A guide to 11 careers in sports (Plus duties and salaries)

Updated 18 April 2023

You don't need a strong athletic background to pursue a career in sports. There's also the option of being a professional that works directly with athletes in a range of fields. This is ideal for those with an interest in sports who don't want to be an athlete. In this article, we cover the definition of a career in sports and provide some examples of sports careers plus average salaries.

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Examples of careers in sports

There are countless options when undertaking a career in the sports industry. Consider your options carefully depending on your interests, skills and ideal salary. Below are some examples of sports careers plus their corresponding salaries:

1. Personal trainer

National average salary: £27,033 per year

Primary duties: A personal trainer works directly with a client or a range of clients, to help them improve their overall fitness. This role involves creating tailored workout plans that assist a client in achieving their specific fitness goals. These needs vary and are unique depending on each client.

To be an effective personal trainer, it's essential to hold a high level of knowledge surrounding exercise and health in a personal trainer. Personal trainers work in a self-employed capacity, generating their clients. They also work for gyms to offer one-on-one sessions to gym-goers.

2. Athletics coach

National average salary: £26,413 per year

Primary duties: An athletics coach works directly with an athlete or team to support their growth, development and success in their specific field. Athletics coaches can work at an amateur level with local teams or progress to higher, professional leagues. A coach is responsible for ensuring the team performs well and achieves success. They input strategies and plans to attain this. Coaches regularly create plans and schedules for training to ensure optimum performance. Athletic coaches are highly knowledgeable in their chosen athletic field and are motivational and understanding.

Related: How To Become a Gymnastics Coach

3. Athletic scout

National average salary: £22,423 per year

Primary duties: An athletic scout works to identify and select new athletic talent for a sports team or programme. They travel to and watch various sports games to identify players and athletes they could help with their careers. Athletic scouts frequently network within the sports industry and stay informed about sports news and upcoming talent. Scouts also have interpersonal and communication skills, which can help when reaching out to potential talent and discussing further careers.

4. Sports massage therapist

National average salary: £17.92 per hour

Primary duties: A sports massage therapist specialises in assisting athletes and sports professionals with their physical health needs. Massage therapists use massage techniques to relieve pain from sport or to assist in maintaining an athlete's physique. Massage therapy is critical for athletes who train multiple days a week and for whom remaining in optimum physical health is critical.

This role works to help ease the pain of tight muscles, address injury and prevent further injury. Sports massage therapists tailor each treatment to an individual client, with each treatment varying in degrees of severity. A sports massage therapist possesses an in-depth knowledge of massage and the muscles of the body. This role can be self-employed, where the work is on a contract basis for sports teams. Some high-level professional teams employ a sports massage therapist specifically to be on constant call for that team.

Related: How much does a sports therapist make? And how to earn more

5. Umpire

National average salary: £14.01 per hour

Primary duties: A sports umpire monitors sports games to ensure that players are acting correctly and fairly. Umpires have a high level of knowledge of their chosen game, including all rules and methods of scoring. An umpire is responsible for keeping score and identifying occurrences of rule-breaking. They then allocate penalties or fouls accordingly. Umpire work involves intense levels of concentration throughout games and immediate, decisive actions. Umpires also have to deal with conflict resolution, for example, when a player doesn't agree with their decision to give them a penalty.

6. Referee

National average salary: £15.25 per hour

Primary duties: A referee works to monitor sports games and ensure that athletes are acting correctly and fairly. Responsibilities of this role include tracking the time of the game, allocating penalties where necessary, ensuring the safety of all players and making sure that nobody breaks game rules. Referees require an in-depth knowledge of their chosen game and are highly aware of its codes of conduct.

Referees have excellent conflict resolution skills to diffuse tension during teams in games. These skills also help them to cope with criticisms of their game decisions. Referees work at an amateur level and can progress to a more professional level, working at larger and more respected games, including national and international fixtures.

Related: Sports coach's roles and skills: a practical guide

7. Nutritionist

National average salary: £28,581 per year

Primary duties: A nutritionist works with an individual to create foods and dietary plans to assist them in reaching dietary or nutritional goals. In the sports industry, nutritionists equip athletes with nutrition plans that support their high-activity lifestyle and help them in performing their best in games and competitions. In this role, they design tailored food plans and dietary requirements for a client, monitor their progress and recommend supplements and vitamins. Knowledge of nutrition and how it corresponds to fitness and sports careers is necessary for this role.

8. Physiotherapist

National average salary: £35,740 per year

Primary duties: A physiotherapist is a trained therapist that assists people after physical injury. In the world of sports, a physiotherapist helps athletes that face injury during play or performance. This work is vital, as untreated injuries could lead to the end of an athlete's career. A physiotherapist utilises various massage, fitness and training techniques to rectify a bodily injury and prevent further damage in the future. Physiotherapists have huge amounts of knowledge about the body, muscles and the best methods of practice to repair injuries. They work in a self-employed capacity public services or higher-level sports teams typically hire them.

Related: How To Become a Physiotherapist

9. Sports anchor

National average salary: £22,697 per year

Primary duties: A sports anchor works on local or national news to present the latest sports news and updates to the general public. They could work on various programmes and shows, discussing important sports events or games and interviewing athletes and sports stars. They work on various media outlets such as television, radio and Internet sites. Sports commentators during live games have charisma and storytelling abilities to create an immersive experience for viewers. They also have knowledge of sports and information about important news stories and athletes.

10. Sports writer

National average salary: £20,568 per year

Primary duties: A sports writer works as a reporter or journalist to detail important sporting events for media outlets. This could be in the form of newspapers on online publications. They present the facts and accurate results of a sports event and present an informed opinion or take on the events that have happened.

Due to this, sports writers need a good level of sports and gameplay to form solid opinions. They also need a good amount of writing experience and skills when working as a sports writer. They can also perform this role in a freelance capacity working with various publications, or larger outlets employ specific sports writers for larger sections of their newspaper.

11. Event coordinator

National average salary: £23,884 per year

Primary duties: An event coordinator works to create and plan all aspects of sporting games and large events. An events coordinator works with varied sectors of professionals to ensure all parts of an event run smoothly. For example, taking care of the audience, entertainment and appearance of the game field or performance area. They possess a high level of interpersonal skills in this role, as they speak to various people daily. It's also important to have a creative eye when designing the visual aspect of sporting events, especially if the event is televised.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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