25 Best Online Sports Management Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

We’ve ranked the 25 Best Online Sports Management Degree Programs for 2020. Compare colleges, explore careers, and accelerate your degree.

Online Sports Management Degree

An online sports management degree can prepare you for a wide variety of jobs. Whether you dream of becoming a manager, advertiser, coach, recruiter or broadcast announcer, this is the degree track for you.

Is It Smart to Get a Sports Management Degree?

Sports management is a broad field that covers everything from highly-paid recruiters to modest track and field managers. It’s the opposite of a vocational degree that trains you for a specific job. Instead, it will teach you an assortment of skills that can be applied to different careers in administration, marketing, healthcare, education, public relations and more.

The good news is that sports management is on the rise. The athletic industry is worth billions of dollars, and new jobs are added each year as demand just gets bigger and bigger. For example, the job outlook for coaches and scouts is expected to rise 11 percent in the next decade, and that’s more than double the national average.

Another nice thing about sports management degrees is that they can be obtained at every level:

  • Certification
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree
  • Doctorate

An associate degree is usually enough for entry-level jobs. For better positions with bigger paychecks, you’ll need to commit to a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Courses for an Online Sports Management Degree

There are two ways to get a sports management degree. The first is earning a “general” degree, and the second is having a degree concentration in something specific.

If you choose to specialize, your course map will look different than your fellow classmates. However, all of you will learn the same fundamental skills needed for a career in sports management.

Here are a few courses that you can expect to see at your chosen school:

Introduction to Sport Management

This is a basic, entry-level class for sports management. It covers the broad strokes of the subject and introduces different areas of interest for students, including law, media, marketing, healthcare and science. When you’re finished with this class, you’ll have a better understanding of sports management and what you can do with a degree in it.

Finance

Finance classes are essential for a sports management major. Even if you don’t plan on having a job that deals with a lot of numbers, you’ll need to be familiar with the economics behind things like budgets and contracts. If you do want a career that will involve math, be prepared to take courses in algebra, statistics and accounting.

Ethics

Sports can pose a lot of ethical issues. You’ve probably seen a few of them in newspaper headlines. While ethics classes aren’t required by all sports management programs, it’s a good idea to take them as electives even if the school doesn’t make you. That way, you’ll know how to handle any legal and moral dilemmas that come your way.

Brand Management

Brand management is a critical skill for managers, marketers and public relations specialists. This is true for any industry, but it’s especially relevant for high-profile athletes. If your career will put you or your clients in the public eye, you’ll want to take a few courses in brand management. You’ll learn skills related to media, communications, journalism and PR.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology classes are a common requirement for sports management degrees. You might not need them if you aren’t going into the health or science side of the industry, but it’s good to be familiar with subjects like these when your job revolves around athletes.

Fieldwork

Many sports management degree programs have a fieldwork component. It’s usually an internship with an athletic agency or some other company that relates to your area of study. It’s possible to complete this requirement even when you’re getting your degree online, but you’ll need to talk to the school to learn specifics.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Sports Management Degree?

A sports management degree can qualify you for work in many different fields.

If you want to work directly with athletes, you can become a coach, manager, talent scout or public relations expert. You can be the person who negotiates their contracts, formulates their plays or handles all of their press.

If you prefer to work behind the scenes, you might enjoy work as an administrator. You can manage stadiums and sports facilities; you can figure out the logistics of ticket sales, merchandise sales, track maintenance and game day operations.

If you’re good with numbers, you could become a statistician who calculates odds and risks. If you’re good with words, you could make a living as a sports anchor or sports journalist.

You can also take careers and give them an athletic spin. For example, law students can focus on sports law; med students can devote themselves to nutrition, fitness, physical therapy or sports injuries.

There’s no limit to the careers that you can enjoy with a sports management degree. Not only will it open doors in terms of employment, but it will also equip you with the education and experience that you need to succeed.

Sports Management Degree Salary

With so many different jobs available to sports management majors, the salary ranges provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are quite different as well.

  • Marketing Manager ($132,620)
  • Agent or Business Manager ($90,930)
  • Statistician ($88,190)
  • Sports Psychologist ($75,043)
  • Dietitian or Nutritionist ($60,370)
  • Athletic Director ($60,323)
  • Sports Facility Manager ($57,000)
  • Sports Manager ($55,000)
  • Sports Broadcaster ($55,000)
  • Event Planner ($49,370)
  • Athletic Trainer ($47,510)

It’s important to note that salaries can be quite different between the highest and lowest earners in any given job. For example, the lowest-earning statisticians take home $53,000 per year while the highest-earning statisticians rake in $139,000 per year.

