Accelerated Sports Management Degree Programs

By Joy Cromwelle
Updated on February 8, 2024
Ready to start your journey?
Finish your studies faster with an Accelerated Sports Management Program. Spend less time in class and graduate sooner!

An accelerated sports management degree program can help students become active and integral participants in the behind-the-scenes actions of the sports industry.

Accelerated Sports Management Degree

If you have your sights set on a career in sports management, earning an accelerated college degree in sports management online or on campus can help you get a jumpstart. You may also see this degree listed as Sports and Recreation Management, but it is essentially the same degree.

Here you can take a look at what to expect if you enroll in an accelerated program that offers this degree and what you may do with your degree once you earn it.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Accelerated Sports Management Program Curriculum

Accelerated Sports Management Program Curriculum

The sports industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, providing exciting and rewarding career options for sports management degree holders. You may pursue work in the sports industry after completing an accelerated sports management degree.

Most accelerated sports management degree programs offer a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Sports Management or a Bachelor’s in Business – Sports Management.

In addition to completing core courses that cover subject areas like writing, humanities, math, and science, students complete a large number of credit hours toward learning the specifics of sports management.

Some of these major-specific courses might include:

  • Business Law
  • Sports Management Accounting
  • Sports Organization
  • Sports Law
  • Sports Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Applied Research

Most programs will offer at least an overview of all the different areas of sports management, but some programs allow students to specialize in one or more areas of concentration.

Some possible concentrations you could pursue are:

  • Event Management
  • Sports Media
  • Sports Marketing
  • Organizational Management

Making sure the aspect of sports management that you’re interested in is offered in-depth in the program you choose can help better prepare you for your degree of choice.

Accelerated Format

athlete running in a track field

Taking an accelerated college degree program is considered a convenient option for many students because it can give them the opportunity to finish faster. But since the degree is completed faster than a traditional program, they are typically more demanding as well.

Most accelerated courses meet for 5 to 8 weeks instead of 16 weeks. You’ll be expected to learn the same amount of information but in a shorter amount of time.

The great part about these accelerated programs is that they have carefully designed curriculums so that you may meet degree requirements in a shortened time frame. You don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

Master’s Degree in Sports Management

There are a number of traditional and online master’s degree in sports management programs. Commonly, a graduate degree in sports management is offered in the form of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Sports Management (or a similar concentration).

Earning this degree can be particularly beneficial for people already working in the sports industry who desire leadership and management positions that are unobtainable without an advanced degree.

Accelerated MBA programs are a popular way to earn an MBA with a concentration in Sports Management. Some of these programs even offer an accelerated format in which you can potentially earn your degree in just one year.

Most MBA programs require students to complete an internship or practicum component in which they work in the industry before they can obtain their degree.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Sports Management?

sports manager talking to athletes in a soccer field

Earning an accelerated college degree in sports management can help prepare you to enter a variety of careers.

The most high-profile and high-paying jobs working for the major sports leagues and teams probably won’t be available right out of the gate. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a satisfying job right after completing your degree, though.

The following careers are often a good match for someone with a degree in sports management at either the bachelor’s or master’s level:

  • Operations manager for a sporting venue or event (like the Olympics)
  • Sports partnerships director helping athletes with community outreach
  • Sales representative for a sports team
  • Sports management director for a sports team or sporting event
  • Community relations coordinator/director helping a sports team with fundraising and outreach initiatives
  • Promotional manager for a sports venue

Whether you’re interested in working with athletes, fans, or support staff, there are many exciting career options available with a sports management degree.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

What Jobs Can You Get with a Sports Management Degree?

Jobs You Can Get with a Sports Management Degree

Athletes may be the stars of the sporting industry, but they aren’t the only ones who get paid well in the sports industry. Event coordinators, athletics administrators, sports marketers, and guest relations managers all work behind the scenes in this exciting industry.

Event coordinators act as liaisons between team management, venue management, and the fans to ensure lively and engaging environments for sporting events.

Athletics administrators are responsible for supervising almost every facet of a sports franchise’s operations. This could mean they are responsible for everything from recruiting staff to procuring athletic equipment.

Sports marketing professionals are tasked to create buzz about franchises and sports organizations.

Guest relations managers ensure positive fan experiences during sporting events.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the average salaries for careers that can be pursued with a sports management degree:

Career Annual Median Salary
Director of Operations $185,950
Operations Managers $103,650
Facilities Managers $98,890
Business Managers of Athletes $75,420
Event Coordinators $51,560

Your experience and location will likely have a big impact on your compensation, so it may take a few years to earn this kind of money in the sports business.

