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How do I get my foot in the door in the sports industry?

Even with today’s economic uncertainties, the sports industry continues to grow. Like most industries, careers in sports management run the gamut when looking at the spectrum of salaries. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics can give great insight into the careers in sports management, reporting that the median salary for team coaches and scouts is just over $30,000 while agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes is nearly $95,000 annually.

There is no doubt that if you have a passion for sports, a career in sports management can be incredibly satisfying. Many young people grow up loving sports and perhaps play a competitive team sport through high school or college. Working with a professional sports team in one capacity or another is a “dream job” for many. With so many professionals interested in sports, the sports industry is a highly competitive field. Someone interested in becoming a sports manager should think about ways to learn the most about the sports industry, create a network of people within the field, and make decisions which will result in their ability to stand out among others seeking the same positions. Here are just a few ways that students can get their foot in the door as sports managers.

Never Stop Learning

As the old saying goes, “the best teacher is the best student.” In life we should never stop learning in order to advance in our knowledge and opportunities. The simple truth to the matter is that we never comprehensively know all there is to know about any one subject. Being open to new sources of education is a great quality to have. One of the best sources of training for a career as a sports manager is to begin with an online Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management. Some of the nation’s top business schools offer highly-affordable and convenient programs that have been designed to train students in all the many facets of sports management. Some of these degrees take less than one year to complete and can fast-track a business professional giving her the business theory and real-world application needed to be successful. A sports management degree can also equip a student with a much-needed network of professionals in the sports industry field, which can be an incredible source for advancement and marketability in the future.

Lean In On Strengths

While pursuing a degree in sports management, a student quickly picks up on subjects that present some challenges to master and those that are more fluid and natural to comprehend. If your skill-set includes the ability to communicate well with instructors and work smoothly with fellow students on group projects, you may be best suited for a position in sports management which keeps you working with coaching staffs, or even with fans and the media as a member of an organization’s public relations department. Analytically-minded students may function best in positions dealing with accounting, marketing, and an organization’s many legal needs.

Stay Open to New Opportunities

One of the quickest ways to suffer disappointment in any industry is to narrow your focus on what opportunities you will be willing to accept and which ones you won’t. Countless executives and experienced managers have all “paid their dues” and begun incredible careers as interns and minimum-wage employees within an organization. Their willingness to start at the bottom and work their way up was the key to their success. This approach involves patience and the ability to make the best of a situation. Staying open may look like starting off as a volunteer or accepting a low-paying job as an intern. Positions at any level often offer the chance to meet new people and show off your skills and character.

These are just some of the ways one can begin to make their mark within the sports industry. Employers are always impressed with experience and initiative but the accessibility to many positions are limited to those who have an education in the field. One quick scan of the job listings available at NCAA.org reveals a need for qualified applicants who have received the proper academic training needed for positions in collegiate-level sports programs. People interested in pursuing a career as a sports manager would do well to begin the process by researching a degree like an online Bachelor’s in Sports Management.

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