Athletes and Sports Competitors

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Purpose: 79
  • Supported: 45
  • Social: 44
  • Creative: 30
  • Analytical: 19

What Athletes and Sports Competitors Do

Athletes and sports competitors participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators.

Work Environment

Athletes and sports competitors often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. They usually work more than 40 hours a week for several months during their particular sports season. They often work outside, so they may be exposed to all weather conditions.

How to Become an Athlete or Sports Competitor

No formal educational credential is required to become an athlete or sports competitor. Athletes must have superior athletic talent and immense knowledge of their sport, which they usually get through years of practice and experience at lower levels of competition.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of athletes and sports competitors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for most professional athlete jobs will remain very strong.

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    Growth & Trends

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    This occupation supported 14,900 jobs in 2012 and 13,700 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 8.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 6.7% in 2022 to 15,900 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 15,100, compared with an observed value of 13,700, 9.3% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 5.4% in 2024 to 14,500 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 16,100 jobs for 2024, 11.0% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.