Athletes participate in competitive sports events on an amateur or professional basis. They play team sports such as hockey, baseball, football and lacrosse; or compete in individual sports such as skiing, figure skating, boxing or track and field; or in games such as poker or chess. They are employed by professional team organizations or they may be self-employed. (National Occupational Classification)

For those considering a career in professional athletics, it is important to note that the number of high performance years within their sport, and hence length of career as an athlete, is often limited. For this reason, aspiring professional athletes are encouraged to prepare for a second occupation. There are various options open to athletes when they retire. Their training and experience may enable them to stay involved in their sport by becoming coaches, trainers, managers, officials, scouts, athletic directors or sports commentators. Sales and promotional work also are popular fields of employment for retired athletes. (alis)

Occupational profile


There is no formal education required to become an athlete. However, reaching a professional level often requires a great deal of technical skill, dedication and perseverance. These competencies, among others developed as an athlete, are valuable in many occupations.  Student athletes are encouraged to think about additional occupational interests when selecting an educational pathway. According to the NCAA (2019), less than 10% of college athletes advance to major professional leagues.

U of M Academic Calendar
The Academic Calendar & Catalogue outlines program admission and course requirements. Use the left menu to navigate to a specific faculty and program. To determine which degree path suits your unique occupational goals, speak with a Career Consultant. For support with course registration and academic issues, speak with an Academic Advisor.

Exploring Other Education Options

Labour market information

Labour market information informs users of supply and demand for specific occupations and sectors. It includes such things as salary and job outlook information. These resources support informed career decision making and job search efforts.


Professional Associations
Professional associations may organize events and provide directories, job postings, career and labour market information. Student membership opportunities may also be available: engage, learn and network!

Directories, Industry Associations, and Sector Councils
These resources provide industry news, labour market information and a list of potential employers. Remember, there are usually multiple industries worth exploring. Given the breadth of athletics, the following list is a small sample.

Job Boards
Athletes typically compete individually to qualify for events or are scouted directly by sports organizations.  Included below are job boards that host sports-related positions, which may be of future or current interest to athletes.  Searching industry-specific job boards can help you learn about skill requirements, employers, job duties and available jobs. You may also wish to search more general online job boards.