Sports psychologist salary & career outlook
by Kim Carter | August 18, 2011
Working as a sports psychologist, you would work to understand the psychological reasons and factors that influence people to participate in physical activity including sports and exercise. You may also work with athletes to understand how mental state and emotions can affect athletic performance.
Career outlook for sports psychologists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job growth of psychology professionals is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018. Employment is expected to grow as more and more people seek psychological services. Job prospects are projected to be the best for professionals who have a doctoral degree in an applied specialty field.
Sports psychologists' jobs may vary on a daily basis, depending on clients' needs. Working as a professional sports psychologist you may encounter the following job duties:
- Counseling athletes
- Motivating clients to continue exercise and physical activity
- Researching individual and group sports and exercise experiences
- Volunteering or working as a sports coach in order to best understand the athletes' experiences and environment
Sport and exercise psychology is a growing and changing field with new information and research being obtained, so your job duties may vary depending on the needs of your employer.
Sports psychologist salary: 2009 statistics and the future
The BLS reports that the median annual salary for psychologists in 2009 was $86,540. The top-paying industries for psychology professionals in 2009 included:
- Physician offices: $109,550 annual mean wage
- Educational support services: $91,980 annual mean wage
- Scientific research and developmental services: $91,260 annual mean wage
- Individual and family services: $90,690 annual mean wage
- General medical hospitals: $89,450 annual mean wage
There are many states that offer high-paying salaries for sports psychologists ranging from $91,360 to $101,100 annually. The top paying state for psychology professionals with ACCRA cost-of-living rankings from Missouri Economic Research and Information Center include:
- Arizona, 36
- New Hampshire, 40
- Connecticut, 47
The BLS also reports that the following metropolitan areas have the highest 2009 annual salaries for psychology professionals:
- Salinas, California: $166,700
- Miami, Florida: $118,460
- Phoenix, Arizona: $112,450
Sports psychologist schools education and training
An education from an accredited academic institution can help advance your career and earning potential in sports psychology. To work as a sports psychologist, you must have a large foundation of knowledge both in psychology and exercise science. It may be beneficial for your future career to double major in both fields of study or to major in one field with a minor in the other.
To obtain a higher earning potential, you must have your master's degree or higher. The BLS reports that a master's or doctorate degree is required for most psychologists. Most professional sports psychologists also obtain their license from their local state before beginning their practice in sports psychology.
For related news and other information from Schools.com, see:
- Georgetown report: Why 2-year degrees can earn you more than 4-year degrees
- Career comparison tool: Compare careers by salary and education (interactive tool)
- Pathfinder - Explore Career Paths & Related Degree Programs (interactive tool)
- Clinical Psychologist Salary & Career Outlook
- Forensic Psychologist Salary & Career Outlook
- Offers 145 graduate and undergraduate specializations, 22 certificate programs.
- Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
- As of late 2013, its enrollment was over 35,000: 31% in doctoral programs, 42% in master's programs, 25% in bachelor's programs.
- Offers reduced tuition and other benefits for every branch of the U.S. armed forces.
- Founded in 1993 by Stephen Shank, former Tonka Corporation CEO, and Dr. Harold Abel, former president of 3 universities.
- Committed to core values of integrity, civility and responsibility since its founding in 1852.
- Named the world’s first FranklinCovey Leadership University in 2011.
- Every year since 2004, it's been recognized in The Princeton Review’s Best in the Northeast listing as one of the nation’s best universities.
- Its Internet-based degree program initiative, Global Online, was ranked #1 in America by SR Education Group’s Guide to Online Schools in 2010.
- Online students are full-fledged Sun Devils, pursuing the same degree as campus students.
- In the top 50 online bachelor’s programs, according to U.S. News &World Report.
- Ranked #2 online MBA in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
- Online faculty same as campus faculty.
- Their Quality Matters (QM) peer-review process ensures that online courses include meaningful interaction between instructors and students.
- Offer degrees in business, IT, master's in healthcare innovation, & more.
- Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
- Average class size is 14 students.
- Faculty members average 16 years of experience in their field.
- Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
- Students & alumni can access job posts from top corporations, including AT&T, Hitachi & MGM Resorts.
- Flexible start date and class schedules.
- 100+ locations and online options.
- Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
- 84% of students surveyed would recommend the university to others.
- Average class sizes: 21 for undergraduate, 15 for graduate-level courses.
- 2,149 scholarships awarded in the 2011-2012 academic year.
- 1,033,436 transfer credits awarded during the 2011-2012 academic year.
- Students can enroll at any time and begin studies in the fall, spring, or summer.
- Students have access to smarthinking.com for online tutoring.
- Among the more than 50,000 alumni include several astronauts, CEOs, and 32 generals.
- A state-of-the-art e-learning system lets students study at their convenience.
- Special tuition rate available for active duty, selected reserves, National Guard service members and their spouses.