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Jobs Outlook: Athletes, Coaches, Umpires, and Related Workers




Employment of athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Employment will grow as the general public continues to increasingly participate in organized sports as a form of entertainment, recreation, and physical conditioning. Job growth also will be driven by the increasing numbers of baby boomers approaching retirement, during which they are expected to become more active participants of leisure-time activities, such as golf and tennis, and require instruction. The large numbers of the children of baby boomers in high schools and colleges also will be active participants in athletics and require coaches and instructors.

Expanding opportunities are expected for coaches and instructors, as a higher value is being placed upon physical fitness in our society. Americans of all ages are engaging in more physical fitness activities, such as participating in amateur athletic competition and joining athletic clubs, and are being encouraged to participate in physical education. Employment of coaches and instructors also will increase with expansion of school and college athletic programs and growing demand for private sports instruction. Sports-related job growth within education also will be driven by the decisions of local school boards. Population growth dictates the construction of additional schools, particularly in the expanding suburbs. However, funding for athletic programs is often one of the first areas to be cut when budgets become tight, but the popularity of team sports often enables shortfalls to be offset somewhat by assistance from fundraisers, booster clubs, and parents. Persons who are State-certified to teach academic subjects in addition to physical education are likely to have the best prospects for obtaining coach and instructor jobs. The need to replace many high school coaches also will provide some coaching opportunities.

Competition for professional athlete jobs will continue to be extremely intense. Opportunities to make a living as a professional in individual sports such as golf or tennis may grow as new tournaments are established and prize money distributed to participants increases. Most professional athletesí careers last only several years due to debilitating injuries and age, so a large proportion of the athletes in these jobs is replaced every year, creating some job opportunities. However, a far greater number of talented young men and women dream of becoming a sports superstar and will be competing for a very limited number of job openings.

Opportunities should be best for persons seeking part-time umpire, referee, and other sports official jobs at the high school level, but competition is expected for higher paying jobs at the college level, and even greater competition for jobs in professional sports. Competition should be very keen for jobs as scouts, particularly for professional teams, as the number of available positions is limited.