Sports Management Associates

By Derick de Souza

Updated March 16, 2024

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Sport is an integral part of human life. Its entertainment and recreational value, coupled with health and wellness benefits, have made it increasingly important in the modern world. Professionals in sports management organize, supervise, and assess the sporting world’s organizational and business components. Between 2020 and 2030, the entertainment and sports industries are expected to add more than 160,600 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Coaches and scouts are expected to climb by 26%, in addition to a 39% increase in employment for fitness trainers and instructors. With an associate degree in sports management, students will be prepared to work in sports facilities, with sports teams, and as coaches and fitness instructors. This guide investigates the many aspects of a sports management associate degree, such as curriculum, specializations, career options, degree types, best colleges, and more.


Best Sports Management
Associates Programs

Choosing a good college is always a challenging task. Finding the best one is even harder. When doing so, one must weigh in several factors, including the institution’s reputation and infrastructure, quality, and experience of the teaching staff, availability of student support services, accreditation, etc. To save students the hassle of zeroing in on the best programs and schools for sports management, Find Best Degrees (FBD) teams have put together a list of the best schools for associates in sports management online in the United States: *

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is a public community college with campuses in Hughesville, La Plata, Leonardtown, and Prince Frederick, Maryland. It offers more than 120 programs of study, including Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science degree programs, and has more than 60 guaranteed transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities.
Univ Address
College of Southern Maryland 8730 Mitchell Rd, La Plata, Maryland 20646

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to expect from Sports Management
Associates Programs

Associate degree programs are meant for those seeking entry-level jobs before pursuing further education or taking their careers to the next level. The Guide to Associate Programs explains this better. Students of sports management associates online degrees will learn the basics of sports management, including coaching, operations, budgeting, and marketing.

Although most sports management associates are in-person programs, because of practical classes that require students to be physically present, several colleges offer low-residency online degree programs for working professionals who do not want to give up their current jobs for school. Individual assignments and examinations, as well as group projects and presentations, are also part of the program. Students will learn vital information for an entry-level career in sports management by studying marketing, accounting, finance, and related disciplines through the lens of the sports industry. Some colleges even offer hybrid programs that blend online and on-campus classes without compromising quality and outcomes.

The sports management associates degrees give students a solid foundation in business management, accounting, finance, communications, marketing, ethics, and law. Most of the core courses in this approximately 60-credit degree give students an awareness of the importance of sports in society and the function of management in sports, as well as opportunities to apply what they have learned in sports-related organizations. Depending on the school, program, and chosen concentration, prospective students may be required to take up elective courses and other prerequisites. Here are some of the typical courses one can expect in an associate’s degree in sports management online program:

Introduction to Sports Management

This course discusses business themes from the perspective of the sports industry, including marketing, sales and revenue generation, communication, finance, strategic management, and facilities management. Students will learn about professions in the sports industry, including professional, college, youth, and non-profit sports, as well as worldwide branding, merchandising, sponsorships, and entertainment events, both in the United States and abroad.

Management and Leadership in Sport

This course looks at the crucial role of management and leadership in sports companies. It examines how leadership is strategic to organizational operations, drawing on academic underpinnings in industrial psychology, organizational theory, and organizational behavior. Students will consider their own ways of managing companies and obtain a deeper understanding of leadership theory and practice.

Principles of Sport Marketing

This course evaluates different sport and entertainment environments, identifying target markets, brand building, and the marketing tasks of product or service planning, price, promotion, and placement. Students research the sports industry and consumer trends to determine client requirements and needs and design successful marketing strategies to meet them.

Historical and Sociological Issues in Sport

This course is meant to help students study and comprehend how historical and social forces influence sport and physical activity, as well as how sport and physical exercise influence society. In addition, the sociological elements that influence sport in culture are examined in this course. The goal of the course is to give students a solid theoretical foundation and the skills to analyze sociological concerns in sport critically.

