What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Sports Management Program?

An online master’s degree in sports management can lead to many exciting career paths. Graduates may operate stadiums, run fitness centers, represent athletes or promote the sports tourism industry. Some administer contracts or become sports attorneys. By enrolling in an accredited online school, students have the freedom and flexibility to learn at their own pace while following the same thorough curriculum used in conventional on-campus classes. In many cases, online degrees are more affordable. Whether you’re interested in accelerated courses or part-time learning while you work, it’s important to carefully evaluate each option before enrolling.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Sports Management Degree

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Sports Management

Sports management programs generally fall into one of two categories. Programs that offer an MBA in sports management typically focus on accounting, data analysis, operations management, leadership and finances. The curriculum may include electives related to sports law, marketing and venue management. A Master of Science in sports management is more likely to focus on research techniques, exercise psychology, coaching strategies, public relations and entrepreneurship.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Sports Management?

A master’s degree in sports management typically requires 31 to 40 credits or about two years to complete. Depending on the classes and their credit value, students can earn a degree in as little as three semesters by taking accelerated courses and working year-round. Part-time students may extend the process over eight semesters. Some colleges offer cohort programs that are completed on a fixed schedule, while others are self-paced. Additionally, many programs include capstone thesis projects and internships that provide up to 240 hours of hands-on experience. These programs deliver added value, but they also take more time to complete.

Certifications and Licenses a Master of Sports Management Prepares For

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Sports Management Degrees

When comparing colleges that offer online degrees, it’s important to seek out accredited programs. Individual colleges are accredited by one of six regional authorities, allowing your credits to transfer to other universities. However, specializations like sports management are also accredited by industry associations. This shows that the curriculum meets strict standards for quality and thoroughness. The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) is the chief accreditation body for sports management degrees.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Sports Management Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Sports and fitness is a competitive industry due to the popularity of this field as well as the perceived fun factor. An advanced degree, such as an MBA in sports management, can set you apart from the competition and increase your earning potential. According to Concordia University, the median entry-level salary across the sports industry is approximately $35,000 while those with advanced degrees typically earn $50,000 or more. Desirable athletic director positions at major universities may command salaries above $100,000.

Expected Salary

Regardless of the position, candidates with advanced degrees are more likely to receive median salaries at the higher end of the pay scale. This can add up to an extra $5,000 or $50,000 per year.

Salaries in the sports management industry vary widely based on geographic location and employer size. Employees in the sports industry often qualify for considerable performance-based bonuses and commissions. The candidate’s level of experience is another major factor. The following chart shows how the salary for a director of operations may increase over the years.

Career Opportunities

Many entry-level careers in the sports and entertainment industry are open to candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, master’s degrees are generally preferred for managerial and directorial positions. A Master of Science or MBA in sports management gives you the ability to pursue higher-paying positions while increasing your advancement opportunities.

Professional Organizations

Joining a professional membership association is an excellent way to enhance your credentials, stay up-to-date on the latest advances in the industry and network with peers and potential employers. From annual conventions to continuing education courses, membership provides numerous benefits.

North American Society for Sport Management: This international membership group is dedicated to researching, enhancing and promoting the field of sports management. It represents those who work with professional athletes as well as amateur leagues and in the leisure/recreation industry.

National Association of Sports Commissions: The NASC is a nonprofit trade association representing sports commissions, venue owners, event planners and industry partners. It provides educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing assistance to members.

Stadium Managers Association: The SMA provides networking and educational opportunities that help venue managers and events personnel increase the efficiency and profitability of their day-to-day operations.

Women in Sports and Events: WISE is a New York City-based nonprofit membership group dedicated to empowering women in the sports industry. The agency offers professional development resources and supports pro-woman advocacy.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Sport Management Degree

Enrolling in an online sports management program may reduce the cost of your master’s degree while providing increased flexibility. If you’re interested in applying for financial assistance to cover tuition fees as well as the cost of textbooks or living expenses, start by completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Additional financial aid opportunities are sometimes available through individual colleges and to residents of certain geographic areas. You may also find scholarships through professional sports leagues and industry associations. Here are some resources to get you started.



Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.