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Sports Agent: Career Definition, Occupational Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

Explore the career requirements for sports agents. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Does a Sports Agent Do?

It is an agent's job to ensure an athlete is in top form by handling the non-sport related duties of the job, including business and contracts, public relations, finances, and more. The job is highly demanding, with agents working around the clock to maintain their client's public image and keep them professionally satisfied. There's no one common educational path to becoming a sports agent, though many accredited schools offer bachelor's degrees in the subject. Agents should possess a strong knowledge of the sport they work within. Many states require agents to be licensed to work legally.

More career information is provided in the following chart.

Degree Required Bachelor's degrees are available, though there is no common career path
Education Field of Study Sports management
Key Responsibilities Negotiate contracts, provide general business advice, act as a liaison between client and sports teams/companies looking for endorsees
Job Growth (2018-2028) 10% (for agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes)*
Median Salary (2019) $52,635**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Are the Duties of a Sports Agent?

Sports agents act as business managers for athletes and represent them in contract negotiations and managing their finances. As a sports agent, you will handle contract negotiations, public relations issues, and finances. You will also procure additional sources of income for the athlete, such as endorsements. Many agents, especially those working with young athletes, provide career guidance as well. You may work independently or as part of a large sports agency.

What Is My Employment Outlook?

A sports agent's compensation is often tied to the athletes they represent, since the pay is usually a percentage of the player's salary. PayScale.com reported in November 2019 that sports agents made a median salary of $52,635 per year. Higher salaries may be available for the agents of top athletes.

What Education Do I Need?

There are no standard education requirements for becoming a sports agent, but many universities and private institutes offer programs in sports management. Programs are accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (www.cosmaweb.org). Bachelor's degree programs in sports management generally cover business topics, such as finance, management, and public relations, as well as media-related topics. While a law degree is not a necessity, some knowledge of the law is essential for working with contracts and negotiation. Many law schools offer courses and certificate options in sports law. Agents generally need to have sales skills in order to sell their services and their clients.

As of 2017, 43 states had adopted the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA), which requires sports agents to be licensed with the state and regulates conduct between agents and athletes, especially student athletes, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (www.ncaa.org). Many other states have similar licensing requirements, which may include submitting an application, paying a fee, and undergoing a background check.

What Are Some Related Careers?

Given the highly specialized nature of sports agents, it is hard to find a direct parallel in other fields. However, jobs with similar duties outside of sports are available. One such career is public relations management - helping to manage the public's perception of a company, product, or brand. Financial managers and accountants, as well, handle a person or organization's finances, similar to how a sports agent may do the same for their athletes.