When you look at some of the top careers in sports psychology, you can learn more about the careers available to you once you finish your degree. Sports psychology is the study of performance. You’ll learn why the body reacts the way it does to certain stimuli and how you can help your patients improve the way they play. In addition to working as a sport psychologist, you can also use your degree in other ways, including working as an athletic coach or a trainer.
With the training that you go through in college, you might consider looking for careers in sports psychology outside of the box like that of an athletic coach. Coaches can work with both professional and amateur athletes. A coach working for a professional sports organization will typically spend time watching past games, making sure that players stay healthy, running practices and helping players win games. At the amateur level, you might work with college players, high school students or even kids. Coaches must understand how injuries can affect the entire body and the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise.
Though you can use your sports psychology degree to work as an athletic trainer, you generally need knowledge of kinesiology and anatomy. Many trainers go through a physical therapy program and do an extensive internship working with real athletes and patients before working in the field. Trainers often attend both games and practices. They help players learn how to recover from their injuries and let them know when they can get back in the game. Trainers also work behind the scenes and recommend treatments for injured players such as wearing a brace or wrap, using painkillers and even going through surgery.
If you enjoyed your college years and want to give back to the next generation of students, consider earning a PhD and going back to college to work as a professor. Most colleges require that professors continue with their research, but you can hire assistants to help you with that research. Professors are responsible for picking the textbooks that they teach from, creating assignments for their students and grading the work that students do. You may also work as an adviser and help students meet the requirements for graduation or work as a thesis adviser and help students write their final papers.
One of the more popular careers in sports psychology is that of a sport or sports psychologist. A sports psychologist works with both amateur and professional athletes and help those athletes improve their performances. You might work with players suffering from psychological conditions that impair their movements or with those going through problems in their personal lives. According to the American Psychological Association, sports psychologists earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year and some earn more than $100,000 a year. You’ll need a strong understanding of of both clinical and applied psychology to work in this field.
Related Resource: What is a Counseling Psychologist?
Sports psychology combines elements of both sports and psychology. It looks at factors like why the body moves in the way it does and how thoughts and behaviors can impact a person’s actions or performance. Some of the careers in sports psychology open to those with a degree in this subject include sports psychologist, college professor, athletic trainer and coach.