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What Does it Take to Be an Athlete or Sports Competitor?

Career Description Compete in athletic events.

Life As an Athlete

  • Attend scheduled practice or training sessions.
  • Assess performance following athletic competition, identifying strengths and weaknesses and making adjustments to improve future performance.
  • Maintain optimum physical fitness levels by training regularly, following nutrition plans, or consulting with health professionals.
  • Participate in athletic events or competitive sports, according to established rules and regulations.
  • Receive instructions from coaches or other sports staff prior to events and discuss performance afterwards.
  • Lead teams by serving as captain.

Skills Needed to be an Athlete

When polled, Athletes and Sports Competitors say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Athlete or Sports Competitor

  • Professional Bass Fisherman
  • Automobile Racer (Auto Racer)
  • Snowboarder
  • Professional Bass Fisher
  • Figure Skater

Job Outlook for Athletes and Sports Competitors

There were about 11,800 jobs for Athlete or Sports Competitor in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 900 new jobs for Athlete or Sports Competitor by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,700 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Athlete are Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Idaho, Alaska, or Minnesota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Athletes and Sports Competitors Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of an Athlete ranges between $19,040 and $208,000.


Athletes and Sports Competitors who work in Colorado, California, or Texas, make the highest salaries.

How much do Athletes and Sports Competitors make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $125,160
Colorado $183,110
Connecticut $67,800
Florida $76,870
Georgia $67,760
Kansas $67,380
Kentucky $40,600
Maryland $50,250
Massachusetts $63,700
Michigan $52,680
Missouri $72,590
Nebraska $67,930
Nevada $89,730
New Jersey $65,430
New York $102,930
Pennsylvania $48,710
Rhode Island $68,630
South Carolina $36,260
Texas $130,580
Utah $69,660
Washington $78,370

What Tools & Technology do Athletes and Sports Competitors Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Athletes and Sports Competitors:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Motion analysis software

How to Become an Athlete

What kind of Athlete or Sports Competitor requirements are there?


What work experience do I need to become an Athlete?


Who Employs Athletes and Sports Competitors?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.



Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Michael Ellis via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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