Sports Management Degree Professional Organizations

Industry organizations can offer a lot of resources to both college students and post-graduation professionals. You’ll need to pay an annual membership fee to gain access to their content, but it’s usually worth the expense. Here are just a few professional organizations that you might consider as a sports management major.

College Sports Information Directors of America

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) is an all-in-one resource for everything related to sports information on the collegiate level. It has articles, videos and conferences about the latest trends of the industry as well as job postings, resume advice and year-long mentorship programs. It even funds scholarships for college students.

The North American Society for Sport Management

The North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) is dedicated specifically to sport management. It puts out two scholarly journals, The Journal of Sport Management and The Sport Management Education Journal, and it hosts an annual conference. It also funds various grants and awards to students, educators, coaches and other sports management professionals.

Sport Marketing Association

The Sport Marketing Association (SMA) is the largest organization of its kind. Membership is open to both U.S. and international residents, and students pay less than others. Once you’re a member, you’ll enjoy access to conferences, scholarships, academic journals and other sport marketing resources.

Accreditation for Sports Management Degrees Online

You’ll hear a lot about accreditation during your college search. To sum it up, accreditation is a voluntary review process that colleges go through to prove their educational standards.

Since it isn’t required by law, some colleges choose not to do it. Some degree mills don’t even try because they know that they won’t qualify.

However, many employers will only hire people who come from accredited colleges. Accreditation is also necessary if you’re applying for federal financial aid like FAFSA.

There are three types of accreditation:

  • Regional accreditation is the most common. It’s offered by six different U.S. accrediting boards that divide the country by regions. For example, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits colleges in Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
  • National accreditation is mostly for private schools and religious schools. Because of the separation of church and state, religious schools aren’t eligible for regional accreditation.
  • Programmatic accreditation is for schools or degree programs within a specific industry. For example, the American Bar Association accredits law schools, and the American Culinary Federation accredits culinary schools.

To find accredited colleges, search the databases of organizations like the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). They offer information on all three types of accreditation.

How Do I Get a Sports Management Degree?

The admission requirements for a sports management degree program are usually the same as any other degree. For most colleges, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED to apply, and they might ask for transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation or SAT/ACT test scores as well.

Your school might or might not accept you into the sports management program right away. You might need to complete a certain amount of coursework to establish a good GPA before you can apply.

One important thing to note about sports management degrees is that many of them have an internship requirement. It isn’t universal, but it’s common. You’ll need to talk to the school about how you can satisfy this requirement when you’re getting your degree online.

Financial Aid for Online Sports Management Bachelor Degrees

More than 13 million students receive financial aid, so if you need help funding your degree, you aren’t alone. There are several ways to lower the cost of college.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the centerpiece of financial aid. Even other sources of financial aid will ask you to fill out the FAFSA first. It offers three types of assistance:

  • Loans are borrowed funds that have to be paid back, but if you’re under a certain income limit, the government will pay the interest on the loan while you’re in school. This is called a “subsidized” loan rather than an “unsubsidized” loan.
  • Grants don’t have to be paid back, so they’re essentially free money for college. However, they come with restrictions based on things like income level and enrollment status. Some industry-specific grants might also require you to work within that industry after you graduate or forfeit the grant.
  • Work-study programs will connect you with part-time jobs while you’re in school. Most of these are service jobs on campus, but there are also job placements with approved organizations outside of the university.

In addition to the help offered by FAFSA, you can look for grants and scholarships provided by sports management associations. These are considered “private” aid since they don’t come from the government.

  • Dorothy Harris Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship offers $1,500 to women who are pursuing a degree in sports management.
  • CoSIDA Scholarship: Funded by the College Sports Information Directors of America, this scholarship gives $5,000 to undergraduate students who are majoring in sports information, media relations or athletic communications.
  • Chuck McPhilomy Scholarship: This scholarship is for trainers, managers and coaches who are studying physical education pedagogy or sports management.
  • Glenn M. Wong Sport Law Scholarship: This scholarship is for students who are interested in sports law. Sports management majors are welcome to apply.

These are just a few of the scholarships that you can find for sports-related fields, including sports management. There are many more, so don’t hesitate to look around.

What College Has the Best Sports Management Program?

Every student is different, so it can be difficult to determine the “best” sports management program for any given person. However, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself before enrolling.

Is it accredited? This is one of the most important factors in choosing a school. If the college itself isn’t regionally or nationally accredited, the degree program needs to have programmatic accreditation.

