February 28, 2024


Tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling during warmups before playing the Baltimore Ravens in January.

Tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs talks with wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling during warmups before playing the Baltimore Ravens in January.
Image: Rob Carr (Getty Images)

As we approach Super Bowl Sunday, more Americans may be dreaming of making the leap into pro-athlete roles like those of Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. While pro sports aren’t for the faint of heart, athlete-hopefuls may have an easier time finding a job over the next decade than the average American.

That’s because jobs for athletes and coaches are set to grow much faster than the rest of the nation, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Wednesday (Feb. 7). The numbers of these types of roles are projected to grow about 9% by 2032. Meanwhile, the overall job market will expand just 3%.

To be sure, there are a lot more jobs for coaches and scouts than athletes and competitors. There were about 14,000 jobs for athletes in 2022, with 15,200 roles projected for 2032. Meanwhile, there were nearly 20 times that number of roles for coaches and scouts.

Running with the money

Pro athletes may have fewer job opportunities than coaches, but they make a lot more money. In 2022, according to the most recently available BLS data, median annual wages for athletes was roughly $94,000, while it was just $45,000 for coaches and scouts.

If you’re looking to get into the game, there are no set standards for how to make it big. “No formal educational credential is typically required to become an athlete or sports competitor,” writes the BLS, unhelpfully.

Hopeful job candidates should also note that the job entails “irregular schedules, including evenings, weekends, and holidays,” the agency said.



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