Sports Psychologist Job Description

Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by

A sports psychology job description may be centered on athletic performance or skill development. This field can be an attractive one for individuals who are interested in health psychology, sports performance, the connection between mental health and physical health, and social psychology.

You will also find related articles on sports psychologist education requirements, sports psychologist job description and salary, sports psychologist salary, sports psychologist skills, sports psychologist salary UK, sports psychologist degree,

You can rest assured to obtain valuable information on pros and cons of being a sports psychologist, how long does it take to become a sports psychologist, where do sports psychologists work, sports psychologist near me, and so much more right here on Collegelearners.

sports psychologist degree

Graduate sports psychology programs explore the interplay between sports and the mind, and are available at the certificate, masters, and doctoral levels. Sports psychology graduate programs may help you meet your career goals! Some sports psychology degrees may help students fulfill sports psychologist education requirements.i Others might appeal to current coaches, athletic trainers, educators, and counselors who want to develop specific skills. For instance, the ability to help a professional or amateur athlete set and reach goals. Or, to perform consistently, manage anxiety, and concentrate while being physically active.

Sports psychologists generally study the psychological and mental effects of participating in sports, as well as the way an individual participant’s own mental state impacts their performance.

At the same time, sports psychologists apply the knowledge gained from their studies to helping athletes and clients during everyday life events.

Ethical Issues Facing Sports Psychologists | David Noon

sports psychologist job description and salary

Sports psychologists can work in a wide variety of settings. They may practice in hospitals, clinics, gyms, physical rehabilitation centers, or schools. Some may work in private practice or provide contracted consulting services to clients in other settings. Professionals in the consulting arena often work as part of a team of specialists, assembled from a variety of disciplines to maximize health and wellness among athletes, coaches, teams, parents of athletes, and fitness professionals.

In the course of their work day, sports psychologists may perform the following duties:

  • Work with athletes (both amateur and elite) to prepare them psychologically for competition
  • Work with athletes (both amateur and elite) to help them deal with the psychological effects of competition
  • Educate coaches on the best ways to enhance the team’s psychological state and become a successful, cohesive unit
  • Research the effects of sport participation on athletes
  • Teach university students who are studying for their psychology degrees
  • Evaluate developmental disabilities
Sports Psychology Career Institutes

Why choose a career in sports psychology?

Each day as a sports psychologist will offer something different; you’ll work with a range of people at all levels and from a range of backgrounds. Local travel is a feature of the job and you could work from university campuses, GP surgeries or hospitals, athlete’s villages, gyms and team training grounds.

For most sport and exercise psychologists – aside from those working within healthcare or teacher training and education – international travel is also an option. If you’d like to work abroad, especially in the USA you should consider a career as a sports psychologist.

Dr Faye Didymus, senior lecturer in sport and exercise psychology at Leeds Beckett University explains how the profession is particularly relevant in today’s society. ‘There are a host of contemporary issues (e.g., the London 2012 Olympiad and its legacy, reports of high rates of physical inactivity and obesity in the UK) that have direct links to sport and exercise psychology.

‘Given that such issues have been identified at national and local policy levels as having far-reaching implications for the health and prosperity of the nation, it is difficult to recall a time when sport and exercise psychology has been more relevant than it is today.’

While the work can be challenging it is also exciting and incredibly rewarding. Watching an individual or team that you have worked with perform successfully at a high level can give you a huge sense of achievement.

Becoming a Sports Psychologist

Sports psychology is a relatively new field within psychology, and the educational path varies from person to person. In general, future sports psychologists should expect to:

Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Because most schools do not have a specific sports psychology undergraduate program, becoming a sports psychologist usually starts with an undergraduate degree in psychology or a sports-related field such as kinesiology or exercise science.

Complete Graduate Education

Once the bachelor’s degree is finished, a master’s degree is the next step. This may be specifically in sports psychology, or could be in psychology with a concentration in sports psychology. The final degree is either a PsyD or PhD in sports psychology. Some schools offer joint degrees that combine the master’s and doctoral degrees; a small number offer the doctorate degree to students with only a bachelor’s degree, but this is rare.

Obtain a License

Getting licensed is the final step. License requirements differ between states, but most require an applicant to have a PhD or PsyD degree, several years of experience, and a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Practicing clinical psychologists are required to be licensed, and licensing is ideal although not absolutely required to become a certified sports psychologist.

clinical sports psychologist job description

Clinical Sports Psychologist

Clinical Sports Psychologists typically counsel athletes facing personal and career crises such as anxiety, performance issues, behavior modification and mental responses to physical injuries.

Applied Sports Psychologist

Applied Sports Psychologists instruct individual athletes and sports teams on the various methods of mental conditioning, including visualization, concentration and relaxation techniques. Many sports psychologists work onsite with sports teams alongside coaches, trainers and managers. Others practice independently and perform consulting services on an as-needed basis.

Career TitlesClinical or Applied Sports Psychologist
Education RequirementsDoctoral degree required for most positions
Licensure & CertificationEither required, depending on the state
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)12%* for psychologists, all other
Median Salary (2018)$100,770 for psychologists, all other

sports psychologist job description and salary

Between $60,000 and $80,000 a year

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA), the salary for sports psychologists can vary significantly. Most experts who are employed in university athletic departments can expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, with some annual salaries reaching $100,000.

What is the Job Outlook for Sports Psychologists?

Sports Psychology Experts indicate that career opportunities are continuing to grow in this field. There are significant opportunities in university and high school athletic departments as well as sports recreational clubs. Additionally, sports psychologists within the military are in high demand. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), the U.S. Army is the country’s largest employer of sport and performance psychologists. The Sports Psychology field continues to evolve and grow.

What is the Average Salary for a Sports Psychologist?

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA), the salary for sports psychologists can vary significantly. Most experts who are employed in university athletic departments can expect to earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, with some annual salaries reaching $100,000.

Private practitioners can expect a varied income, as well. Sports psychologists cater to a specific niche of clients who pay for services out of pocket. This means that there is no floor or ceiling for the amount of income that a practitioner can earn in this field. Private practitioners who take on more affluent clients may earn a significantly higher salary than practitioners whose clients are less affluent.


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