Learn about this occupation – including typical duties, education required, salary and job outlook information, job boards and more.
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)
Find detailed information about the occupation, including typical duties and working conditions, in the links below:
- National Occupational Classification (NOC) - Canadian occupational descriptions
- OCCinfo by alis - Alberta-based occupational information
- O*NET Online - U.S. resource for occupational descriptions and information
- Sokanu - Occupational profile and videos (U.S.)
- Taylor Robertson...A Day in the Life - CFL profile of a non-training day
- An off-day in the life of Winnipeg Jets Forward: Adam Lowry - NFL profile about what an 'off-day' looks like for a professional athlete
- Game Plan - Canadian Olympic Committee, Canada's Total Athlete Wellness Program
- Work in Sports podcast - career development and career advice
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.
- Trend Analysis: Job Market Reports (Winnipeg Region) - Gov. of Canada Job Bank
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - Job outlook for the U.S.
- Spotrac - Sports team, & player contract resources including salaries and bonuses
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!
- National Sport Organizations - directory by sport from the Government of Canada
- AthletesCAN - association of Canada’s national team athletes
- Athletics Manitoba - governing body for track and field, cross country and road running
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.
- U Sports (formerly Canadian Interuniversity Sport)
- Canadian Colleges Athletic Associations
- National College Athletics Association (U.S)
- Canada's National Sport Organizations (NSOs) - listing from Own The Podium
- National Women's Soccer League
- Major League Soccer
- Canadian Football League
- National Women's Hockey League - Teams
- National Hockey League - Teams
- National Football League - Teams
- National Basketball Association - Teams
- Women's National Basketball Association - Teams
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.