Some of the other core courses in an online associate in sports management include but are not limited to:

  • Philosophy and Principles of Physical Education and Athletics
  • Sport Public Relations and Promotions
  • Individual Sports
  • Introduction to Sport Science
  • Sociology of Sport
  • Sport Facilities
  • History of Sport in the United States
  • Coaching Fundamentals
  • Sports Ethics and Law
  • Team Sports
  • Business Ethics
  • Sport Administration
  • Sport Performance Coaching
  • Sport Legal Liability and Risk Management
  • Sport, Exercise, and Wellness Psychology

It is also standard practice for the sports management associates program to include general education courses, including:

  • American History
  • Speech Communications
  • Modern World
  • Medieval World
  • Contemporary World
  • American Literature
  • International Management
  • International Economics
  • General Education Mathematics
  • Cultural Connections
  • Introduction to Probability and Statistics
  • History of Sport in the United States

Degree Types for Sports Management
Associates Programs

An associate degree in accounting enables students to professionally practice financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, auditing, etc. But depending on the degree type, the specialization or concentration of subjects and hence the emphasis of the degree type is important to understand what students are getting into. Below we discuss the same.

Associate of Arts in Sports Management

The associate of arts or AA sports management is a degree stemming from the liberal arts and humanities disciplines. This degree focuses on the theoretical, social, and humanitarian aspects of sports management and is an excellent option for those interested in continuing their education with a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.

Associate of Science in Sports Management

The associate of science or AS sports management is a degree stemming from the sciences and mathematics disciplines. This degree focuses on the practical, technical, and scientific aspects of sports management and is an excellent option for those interested in joining the workforce in on-the-field jobs immediately after graduation.

Associate of Applied Science in Sports Management

The associate of applied science or AAS sports management is similar to the associate of science degree but emphasizes a more hands-on approach to learning sports management. It prepares students for various entry-level roles in the sports industry, both on and off the field.

Areas of Specialization in Sports Management
Associates Programs

The associate’s degree in sports management online offers a variety of unique specializations to its students. These specializations are designed to support emerging trends, meet the demand of the sports industry, and allow students to tailor their education to match their interests and career goals. The following are some of the areas of concentration from which students might select:

Area of SpecializationDescriptionCareer Options
High-Performance CoachingThis specialization is an excellent choice for students interested in learning how to improve athletic performance by enhancing their understanding and application of cutting-edge science from physiology, coaching, psychology, and kinesiology. It assists coaches, and sports administrators achieve peak performance in their sport organizations’ administrative and athletic domains.This specialization can lead to jobs as high-performance coaches, endurance trainers, sports administrators, sports managers, etc.
Sport Event ManagementThis specialization examines the difficulties and potential rewards of arranging sporting events on regional, national, and international levels, including those at the Olympic level. Students are required to finish a yearlong sequence of specialized courses and sometimes assist in organizing sporting events to gain hands-on experience.This specialization can lead to jobs as sporting event managers, sports publicists, sports administrators, sports managers, stadium operations specialists, event sales associates, etc.
Sport LawThis specialization is a good fit for students interested in learning more about the rules, regulations, and laws governing many elements of the sports sector. It helps students better comprehend the legal issues that many sports management professionals encounter throughout their careers. This specialization is useful for professional or aspiring lawyers, as well as collegiate compliance officers, whose current or future careers may require advanced understanding or acquaintance with sports legislation.This specialization can lead to jobs as sports managers, sports administrators, sports legal advisors, match referees, arbitrators, etc.
Athlete DevelopmentThis specialization is designed for students who want to work directly with athletes to help them grow as individuals during their sporting careers. This new field of study offers a lot of promise for athletes and those who wish to help them with financial literacy, professionalism, behavior, and career development.This specialization can lead to jobs as personal trainers, personal sports managers, team administrators, match referees, sports marketing specialists, etc.

Some of the other areas of concentration in a sports management associates are:

  • Sports Marketing
  • Sports Public Relations
  • Sports Management & Digital Media
  • Sports Administration
  • Sports Finance
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports Coaching Methodology
  • Exercise Science

Why should I get into Sports Management
Associates Programs?

Earning an associate’s degree in sports management online involves perseverance, initiative, and commitment. Active participation is crucial because the sports management industry is hands-on, necessitating students to complete an internship or other practical requirements. English, information technology, science, and humanities classes are combined with business courses in an online sports management associate degree.

