By Dawn Papandrea
It's March Madness, and if your one shining moment during Saturday's Final Four is a phone call to the local pizzeria, it might be time to give up the dream of being a professional athlete. But that doesn't mean you can't make a living in the sports world. These off-the-field jobs may not offer the same seven figure salaries of the pros, but they still pay reasonably well and offer lots of opportunities to be close to the action.
Educational Route: A Bachelor's degree in sports management. Coursework includes a basic business foundation with classes in accounting, marketing, communications, and finance, as well as coursework in the role of sports in society.
Entry Level Jobs: Most new grads don't start at the majors. Instead, they'll work at sports organizations, nonprofit sports organizations, stadiums and fitness health clubs.
Job Description: Managing the day-to-day operations of an organization including developing and approving budgets. Coordinate strategy with heads of departments like public relations, sales and the team itself.
Salary: Average annual salary for any general and operations managers in May 2011 were $114,490 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Looking for a sports management job? Click here to get started.
Educational Route: A master's degree or other certification in the sciences with a focus on nutrition, physiology, anatomy or biomechanics. The professional gigs will go to those with master's degrees. Seven in ten trainers earn a masters degree or higher, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
Job Description: Trainers help prevent and treat injuries. The experience with athletes proves valuable to pick up work with others who partake in physical activity, like industrial workers.
Salary: Average annual wages for athletic trainers were $44,640 in May 2011, according to the BLS. That figure can go up dramatically when working with big-market professional sports organizations. Famed Yankee head athletic trainer is reported to have an annual salary of $3 million.
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Educational Route: A degree in either journalism with an emphasis on broadcasting, or a communications-related discipline. Advanced degrees like an MBA are required for station management and technical positions. The latter will require continuous education to stay on top of the latest technologies.
Entry-Level Jobs: If you're not a retired professional player, the combination of good schooling and "work your way up" experience starting at the local level is what it will take. Volunteering or internships at local stations can offer a foot in the door.
Job Description: In addition to doing on-air commentary, any broadcast will need a full production staff with writers, sound technicians and audio engineers.
Salary: Average annual salary for all full-time broadcasters in the news industry was $76,360 in May 2011, according to the BLS.
Looking for a sports broadcaster job? Click here to get started.
Educational Route: Doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology. Students can specialize in sports sciences to get an early start in the field that gives them immediate exposure to athletes.
Entry-Level Jobs: You can't practice without doing internships, which are usually arranged through psychology departments.
Salary: Average annual salary for all industrial-organizational psychologists was $124,160 in May 2011, according to the BLS.
Looking for a sports psychologist job? Click here to get started.
Educational Route: Bachelor's or master's degree in statistics, computer science, or math.
Entry-Level Jobs: Jobs in government, insurance carriers, or health care. Any work that requires analysis of surveys and studies. A vast knowledge of sports is also necessary.
Job Description: To provide useful stats to both coaches and broadcasters. Training in statistical theory is not necessarily a requirement, but with the rise of "moneyball"-like statistical analysis in baseball, it is becoming more common.
Salary: Average annual salary for all statisticians was $77,820 in May 2011, according to the BLS. But the salary is often far lower for sports statisticians, and many enter the field on a pro bono basis.
Looking for a sports statistician job? Click here to get started.
Educational Route: Bachelor's and law degree, as well as admission to the Bar Association. Legal coursework with an emphasis on contracts, labor laws, antitrust and estate issues athletes might seek counsel on.
Entry-Level Job: It is most common for a sports lawyer to gain a background in corporate law before specializing in sports law.
Job Description: Sports lawyers can work at both the amateur and professional levels. The field is a relatively new one, an outcome of the 1967 decision by the National Labor Relations Board to allow athletes to form unions. The result is the profession requires much more labor negotiation. It is rare for a sports lawyer to deal with steroid issues. Many go on to become agents for individual players.
Salary: The average annual salary for all lawyers was $130,490 in May 2011, according to the BLS.
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