How’s the online program? Are the classes synchronous or asynchronous? Are they self-paced, or will you have to follow a set schedule? What technology do they require? What’s their digital learning platform like?

What sports management courses are offered by the program? While the fundamentals are the same everywhere, there are skills and specializations that you can seek out from select colleges.

Which schools are worth the money? The lowest tuition price isn’t necessarily the best. Look for schools with high graduation rates and employment rates that will increase your return on investment overall.

Can You Get an Online Sports Management Certificate?

Many schools offer online certification in sports management. Depending on the program, they could last from weeks to months, or they could require sitting for an exam whenever you’re ready.

Some are general certifications that will round out your resume or verify you as an expert. Others have special concentrations for particular areas of sports management, including:

  • Public relations
  • Law and liability
  • Sports marketing
  • Risk management
  • Coaching
  • Security

The value of a sports management certification will vary. For some students, it could be an expense that pays off with better job prospects and more professional skills in their tool belt. For others, it could be a waste of time and money that’s better spent on a college degree.

Is a Sports Management Degree Worth It?

A sports management degree is a worthy investment for the future. The industry is growing by the way, and you’ll have plenty of options in terms of degrees, internships and job prospects. Now is a great time to enroll in a sports management degree program.

List of 25 Best Online Sports Management Bachelor’s Degree

#1  Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Beginning in 1966 and through several name changes, Bellevue University is a public educational institution excels in online instruction. It gives working adults a flexible way to achieve a bachelorette or master’s degree in a multitude of program fields. Bellevue University prides itself on its ability to reach students globally.

  • BA in Sport Management
  • BS in Sport Management

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2  California Baptist University

California Baptist University campus

As a private, Christian, liberal arts postsecondary school, California Baptist University started its mission to provide a Christ-centered education in 1950. Through integrated academic and spiritual guidance, CBU paves the way for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in a variety of academic majors in-class or online.

  • BA in Sport, Recreation and Fitness Management

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

#3  Central Methodist University

Central Methodist University campus

Central Methodist University is a private educational entity in the state of Missouri that is committed to helping students find a sense of self as they work towards an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Starting in1854, CMU has over forty program majors and delivers classes in person or via online courses.

  • BS in Sports Management

Central Methodist University is accredited and/or recognized by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University campus

Established in 1925, Colorado Mesa University is a public postsecondary school that spans over three campuses that hold thirteen academic departments. Learners are inspired to take part in the vibrant campus life but can also take classes online. CMU has a degree path for students seeking an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s, doctoral education.

  • BS in Sport Management

CMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Columbia College

Columbia College campus

Columbia College is a private educational facility that believes in a solid liberal arts foundation for all programs offered. Columbia College women’s college that started in 1854 by the Methodist Church and has grown into a dynamic college that allows both men and women to gain undergraduate and graduate degrees.

  • BA in Sports Management
  • BS in Sports Management

Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Concordia University – Chicago

Concordia University Chicago campus

As a private liberal arts school, Concordia University โ€“ Chicago began in 1864 that is engrained with the Lutheran faith practices. There are over a hundred possible fields of study that allow students to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree through any of the five colleges accessible through Concordia University โ€“ Chicago.

  • BA in Sports and Recreation Management

Concordia University Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Davenport University

Davenport University campus

Established in 1866, Davenport University is a private postsecondary school that offers a variety of programs that lead to an associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees. They provide both in-class and distant learning options to give students a more flexible course schedule. Many of the classes at Davenport are seven weeks long.

  • BBA in Sport Management

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#8  Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University campus

The idea of Eastern Kentucky University started in 1874, and through a combination of events, the college began in 1906. EKU is a public university that now serves thousands of students, helping them earn a degree on every level, ranging from an associate to a doctoral and everywhere in between.

  • Bachelor’s in Sport Management

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#9  Florida International University

Florida International University campus

As a public university that offers an array of degree programs, Florida International University works with students worldwide to gain a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. FIU began in 1965 and the only public university in the state to offer a high degree in law and medicine. They have an extensive online educational program.

  • BS in Recreation and Sport Management

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#10  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University is a private Christian postsecondary school that began in 1949. They have over 200 programs of study that can lead to either a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. GCU has nine schools that cater to a diverse student population and a wide-ranging distance learning program that reaches worldwide.

  • BS in Sports Management

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#11  Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University campus

Johnson and Wales University is a private educational institution that began in 1914. It offers a hands-on curriculum in many programs of study that leads to an under, graduate, or doctoral degree. With online and in-seat courses, its instructors believe in using creative thinking and innovation to find solutions to career-related issues.

