Sports professional

Sports professionals are skilled and talented sportsmen and women, who are paid to compete in their chosen sport.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

44 to 46 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a Sports professional

  • an apprenticeship
  • a sponsorship or scholarship scheme

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a level 3 advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence.

This apprenticeship is for 16- to 19-year-olds who show promise of achieving the highest levels in their sport.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Other routes

If you have talent and the potential to do well in your chosen sport, you could get help from:

  • sponsorship schemes run by some universities to provide support to carry on training while studying
  • the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, which supports young people in education to perform at their best in their sport, while keeping up their studies

More information

Career tips

You'll usually start by joining a club or amateur organisation. There you can show your skills and get instruction and training. A lot of sports professionals are spotted early on by a talent scout.

In most sports, you'll find it useful to carry on training or education in a subject or area different from your sport. This will be useful if you:

  • need another income apart from your sport
  • need another income for when your performing career is over
  • are not as successful in sport as you hope to be

You can get details of local clubs and advice on the best way to progress in your sport from your sport's national governing body (NGB).

Further information

You can get a list of national governing bodies from Sport England.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

For some sports you’ll need to meet very specific entry requirements, for instance:

  • horse racing requires jockeys to be a certain height and weight
  • boxing has divisions according to weight

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You'll:

  • compete in matches and competitions
  • keep up and improve your skills with regular practice
  • maintain your general fitness and stamina by training
  • make sure your diet and lifestyle help you to achieve peak performance
  • take advice from coaches, nutritionists, exercise professionals, sports psychologists and doctors

Working environment

You could work on a sports field or at a fitness centre.

Your working environment may be you may spend nights away from home and outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

In the more physical and contact sports, your career would usually be short. Many professionals finish their sporting career by the age of 35.

After your career ends, you could stay involved in sport by moving into areas like coaching, refereeing, team management, sports journalism or sports centre work.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Sports professional right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a Sports professional?

Search for training courses near you.

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