Five Qualities to Look For in a Sports Management Degree Program

Sports Management is a growing field with a wide variety of career options, including Coach, Scout, Agent, Promoter, Sports Marketing Manager and Athletic Director. According to research, the $450 billion dollar Sports Industry in the United States is booming, with projected growth in all areas and plentiful jobs in Sports Management. Still, competition for these jobs is high. The best companies hire Sports Management Professionals educated in degree programs which exemplify the five qualities below:

1. Appropriate Accreditation

During the accreditation process, a specialized, independent accrediting agency uses a set of criteria to determine the quality of education provided. Programs with official accreditation have passed stringent guidelines. Most employers and Graduate schools only recognize graduates from accredited programs when choosing candidates, making accreditation a key factor. Prospective students may also find certain ranking publications helpful when researching programs, since these rankings often provide important information about each program, such graduation rate and student to teacher ratios.

2. Well-Developed Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

Sports Management Degree Programs are generally offered at the undergraduate Bachelor’s degree level and the graduate Master’s degree level. A Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management qualifies graduates to work at entry-level positions in the field, while an advanced degree opens up options for greater advancement in supervisory positions. Certain universities offer Doctorate programs in Sports Management, with graduates qualified to teach at the university level. Students interested in Sports Management should choose a university with well-developed programs in both the Undergraduate and Graduate levels, because the size of a Department across levels does dictate the resources and opportunities available to all students.

3. Relevant Location

While location is always important in choosing a program, with a Sports Management degree program, location is everything. Prospective students should have some understanding of where they see themselves in the industry, and then choose locations which support their goals. For example, students interested in college level Sports Management would benefit from learning at a Big Ten or Division One school. Students interested in national level sports teams should intentionally seek out programs located in cities with strong national teams, increasing opportunities for hands-on learning in the field.

4. Extensive Internship/Networking Opportunities

The employers of today, across all fields, are increasingly seeking applicants who already possess a sizeable amount of real-world experience. Required internships have become the standard for all programs, but the length of internship and quality of internship placement are critical factors in determining the best program to attend. It is recommended that students choose a program with the highest number of required internship hours built into the program, and then further narrow down options by looking closely at internship opportunities and partnership organizations. Students should choose a program which offers the most relevant, meaningful, and extensive opportunities to learn from and network with working professionals in the field.

5. Affordable

As with all majors, students interested in Sports Management degree programs must be aware of the costs of attendance and choose a program that fits well financially. Tuition costs vary greatly across programs, and the most expensive tuition does not necessarily equal the highest quality program. Most entry-level Sports Management positions pay 5 figures annually, with only the highest paid, Graduate-level positions bringing in 6 figures. It is paramount to plan accordingly, only taking on debt that is manageable to repay after graduation.

Choosing a career in the Sports Industry is an exciting and fast-paced lifestyle with many opportunities for growth and advancement. Degree programs which exemplify the five qualities above successfully prepare graduates for careers in Sports Management.

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