Professional Organizations for Those with a Sports Management Degree

logos of Professional Organizations for those with a Sports Management Degree

There are several professional organizations that graduates of sports management programs can join for professional development and support. Some popular options are:

  • College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA): Founded in 1957, this national organization of sports communicators and information professionals has more than 3,100 members from collegiate athletics in the US and Canada. It provides professional development courses, such as leadership and mentorship programs.
  • National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics: Founded in 1965, this is the largest association of collegiate athletics administrators. It has more than 15,000 individual members and close to 2,000 institution members throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Its members include athletics directors, conference commissioners, and others.
  • North American Society for Sport Management: This organization actively supports professionals working in the sports, recreation, and leisure industries. It promotes, stimulates, and encourages research and study of sports management.
  • Sport Marketing Association: A leading professional group for sports marketers, the Sport Marketing Association is a private, non-profit organization that creates, distributes, and implements sports marketing knowledge.

Joining one of these organizations while you’re in school can help you get unique insights into the industry and give you possible networking opportunities.

Certification and Licensure Following a Sports Management Degree

sports manager receiving a certificate

After completing a sports management degree, you may apply for the following certifications:

  • NBPA Certification: Acquiring certification from the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) can help give you the opportunity to represent and negotiate contracts on behalf of players of the National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • NIAAA Certification: The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) promotes, preserves, and supports athletic administrators in U.S. middle and high schools. Acquiring certification from this organization can provide you with opportunities for program development, professional growth, and continuing education.

Earning certifications can help show employers that you are committed to your profession.

Accreditation for a Sports Management Degree Online

logos of the six regional accreditors

When choosing a sports management degree online program, it is important to choose a school that has regional accreditation from one of these boards:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Regional accreditation helps to ensure that a school is meeting educational standards.

You can also look for specific programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Sports Management or COSMA. It promotes excellence in the field of sports management by recognizing institutions that consistently deliver excellent educational programs.

If you foresee yourself becoming an athletic coach in the future, many in the industry recommend attending a school accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education.

Financial Aid for an Online Sports Management Degree

screenshot of FAFSA website

You may apply for financial aid even if you plan to complete your sports management degree online. You can apply for federal financial aid as long as you attend an accredited school.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will allow you to see which grants and loans you qualify for. These can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, and school supplies. They can also help you cover living expenses.

You can try applying for scholarships from your university or private businesses and foundations.

You may also opt for private student loans, but you need to have good credit to qualify and will likely need to repay them at a higher interest rate.

If you’re working, you can talk to your employer about tuition assistance as well. Many businesses sponsor students earning their bachelor’s degrees in the hopes that they will develop skills and knowledge that will improve the company.

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management?

Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management

Getting a bachelor’s degree in sports management can help students learn how to plan, organize, and direct professional sports clubs and athletic events. Courses cover areas such as humanities, science, mathematics, business, and management.

Is It Smart to Get a Sports Management Degree?

Yes, many find getting a sports management degree to be a smart decision.

You may be generously rewarded if you manage to land an athletic or sports management job. Many sports management careers come with excellent benefits packages.

You might also get the chance to work with star athletes and be a part of the exciting world of pro or college sports.

How Many Years Do You Have to Go to College for Sports Management?

You will likely spend at least 2 years completing a sports management major. Associate degree programs usually take 2 years and may provide entry-level opportunities in the sports industry.

Typically, it takes about 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Acquiring a master’s degree may require another a year or two.

If you take accelerated classes, though, you might cut your time in half. You can potentially decrease your time even further by testing out of classes, submitting a portfolio of prior learning, and maxing out your course load each semester, including in the summer.

Is a Degree in Sports Management Worth It?

sports manager talking to athletes in a gym

Yes, a degree in sports management is worth it for many students.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 9% job growth in management occupations over the next 10 years. Common careers in this field include athlete development specialist, facilities manager, event coordinator, athletics director, and business manager of athletes.

You don’t need to be a gifted athlete to make it in the sports and recreation industry. With a degree in sports management, you may be part of the action, albeit behind the scenes.

Completing a sports management degree can help you pursue a variety of career opporutnities, from events coordinator to athletics director. The athletic management sector often offers a lot of upward mobility.

You can start your journey to a successful career in sports management now by applying to any of the accredited schools offering a degree in sports management.

Ready to start your journey?
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy at Liberty University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Columbia College. With over 20 years of experience navigating online degrees and courses, Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.