Students with natural talent, skill, and flair for sports are the best fit for a sports management degree program. Those looking for entry-level careers in this domain should opt for the associate degree in sports management online, which will provide them with the basic knowledge and skillset required to start in the sports industry. Students can carve out careers in minor and major league sports, athletic administration, sport promotion, client management, facility and event management, equipment development, and more. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that the entertainment and sports industries are expected to add more than 160,600 jobs, between 2020 and 2030, doing an associate’s degree in sports management is arguably a worthwhile choice.

Upon graduating, individuals with an associate’s degree in sports management online would be ready to showcase a host of skills, including the ability to:

  • collaborate with teammates to come up with practical answers to current sport management difficulties;
  • apply specific sport-related norms and standards, laws, rules, governing bodies, and legalities connected to the sports industry;
  • explain the major ethical and value principles in sports management and show attention to diversity issues in the sports industry;
  • examine social issues in relation to those who manage, participate in, and consume sport, as well as any/all aspects of the industry;
  • apply advancements in business and management as they pertain to sports;
  • address sponsorship and marketing mix decisions in sport marketing;
  • Identify and characterize the primary forces influencing the sports management field;
  • apply sport management to real-world situations;
  • determine and use the most important features of the social media marketing ecosystem for sports promotion; and
  • design and develop plans for how athletes can improve their performance and manage opportunities and media challenges they may face in their sporting careers.

Free Courses for Sports Management
Associates Students

Although colleges do not offer free associate in sports management online degree programs, many offer free individual courses in the subject. These courses are typically hosted on online learning websites and make an excellent choice for exam preparation, better insights, and enhanced knowledge. Here are a few free associates in sports management courses online to explore:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Various Topics Related to Sports ManagementUdemy is the leading site that offers free and paid courses in various disciplines and subjects. While most courses in sports management come at a nominal fee, a couple of free offerings are Sports Safety & Risk Management and Digital Media & Sports Marketing.Udemy
Various Topics Related to Sports ManagementThe United States Sports Academy (USSA) provides free sample courses to help people improve their sports knowledge and skills, as well as for pleasure and enrichment. Individuals who take a free sample course need not be Academy students. It is worth noting that because participation in free courses does not need admission to the Academy, the free courses do not provide academic or continuing education credit.The United States Sports Academy (USSA)
Various Topics Related to Sports ManagementWith over 230 free courses on sports, of which over 50 are at the beginner’s or associate’s level, Class Central offers a variety of topics to choose from. Courses are created by some of the top universities from around the world, such as the University of California, Irvine, Duke University, Wageningen University, the University of Michigan, etc. Topics include Sports and Society, Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Prediction Models with Sports Data, and more.Class Central

How to get into the Sports Management
Associates Programs?

Enrolling in an associate-level sports management program is not too challenging. To begin with, entry into an associate degree in sports management online requires an applicant to have a high school diploma or Graduate Educational Development (GED) certificate. Apart from this basic requirement, some of the other associates in sports management requirements are:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or more.
  • SAT or ACT Score (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (required by some schools)
  • Records of sporting achievements (required by some schools)
  • Proof of English Proficiency (if the native tongue is or education was not in English)

Note: Admission requirements vary by school and program. Students are advised to check with the admissions office at the school of their choice for exact requirements.

How long does it take to complete Sports Management
Associates Programs

The associate’s degree in sports management is typically a 60-credit, 2-year degree. However, this duration can lengthen or shorten based on whether the student opts for synchronous or asynchronous classes, the program’s structure, core courses, electives, chosen concentration, etc. Additionally, while full-time students will graduate faster, part-time ones will take longer to complete their degrees. Having said that, the typical time to graduate with a sports management associate’s is as follows:

  • Time to complete full-time associate’s degree in sports management program: about 2 Years.
  • Time to complete part-time associate’s degree in sports management program: between 2 and 3 years.

Accelerated Programs for Associates
in Accounting

Some colleges, in rare cases, offer fast-paced associate degree programs that allow students to graduate faster than regular-paced programs. Unfortunately, there are no such fast online associate degree programs in sports management, as this degree typically involves 60 credits that take about two years to complete. However, depending on the program and opted courses, it is possible to take additional classes and complete the degree about 2 to 3 months earlier.