  • BS in Sport Management

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#12  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University began in 1771 and has developed into a large private, faith-based university. LU offers over 600 programs that lead to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. As a military-friendly school, Liberty University reaches students around the world and help them to become innovative, influential leaders in their communities.

  • BS in Sports Management – Communication and Public Relations
  • BS in Sports Management – Conference and Event Management
  • BS in Sports Management – Sport Outreach
  • BS in Sports Management – Sport Venue Management
  • BS in Sports Management – Sports Administration

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#13  McKendree University

Mckendree University campus

McKendree University is a world-renowned, private educational facility that began in 1828. MU’s main campus is located in the heart of Lebanon and is the oldest college in Illinois. Offering a variety of programs to students seeking an undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, McKendree University reaches students across twenty-nine states and twenty-five countries.

  • BBA in Sport Management

McKendree University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

#14  Mercy College

Mercy College campus

Mercy College is a private, non-secular educational institution that spans across forty states and into forty-nine countries. Formerly affiliated with the Roman Catholic faith, Mercy College started in 1950 and was, and now offers students a bachelor’s master’s and doctoral studies can help them gain an innovative career in their field.

  • BSBA in Sport Management

Mercy College is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#15  Midway University

Midway University campus

Midway University is a private college with a foundation in liberal arts studies. Beginning in 1847, Midway has advanced into a worldwide university offering a variety of majors that lead to an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree. Its online degree programs allow students to earn degrees quicker with accelerated eight-week courses.

  • Bachelor’s in Sport Management

Midway University is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#16  Missouri Baptist University

Missouri Baptist University campus

Believing in coming together for the common good, Missouri Baptist University is a private Southern Baptist postsecondary school that started in 1957. MBU is located in Creve Coeur, Missouri, but has several satellite schools across the state. It offers more than seventy undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs to a diverse student population.

  • Bachelor’s in Sport Management

Missouri Baptist University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#17  Post University

Post University campus

  • BS in Sport Management

Post University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#18  Shorter University

Shorter University campus

Offering a faith-based education in an innovative way, Shorter University is a private Baptist postsecondary school that began in 1873. Shorter University is rated one of the south’s most beautiful campuses and is home to students from all over the world. SU has a degree path that leads to an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree.

  • BBA in Sport Management

Shorter University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#19  Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Beginning in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University a large private educational facility that offers hundreds of programs, ranging from certificates to doctoral degrees. With a variety of learning opportunities, Southern New Hampshire University believes in student-center education. Reaching thousands of students around the world, SNHU prides itself on its dynamic distance learning program.

  • BSBA in Sports Management

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

#20  Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls College campus

Toccoa Falls College offers a unique blend of faith-studies, academic rigor, and character building for students enrolled at this private Christian college. Toccoa Falls College began in 1907 and gives students a path to an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in a variety of programs. TFC offers students a choice of in-class or online studies.

  • BS in Sport Management

Toccoa Falls College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#21  Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University started in 1887 in Alabama as a public school for teacher education. Today, Troy University is a world-renowned school that has hundreds of programs leading to an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree program, online and on-campus. TU strives to help students find a sense of self as they develop academically.

  • Bachelor’s in Sport Management – Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  University of Florida

University of Florida campus

Working hard to make a difference in the world and their community, the University of Florida began in 1853 and is now a top-notch public research university. Offering both online and in-class degree programs, the University of Florida set high standards for its many undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. It is a leader in innovation and technology.

  • BS in Sport Management

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#23  University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

The University of Iowa is a world-renowned public educational institution that began in 1847. Reaching students across the US and in 114 countries around the world, the University of Iowa has hundreds of academic programs that help students gain an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level degree. Community outreach is prominent that is college.

  • BS in Sport and Recreation Management

The University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#24  University of Minnesota – Crookston

University of Minnesota - Crookston campus

Established in 1966, the University of Minnesota โ€“ Crookston is a public education facility that reaches over many states in the US and twenty countries worldwide. Offering an array of programs that lead to an undergraduate degree, they have four academic departments. They have a diverse population that strives to bring positive change globally.

  • BS in Sport and Recreation Management

The University of Minnesota Crookston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

#25  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

Wilmington University is a private educational institution that began in 1968. They have developed into a large organization that offers a multitude of programs to students all over the world. Its associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree programs provide career-oriented learning objectives to help ensure students meet their educational goals.

  • BS in Sports Management

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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