainers may have to earn additional credentials specific to the skill or style they wish to teach. These specializations may include yoga, bodybuilding, rehab therapy, dance, self-defense and other fields.

4. Sports Gear Developer

High school athletes can build a career as an inventor or athletic gear designer after having spent many years in various sports. Athletes who have actually played the sport are in the best position to develop products that may improve sports performance. The sports apparel industry is expected to become a $185 billion behemoth by 2020 according to a report by Allied Market Research. Clearly, this can be a lucrative career for a former high school athlete.

5. Business Leadership Positions

High school athletes will excel in any career that taps the leadership skills they have developed as an amateur and, subsequently, professional athletes. The Atlantic magazine points to a study by Cornell University researchers that indicated that former high school athletes end up making more money compared to their peers with different extracurricular interests. This may be because they have the built-in competitive drive, discipline and the ability to navigate the professional world based on their early experience as athletes.

The career path for high school athletes may not always lead to professional sports or to a sports-related career. Student-athletes who started training in high school and earlier are well positioned for jobs that require leadership skills, a strong drive to succeed and a winning attitude in the face of adversity and stiff competition.