Working in College Level Athletic Departments is challenging work that requires you to balance managerial, networking, and administrative tasks within the university’s sporting facilities. The positions at the top of these chains are well paid and provide you with a lot of oversight. The path to the top of a University athletic department is long, but here are some tips on how you can get started.
The exact job description will depend on the size and needs of your facility. First and foremost, you will need to balance the needs of the students and the requirements of the university to create an engaging athletics program. You will be responsible for managing the physical buildings and equipment, and that may mean overseeing regular safety checks or researching and purchasing new equipment. You may implement programs and events, both in scheduling and planning. You may be the person who manages the day to day operations of sporting facilities, including overseeing staff and making sure everything is running smoothly. Of course, one person can’t do everything, so you may work with a team to create a good division of labor on these tasks.
The first requirement is a degree in sports management. These programs are offered both at the bachelor’s and the master’s level. If you hope to enter the field in a high position and make your way to the top of your facility, it is most desirable for you to obtain the master’s degree. However, it is also possible for you to work your way up with a bachelor’s degree, starting with a lower position and taking the extra time to move through the ranks.
The second thing you’ll need to obtain a collegiate position is years of experience. Colleges are usually very serious about their athletic programs, and your credentials will need to match the level of rigor that will be expected from you on the job. Your first job in sports management will likely be at a smaller institution such as a gym or a small collegiate fitness center. From there, a good track record will allow you to seek higher positions. Also, never underestimate the influence that good connections can have; if you network in all of your positions, you’ll be more likely to meet the person who can get you in the door of a top university athletic program.
Getting your first job in a collegiate athletic department will take some work. You will need to show your experience and education in the field, and you can’t realistically expect to jump right into the field. Staying in contact with a number of university athletic departments can help you begin to build the ties you’ll need to get a job. Communicating your interest in the program puts you in mind when it comes time to hire a new employee. Once you have enough experience to apply, you’ll need to be diligent in your search. Eventually, your reputation will allow you to get a decent position.
Getting a Sports Management Degree
The first step of the process, before the work begins, will be the sports management degree. Getting accepted to a degree program will involve showing your strong interest in the program and all of its aspects, including business, health, and fitness. The topics you study will include a range of business and fitness areas, and you’ll need to show proficiency in each of the areas in order to successfully complete the program.
Salary and Career Outlook
As the number of university students grows, more staff are often needed in university athletic programs. However, top positions in these departments don’t open up frequently. The potential salary benefits are enormous if you succeed in getting a top position at a major university. But on average, you can expect to make 60K+ with a master’s degree.
Working in a college athletic department can be good work once you succeed at breaking into the field. Here are some more tips on working in college athletic departments: