How Can I Become a Sports Scout?

Research what it takes to become a sports scout. Learn about the degree programs and experience that can help you obtain this position, as well as information about career advancement, optional certifications and travel benefits, to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Sports Scout?

Sports scouts, also called athletic scouts, are recruiters for amateur, collegiate and professional sports teams. They evaluate athletes in order to find the best talent for their team. This can include following media coverage of talented athletes, meeting with prospective athletes in person and discussing potential incentives, such as scholarships (for college athletes) or salaries (for professional athletes). Based on their findings, scouts advise coaches on which athletes they believe would contribute most significantly to the team.

As you can see from the table below, a sports background is essential, and it can come from education, experience or a combination of both.

Education Required Most scouts need a bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Sport-related fields like physical education and sports and fitness management; business-related fields like marketing and sales
Key Skills Familiarity with sports, such as from having played one or more sports; evaluation of athletic talent in players; networking and other people skills
Certification May be required for coaching jobs
Job Growth (2014-24) 6% for coaches and scouts*
Median Salary (May 2015) $31,000 for coaches and scouts*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Are the Job Duties of a Sports Scout?

If you want to work as a scout for a college team, you might also have the duties of assistant coach, because these job titles are often combined at the collegiate level. As a college sports scout, it's your job to find talented high school athletes; you might do this by attending games, networking with high school alumni or coaches, watching videotape or reading newspapers. Beyond just studying prospects' skills on the court or field, you might talk with coaches, teachers or parents to determine athletes' personality traits, such as their degree of self-discipline or motivation.

As a sports scout at the professional level, you might work for a scouting organization or as a freelance scout. Your job is likely to require discretion, as top athletes generally inspire competition among teams.

At both the professional and college level, the quest for the best talent typically requires a great deal of travel. Due to game schedules and extensive travel requirements, sports scouts often work long or irregular hours, including evenings, weekends and even holidays. You might be exposed to a variety of weather conditions during travel or when attending outdoor sports competitions.

Do I Need a Degree?

The type of educational training you need to become a sports scout varies significantly based on the type and level of sport, but many sports scouts have bachelor's degrees. Degree programs specifically for sports scouts aren't generally available, but you might pursue a degree in physical education, sports and fitness management, or another sports-related field.

Oftentimes, knowledge of the sport itself is more important for sports scouts than any type of formal training. For example, you may need personal experience playing a college or even professional sport in order to see talent in other athletes. In order to get started in this field, you may need to take a part-time or volunteer scouting position and work your way up. You might begin your career as an assistant coach, a position that can help give you the experience you need to evaluate athletic talent.

What About Advancement or Certification?

Becoming a sports scout doesn't require certification, but you may need to become certified if you want to work as a coach at the college level, a position that sometimes involves scouting duties. In order to advance in this field, it's essential that you're successful at finding talented players for your team. With success, you might advance from a part-time scout to a full-time scout who has more responsibilities or scouts a larger area. From there, you might also advance to a scouting director position or another administrative position.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a scout, you could consider becoming a coach. Although they may play some role in the recruiting process, coaches typically focus on coordinating training for teams and/or individual athletes, advising them on topics such as fitness, game strategy and motivation. Most coaches have a bachelor's degree. Another position on the staff of many sports teams is an athletic trainer. These professionals diagnose and treat athletic injuries, and they develop rehabilitation plans to help injured players through the recovery process. The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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