Sports psychologists are able to assist athletes and those who play sports and exercise to achieve their best performance by helping them deal with their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Sports psychologists are most commonly associated with the counseling services they provide professional athletes, however; they are increasingly being called upon to provide support for the average person interested in integrating sports and exercise in their daily lives.
The potential salary of a sports psychologist will depend on the location in which they practice, the practitioners level of education, and their overall experience. Sports psychologists can work in a variety of settings including; university athletic departments, research facilities, and professional sports organizations.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have sports psychology salaries data specific to sports psychologists, it does provide salary data for psychologists generally. Sports psychologists are an integral part of the psychology field and are included within these statistics. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics the 2012 median salary for psychologists other than organizational and clinical and counseling psychologists, was $90,020[i].
An article from the American Psychological Association names sports psychology as one of the hot careers today[ii]. The higher level of demand for qualified sports psychologists may be attributed to increased interest in accessing the services provided by sports psychologists by unconventional customers. The article suggests that there may be an in increased interest in the services provided by professionals in this field by non-professional athletes and high-level executives interested in enhancing their ability to perform under pressure.
In 2012 there were 160,200 psychologist positions in the U.S. Among those were sports psychologists. The BLS predicts the job outlook for psychologists is rather bright. Employment of psychologists is expected to rise by 12% between 2012 to 2022. This means that roughly 18,700 new positions for psychologists will be created and filled by 2022[iii].
The predicted employment statistics for percent change in employment for psychologists between 2012 and 2022 as sorted into categories by the BLS is as follows:
With these promising job growth numbers for psychologists, students looking to become sport psychologists may find that there are many opportunities for qualified practitioners in this field.
Sports psychologists are an essential member of any sports team or organization, whether on a professional or an amateur level. They provide support for athletes of all ages and training levels. Sports psychologists ensure that athletes reach their possible highest athletic level safely physically, mentally and emotionally. The pay and job outlook for sports psychologists is bright and potential students should consider this positive incentive when deciding to pursue a masters degree in sports psychology.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-5 | [ii] apa.org/gradpsych/2012/11/sport-psychology.aspx | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-6