Accreditations for Sports Management
Associates Programs

To ensure that one’s degree is recognized by employers and other colleges (when pursuing further studies), the chosen college or program must be accredited by competent accrediting bodies. Accreditation is a seal of quality that signifies that the school and/or program has met and continues to meet educational and administrative standards. Accreditation also enables students to freely transfer credits – a crucial aspect of associate degrees – and also qualify for financial aid. Six regional accrediting bodies are available in the United States, all of which are either recognized by the U. S. Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or both; they are:

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

Students of a sports management associate’s degree can check the accreditation status of their college on the official USDE or CHEA websites. Alternatively, the program they are choosing may be accredited by authorized agencies such as the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA).

Find out why accreditation is a very critical component of college education in the Guide to College Accreditation.

How to Pay for Sports Management
Associates Programs?

Although the cost of pursuing an associate’s degree is not as much as a bachelor’s or master’s, some programs can be expensive. Students can look at the many funding options they can use to defray some of their educational expenses. Before doing so, it is highly recommended that students read about What is Financial Aid?. Meanwhile, here are a few ways from which one can seek financial assistance when enrolling in an associate’s degree in sports management:


The foremost option for college funding is a scholarship. Scholarships are “free money” that does not need to be paid back and may be awarded by individuals, groups, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, or educational institutions. To be eligible for a scholarship, one must have an excellent academic track record or exhibit talent in other areas such as sport, music, art, etc.


Similar to scholarships are grants that are also “free money” and do not need to be paid back. Grants can be used not only to pay for tuition but also to pay for other educational expenses such as books, transport, library fees, and so on. While scholarships are usually merit-based, grants tend to be need-based, in that the student’s financial need is considered the main criterion.

Student Loans

Another way to fund one’s college education is to take out a student loan offered by banks or the federal government. Loans typically attract interest, which must be paid back along with the principal amount either as a lump sum or in equated installments. Students would do well to read about Donors for Student Loans and Grants for Student Loans to understand how they can apply for loan forgiveness, where they could be exempted from repaying their loans by themselves.

The Free Application For Student Aid or FAFSA, as popularly known, is an application for federal financial aid that all prospective and current college students must complete to check their eligibility for aid and receive the best financial aid package possible. Read the FAFSA Student Aid guide to know more.

Find out everything there is to know about college funding in the How to Pay for College guide.

FAQs Related to the Sports Management
Associates Programs

How to get an Associate in Sports Management?

To enroll in an associates in sports management degree program, an applicant is required to have a high school diploma or Graduate Educational Development (GED) certificate. Most schools will ask the candidate to have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or more; having sporting achievements may be an advantage during admission. A list of general admissions requirements is provided on this page.

Is a sports management associates online?

What can you do with Associates in Sports Management?

Should I get an associate in sports management?

Can I teach with an associates in sports management?

How long is an associates in sports management?

How much does an associate in sports management cost?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after Sports
Management Associates Programs

Students interested in the business and marketing sides of sport will benefit from an online associate’s in sports management. Through physical studies and business education, this degree provides a conceptual framework for the area, as well as hands-on exposure through fieldwork. Graduates of sports management associates can take up entry-level positions in athletic administration, minor and major league sports, facility and event management, equipment development and retail, sport promotion, and client management. Some roles and job titles include:

  • Umpire or Referee
  • Sports Marketing Specialist
  • Sports Event Planner
  • Facilities Manager
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Event Sales Associate
  • Stadium Operations Assistant
  • Athlete & Sports Competitor
  • Coach or Scout
  • Sports Official
  • Fitness Trainer & Instructor

Even though most jobs in the sporting world require individuals to have more qualifications, certification, and experience, associate-level sports management graduates do have an excellent overall career outlook. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) pegs the job growth for athletic trainers at 23% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Here are a few careers related to sports management, their median annual salary, estimated job growth, and skills required (do note that the figures mentioned are typically for those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree or have a fair amount of experience in sports-related work):

