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How to Become a Sports Agent in 5 Steps

Sports agents represent amateur and professional athletes in contract and salary negotiations. Find out about the education, licensure and certification required to work as a sports agent.

What is a Sports Agent?

Sports agents are directly responsible for their clients' interests in the world of professional athletes. Agents will seek only the best for their clients, and will work to find the best placement in terms of teams, salary, and benefits. Agents will work with their clients' lawyers to negotiate potential contracts when signing or extending new or current deals with teams and brand names. Because agents get a portion of their clients' income, it is in their best interest to maximize the potential earnings of their clients. You can learn some details about a career as a sports agent in the table below:

Degree RequiredBachelor's
Education Field of StudySports management, sports business
Key ResponsibilitiesNegotiate deals, contracts and salary for the athletes they represent
Licensure RequirementsLicensure may be required in some states
Job Growth (2018-2028)10% (for Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes)*
Median Salary (2018)$66,040 (for Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Become Familiar with Sports

In order to become a sports agent, you need to understand various types of sports. Participating in sports by playing on team or competing in an individual sport may help you learn principles of athletics and sports teams. You can also volunteer as a team manager or assistant if you prefer not to participate. Viewing professional sports events on television or in person may also provide some insight into sports.

Step 2: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

Earning a degree in sports management or sports business can expose you to the various facets of the world of a sports agent. Courses in a sports management program include marketing, economics, finance, sports law and management, sports sponsorship relationships, league and team equity issues, sports ethics and player management relations. Additionally, degree programs may include an internship requirement, which will allow you to earn credit while gaining experience.

Step 3: Complete a Graduate Degree

Although agents may only be required to have a bachelor's degree for some entry-level positions, sports agents in the National Football League must complete a graduate or law degree to become certified. A law or graduate business degree can provide the education needed to understand business law and learn to negotiate. Graduate programs available include master's degrees in sports management, law degrees and joint law and master's degree programs in sports administration.

Step 4: Begin Networking

A sports agent cannot succeed without a client base. Aspiring sports agents must work hard to scout and represent both up-and-coming and professional athletes. Once they have found success with one client, sports agents can build a reputation and attract new clients.

Step 5: Become Licensed and Certified

In some states, sports agents must obtain a license. Additionally, the players associations of professional sports leagues, such as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, require sports agents to be certified by the league. The certification process may involve meeting minimum education or experience requirements, passing an examination, paying an application fee and completing a background check.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a passion for sports, many career options exist aside from agents. Sports management careers might include the management of front offices in sports programs, or management of athletic programs in a high school or university setting. Additionally, managers of sports teams work directly with their players to ensure the best performance possible. Often, managers have a history of previous experience with playing their managed sport of choice.