Sports psychology is a rapidly developing and interdisciplinary field. Merging physical disciplines with knowledge of psychology, sociology, and human limitation, a wide variety of career options are available to job seekers with a degree in sports psychology. While most jobs in sports psychology require a minimum of a master’s degree – and many also require a doctorate in the field – career options do exist for those with a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology or those who are in the midst of completing an advanced degree. Here, we’ll discuss five of the most unique jobs for sports psychology degree holders.
It may sound a bit farfetched, but circus performers are athletes – and thus can benefit from a sports or performance psychologist. Circus performance requires rigorous training, frequent travel, and all the unique pressures that accompany the lives of performing artists. Cirque du Soleil, one of the best known performance organizations worldwide, employs sports psychologists to keep its performers in excellent mental as well as physical health. Sports psychologists can also assist performers in overcoming stage anxiety, as well as recover from stage-related injury.
While it may not be necessary to enlist in the military to procure this position, military recruits, staff, and officers very often work with civilian consultants across a variety of fields. Military psychologists focus on performance and athleticism in the field, counsel military staff through the challenges that military enlistment presents, help keep soldiers mentally prepared for combat, and help them to cope with the horrors and loss that accompany war. The American military forces are currently one of the largest employers of sports psychologists.
Clinical Sports Psychologist
These psychologists normally work in private practice, and work with a variety of clients from young athletes on their way to stardom and junior Olympians to early-career athletes and those retiring from professional sports life. They may treat a variety of disorders or mental illnesses ranging from depression to eating disorders, particularly in the context of the client’s athletic performance. The position of clinical sports psychologist is one of the best-paid in the industry.
University sports psychologists typically work with the school’s athletic teams in order to maximize performance and assist students in coping with the pressures of academic life combined with those of the young athlete. University sports psychologists may also conduct research on behalf of or in tandem with the university in order to determine new strategies and programs to benefit student athletes and assist with the implementation of these programs, or even oversee the process directly.
One of the most versatile positions of those listed, those with a degree in sports psychology – particularly those still pursuing their master’s degree – may opt for the path of the wellness coach. As sports psychology represents a union of physical and mental health, the wellness coach may work in a variety of settings, from health clinics and schools to operating their own private practice. The field of holistic wellness has undergone great development over the last several years, and the field of sports psychology will equip a job candidate with the “whole person” approach to wellness.
These positions are representative of some of the most unique positions available to sports psychology majors and degree holders, as well as some of the most rewarding – personally, professionally, and financially. Each of these positions, while representing several unusual applications of sports psychology, may prove rewarding for job seekers who seek a dynamic, interesting, and unique career path upon completion of their degree.