Scholarship Description Skills RequiredJob Growth (up to 2030)Median Annual Salary
Athletic TrainersFrom young children to teenagers and professional athletes, athletic trainers work with people of all ages and ability levels. They organize athletic programs, offer first aid or emergency care, and undertake administrative activities such as maintaining records, implementing policy, overseeing purchases and drafting injury and treatment program reports.Interpersonal skills, compassion, detail-oriented, decision-making skills23% (much faster than average)$48,420
Coaches & ScoutsAthletes, both amateur and professional, are taught the skills they need to succeed in their sport by coaches. They hold practice and training sessions to help athletes improve their form, skills, and endurance, keep track of the performances of athletes and opponents, and teach them proper methods, strategies, sportsmanship, and the rules of the sport. Scouts lookout for new talent, assessing their abilities and chances of success at the amateur, college, and professional levels.Dedication, resourcefulness, interpersonal skills, communication skills, decision-making skills, leadership skills26% (much faster than average)$38,970
Athletes & Sports CompetitorsAthletes and sports competitors compete in officiated and organized sporting events to entertain spectators. During training and contests, they listen to coaches and other sports personnel for strategy and tactics instructions, assess performance after each event to identify strengths and weaknesses, and observe the sport’s regulations.Teamwork, decision-making skills, athleticism, dedication, concentration38% (much faster than average)$77,300
Fitness Trainers & InstructorsFitness trainers and instructors work with people of all ages and skill levels, leading, instructing, and motivating individuals, or groups in exercise activities, including strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular workouts. They also take on other tasks such as signing up new members, giving tours of the facility, managing the front desk, and enforcing safety rules and regulations on using exercise equipment, playing sports, and partaking in recreational activities.Problem-solving skills, motivational skills, listening skills, communication skills, physical fitness39% (much faster than average)$40,700
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports OfficialsUmpires, referees, and other sports officials oversee competitive athletic or sporting activities to ensure high play standards are maintained. They detect any violation of rules and impose fines following the game’s rules. They also inspect and evaluate sports equipment, keep an eye on all participants to ensure their safety, and judge sporting tournaments to choose a winner.Eye for detail, physical stamina, communication skills, decision-making skills, teamwork29% (much faster than average)$35,860

Certifications and Licensing for Sports Management
Associates Students

Adding one or more certifications to one’s resume is an excellent way to ensure that they have a competitive edge when seeking jobs or advancing in their careers. Unfortunately, associate-level sport management professionals do not qualify for most board certifications and often do not meet licensure requirements, where applicable and necessary. Most certifications and licenses require a candidate to have at least a bachelor’s degree in sports management and/or considerable work experience in the field.

Additional Resources for Sports
Management Associates Students

The sporting world is far and wide and increasingly getting complex with the advent of technology in sport and more people getting into sports. Staying connected and abreast with all that is new in the sports industry is crucial to ensure that one does not get left behind and can stay ahead of the competition. Joining professional organizations, networking with others, and participating in sporting events, conferences, and seminars go a long way in improving one’s knowledge and professional expertise. Here are a few resources that associates in sports management online students and graduates can tap into:

North American Society for Sports Management (NASSM)

The North American Society for Sports Management (NASSM) promotes scholarly writing, professional growth, and sports management research. It comprises recreation, leisure, and sports professionals and students. NASSM publishes the Journal of Sport Management, a journal covering both academic and practical aspects of sports management, and offers a job board where academic sports management roles are advertised.

Sport Marketing Association (SMA)

The Sport Marketing Association (SMA) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering mutually beneficial relationships between professionals, academicians, and students around the world by creating, disseminating, and applying sport marketing knowledge through networking, scholarly activities, and career opportunities.

National Association of Sports Agents and Athlete Representatives (NASAAR)

The National Association of Sports Agents and Athlete Representatives (NASAAR) aims to serve as a resource for the public and industry, monitor legislative activities at the state and federal levels that affect sports agents and athletes, monitor relevant enforcement actions, legal proceedings, and other regulatory matters, and develop and manage industry standards. Membership in the organization provides all these services and more.

National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA)

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) is the largest association of collegiate athletics administrators, with over 22,000 individuals and more than 2,200 institutions throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico as its members. Serving those in athletics administration, NACDA is a professional association that provides educational opportunities as well as a mechanism for networking and information exchange with others in the field. The organization conducts events, has a job center, and publishes the Athletics Administration magazine.

College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)

College Sports Information Directors of America, or CoSIDA, founded in 1957, has all levels of professionals as its members, with a mission to help public relations and communication professionals throughout the collegiate levels with professional development and continuing education. CoSIDA promotes advocacy, helps with establishing careers, and helps members pursue leadership roles in the sports industry.

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.