Sports psychologists study how physical competition affects athletes’ mental Sports and counsel them regarding performance related disorders. Along with athletes, these professionals work with performers who have mental performance issues or with people who want to recover from an injury caused due to a sport.

Should I Become a Sports Psychologist?

Education Required Master’s or Doctoral degree
Major Requirement Psychology
Training Required
Licenses/Certifications Required
Key Skills Analytical Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Integrity, Communication Skills, Observational Skills, Patience and Problem-Solving Skills.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National $98,230 (Psychologists, All Other)
Job Outlook (2018-28) 14% (Psychologists)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sports psychology is a type of field where professionals work in multiple settings. Experts working in this field may work in an office or provide therapy and consultation on the field. These professionals also help athletes deal with the on field and off field pressures.

Career Outlook for a Sports Psychologist

The competition of jobs in each area of psychology differs. Some fields are expected to grow faster than the rest. Candidates who have obtained a doctoral degree and work experience have higher chances of finding better employment opportunities. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists are expected to witness a growth of 14% from 2018-2028. Their services will be required in schools, social service agencies, etc.

Steps to Become a Sports Psychologist

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Students have to obtain a bachelor’s degree to begin the process of becoming a sports psychologist. Since most schools do not offer a degree in sports psychology, students have to obtain a degree in psychology or any sports-related field, like exercise science or kinesiology.

  1. Obtain a Master’s Degree
  2. Prospective sports psychologists have to choose between a Master of Arts (M.A) or Master of Science (M.S) degree. M.A emphasizes more on humanities and liberal arts, while M.S slants towards mathematics and science. However, both of these degrees prepare students to get enrolled in a doctorate program. A master’s program includes courses like introduction to sports psychology, performance improvement, quantitative and qualitative research methods, etc.

    Students are also required to complete an internship and write a thesis during this program. Some schools allow students to choose between a thesis and an internship.

  1. Get a Doctorate Degree
  2. Students who want to pursue a doctorate degree can obtain either a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Those who want to focus on research choose the former option, while students who want to practice opt for the latter one. Team performance, advanced statistics and psychology of sports injuries are some of the courses covered during these programs.

    Aspiring sports psychologists are also required to complete an advanced internship or practicum accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

  1. Obtain Licensure
  2. To apply for licensure, candidates are required to have a doctorate degree and the required professional experience. They have to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to obtain licensure.

    The American Board of Sports Psychology offers certification and candidates opt for it as it demonstrates knowledge and skills.

  1. Continuing Education
  2. Once students obtain licensure, they can get training and continuing education from various professional organizations, like the Association for Applied Sports Psychology and APA.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sports Psychologist?

Prospective sports psychologists have to finish a 2-year master’s degree after a 4-year undergraduate degree. Some students choose to opt for a doctoral degree to advance their career. After students fulfill the education requirements and gain the required experience, they can take the licensure test and obtain licensure.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Sports Psychologist?

Following are the requirements to become a sports psychologist:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s and master’s degree
  • Earn a doctoral degree
  • Get the required professional experience
  • Obtain Licensure

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Sports Psychologist?

As reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists other than school, counseling, clinical and industrial psychologists working in the US were earning $98,230 as annual mean salary in 2019.