How to Choose a Sports Management Program

16 Nov, 2012  |  Written by  |  under Sports Management Education

If you want to work in sports management, be prepared to put on your boxing gloves. Sports management is a very competitive industry with high barriers to entry. But with the right skills, the right personality, and the desire to play hard, half the battle is won.

First step, and perhaps the most important, is to find a degree program that best fits your educational goals. Many schools offer sports management degrees, making it difficult to choose. The steps below will help you find the right program to help you achieve academic, and ultimately, professional success.

  1. Determine what level of education is appropriate: Sports management degrees are available at all levels from associate’s to PhDs. If you’re just starting out, an associate’s degree might be an option, or if you’re ready to commit to four years of study, a bachelor’s degree is a great way to start a successful career.
  2. Online or On-Campus? Thanks to modern technology, students can now complete a degree program entirely online. If you’re working full-time or have other commitments, distance learning provides a flexible alterative. But online is not for everyone so make sure you consult an admissions counselor to get the facts before making a decision.
  3. Verify accreditation: Without a doubt, accreditation is the most reliable way to determine a program’s quality. Accreditation protects you and your money. If a school or program lacks recognition by an accrediting agency or association, consider it a red flag. Transferring credits and accessing federal funding is near impossible without proper accreditation.
  4. Compare size and cost: Private or public? Big or small? Make sure to consider the size and cost of each program before you apply. Private schools tend to have smaller class sizes but often cost more. Public schools are larger and enroll more students. The trade off? Cheaper tuition. Talk to a financial aid counselor about scholarships and admissions fees to ensure the program is affordable. And decide what class size is ideal for you.
  5. Networking and internship opportunities: Given the competitive nature of sports management, you’ll want to get as much experience as possible while in school. Find out if the program of your choice offers internship opportunities so you can better network with professionals in the field. Internships provide excellent practical experience that potential employers appreciate (and need!)
  6. Program structure and curriculum: Remember, each program is different and not always a good match. It’s important to learn as much as possible about the structure of the program and the curriculum to ensure alignment with current industry demands and practices. You want access to opportunities in sports so you’ll need marketing and business classes as well as industry-specific courses such as event management and sports law.

Need more guidance? Check out the sites below to learn about the industry.