16 Highest-Paying Sports Jobs (With Education Requirements)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 January 2023

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working in the sports industry can provide you with the potential to earn a large salary. Since there are so many job options in this field, there is a great potential to receive benefits while working with sports you love. Learning about rewarding athletic-related positions can help you find the right career for you. In this article, we discuss the highest-paying sports jobs and provide a list of 16 positions with their annual salaries, primary job duties and education requirements.

16 highest-paying sports jobs

The following list contains the highest-paying sports jobs that make over $60,000 a year:

1. Personal trainer

National average salary: $60,318 per year

Primary duties: Personal trainers guide athletes through workouts and training regimens. These professionals talk with athletes and coaches to determine their fitness goals, then develop exercise routines to help athletes build muscle, increase strength or improve stamina. They may also discuss health and nutrition with athletes. Personal trainers may work for teams or individual athletes.

Education requirements: While personal trainers often only need a high school diploma to work in this field, having an associate or bachelor's degree in exercise science, kinesiology or physical education can help you advance to higher-paying positions.

Related: How To Become a Personal Trainer

2. Sports agent

National average salary: $61,064 per year

Primary duties: A sports agent represents professional sports players and coaches. This involves helping them negotiate endorsements and deals by understanding their client's worth in the market. To show their client's value, these professionals prepare statistic analyses of their successes and research contracts of comparable individuals.

Education requirements: Sports agents often earn either a bachelor's or master's degree in sports management.

3. Head coach

National average salary: $63,949 per year

Primary duties: A head coach trains and develops athletes for a particular sport. Job duties include arranging and organising practices, creating game strategies and maintaining a program budget. They also recruit new players and coordinate sporting tryouts to fill team positions. Head coaches often work closely with an assistant coach at a high school, college or professional sports program.

Education requirements: Most employers require a head coach to have a bachelor's degree in either sports medicine, sports science, kinesiology or a related field.


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4. Swim instructor

National average salary: $66,645 per year

Primary duties: A swim instructor teaches swimming lessons in one-on-one or group settings. They help students develop proper swimming techniques and advance their capabilities. Other job duties include demonstrating strokes, planning lessons, monitoring students and correcting techniques. Swim instructors often work for recreation centres, private pools and summer camps.

Education requirements: Swim instructors often don't need a secondary education but can choose to earn an AUSTSWIM Teacher license.

Related: How to Become a Swim Coach (Plus Daily Duties and Skills) 

5. Professional golf player

National average salary: $66,682 per year

Primary duties: A professional golf player uses their skills to take part in major tours. Often these athletes participate in international competitions. They may also teach golf to students, showing them ways to improve their techniques. Professional golfers compete independently and receive payments from their winnings and sponsors.

Education requirements: Professional golfers complete the Golf Management Program (PGA PGM) program and pass a player ability test.

6. Nutritionist

National average salary: $68,377 per year

Primary duties: A nutritionist guides athletes and other individuals in foods to eat to improve their performance. When creating nutrition regimes, they consider their client's body type, training routine and overall athletic goals. They pay careful attention to when an athlete hits their peak in their season to make adjustments to their eating practices.

Education requirements: The required education for nutritionists is often a bachelor's degree in nutrition science, where they learn about the relationship between the human body and nutrients in food.

7. Sports photographer

National average salary: $69,212 per year

Primary duties: A sports photographer takes fast-action images of athletes and competitions. Often they get close to a game to capture big moments. In addition to capturing photos, they set up equipment and take care of it to ensure it works properly. Sports photographers often work for a team or may work freelance with a newspaper.

Education requirements: While there is no specific education requirement for sports photographers, they may earn a bachelor's degree in photography or journalism.

8. Umpire

National average salary: $71,169 per year

Primary duties: Umpires monitor baseball games and apply rules and regulations as necessary. These professionals are experts on the rules of the sport and are responsible for both identifying when a player breaks a rule and deciding the penalty. They maintain total concentration during a game, and they have to react to game events quickly. Although some umpires work for single teams, many travel to oversee games for a variety of teams.

Education requirements: Umpires don't need to complete post-secondary education, but may complete training courses to prepare them for this career.

Related: 15 Different Easy High-Paid Jobs (With Duties and Salaries)

9. Exercise physiologist

National average salary: $74,583 per year

Primary duties: An exercise physiologist evaluates a patient's fitness to determine the best exercises and physical regimes for them. This involves looking at their client's medical history and performing tests. After assessing athletes, they develop customised exercise programs to help them improve their performance and help them overcome chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Exercise physiologists work for fitness centres, hospitals and physical therapy offices.

Education requirements: Exercise physiologists often earn a bachelor's or master's degree in exercise science.

Related: What Is an Exercise Physiologist (With Skills)

10. Sports reporter

National average salary: $74,685 per year

Primary duties: A sports reporter, or journalist, chronicles a game and writes sports-related news. Their stories often focus on sporting events, teams and athletes. To gather information, they interview team members and fans after the game. Sports reporters often work for a single newspaper or media company.

Education requirements: To be a sports reporter, earn a bachelor's in journalism or English to learn reporting skills and develop your writing talent.

Related: How To Become a Journalist

11. Referee

National average salary: $76,813 per year

Primary duties: A referee watches a sports game to ensure athletes follow designated rules. During competitions, they track time and assesses penalties. Referees also inspect sports equipment to meet safety regulations and compile the final score upon completion of the match.

Education requirements: Referees need a high school diploma and knowledge of the rule book for the sport they plan to officiate.

12. Sports marketing specialist

National average salary: $77,730 per year

Primary duties: Sports marketers promote teams, players, leagues and stadiums or arenas. They perform market research, draft ideas to increase interest and awareness and create strategies to meet marketing goals. Most sports marketers are responsible for increasing attendance and viewership or selling merchandise. They use a variety of media outlets, including TV, radio, newspapers and social media.

Education requirements: Sports marketers typically require a bachelor's degree or higher in marketing, public relations, advertising or other related fields.

13. Sports psychologist

National average salary: $90,364 per year

Primary duties: Sports psychologists are mental health professionals who specialise in helping athletes achieve their top performance. They develop treatment courses to help athletes rehabilitate mentally and emotionally after injuries. Another part of their job involves addressing anxiety and helping athletes deal with the pressure of competition. Sports psychologists often work for college or professional athletic teams, where they motivate players to do their best.

Education requirements: Sports psychologists often earn a doctorate of psychology or philosophy in sports psychology and performance.

14. Sports statistician

National average salary: $103,073 per year

Primary duties: Sports statisticians, also known as sports analysts, use data to assess the chances of a range of outcomes. They collect, monitor and analyse complex datasets for players, teams and leagues. Their analyses help teams decide whether to recruit or trade athletes and whether to place certain players in their lineups. Sports statisticians typically work for college or professional teams.

Education requirements: Sports statistician careers typically require a bachelor's degree in math or statistics.

15. Facilities manager

National average salary: $119,380 per year

Primary duties: A facilities manager supervises the operations in gyms, recreation centres and other sports facilities. They may play a vital role in helping plan the construction or redesign of new facilities and. Job duties also include ordering supplies, preparing finances and managing staff.

Education requirements: Education for facilities managers vary depending on the type of sports facility they work for. Larger centres may want employees with a degree in business administration or management to help them lead the organisation.

16. General manager

National average salary: $129,001 per year

Primary duties: A general manager oversees the daily activities and business of a sports team. This involves hiring coaches and staff, negotiating contracts, creating schedules and managing the team's budget. They also work to maintain a positive relationship with the public.

Education requirements: While the minimum education for a general manager is a bachelor's degree, it may be helpful to earn a master's degree to help earn an even higher salary. Earning a degree in sports management teaches these individuals sports marketing, fundraising and facility management.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. 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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