How Do I Become an Athletic Scout?

Explore the career requirements for athletic scouts. Get the facts about development and advancement, job duties and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Athletic Scout?

Athletic scouts are recruiters for college or professional sports teams. They search out new talent by monitoring sports media and attending sporting events. They also meet directly with athletes to hold discussions that can help both the athlete and the scout determine whether they would make a good fit for the team. Scouts may also offer incentives, such as scholarships (for college athletes) or salaries (for professional athletes), in order to encourage recruits to join their time. Based on their evaluations of players, scouts report to coaches, who are often in charge of making the final recruitment and drafting decisions.

The following table provides basic information for this career.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business, sports management or related field
Experience Required Former athlete or coach; strong relationships in the athletic community, deep knowledge of sports, athletes and athletics
Key Skills Possess an 'eye' for talent, communication, people-person, organized, versatile
Key Responsibilities Assess athletes, meet with families and athletes, negotiate terms, travel on a regional and/or national basis to sporting events
Job Growth (2014-24) 6%* (for coaches and scouts)
Average Salary (2015) $40,050* (for coaches and scouts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Train to Become an Athletic Scout?

Athletic scouts usually start out as professional or near-professional level players or coaches in their respective sports. This background can grant you significant inside knowledge of how the game is played and how the business of the game is conducted, and most importantly, can provide you with the vital contacts necessary to get your foot in the door. Building relationships at this stage with other players and especially the coaching staff and owners will skyrocket your chances of becoming an athletic scout.

If your sports experience is less robust, starting as a local area coach will help. Any successful recommendations of players you can make will get local scouts interested in your prospective status amongst their ranks. Scouts can be self-employed or employed by national agencies, specific teams, or through an entire league or association.

How Can I Get Ahead?

Like a player in any sport, good scouts get results. Discovering big name talent often and consistently is your ticket to a lasting scouting career. Additionally, enhancing managerial skills, networking, and advising or volunteering for local teams, coaches and players will help you move through the ranks as an athletic scout. Once you are a premier, the step towards administrator or scouting director can be a small one.

A complex combination of skills make up the ideal athletic scout. You should be able to assess players' abilities and potential with high proficiency. You should have high communication skills and enjoy talking to people. You have to be well-organized and versatile in the sports world. You will need to make and maintain personal bonds and work difficult hours. A detailed knowledge of team histories and cohesion as well as player personalities will also score you many points as a scout.

What Duties Could I Have?

While some collegiate scouts work locally, many professional scouts also travel long distances to watch prospective players. You could be meeting with a prospective athlete's parents to discuss training schedules and the demands of being a college athlete, or sitting in the stands with a radar gun and stopwatch covertly recording stats and making player profiles. You could be working with a coach or recruiter to discuss a player's off-field conduct or advising a general manager on potential draft scenarios and strategies.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as an athletic scout, you could also consider a different position on the staff of a collegiate or professional sports team. As a coach, you would play a role in the recruiting process, but you would focus primarily on training players and developing competition strategies. You could also work as an athletic trainer; these professionals diagnose and treat athletic injuries, and they support players throughout the rehabilitation process in order to help them return to top form. To work as either a coach or a trainer, you usually need to have at least a bachelor's degree.

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