Sports Psychology Degrees & Careers
(found programs from 55 schools)

What Is Sports Psychology?

Do you have a love for sports, and the aspiration to become a professional psychologist? Then it’s time to find out how to become a sports psychologist.

In this role, you would help find ways for athletes to achieve optimal performance in their professional sport. This could entail working with one athlete, or consulting an entire team.

Goals that you set with your clients will likely tie personal development with desired athletic performance. You may help athletes become better leaders, and understand how to control their emotions. These psychologists also help athletes in areas that fall outside their professional performance. You may help your patients overcome social issues in one role, and apply exercise physiology in another.

Many sports psychology schools can equip you to handle a diverse set of professional responsibilities. These roles aren’t limited to the professional level either. In fact, earning a sports psychology degree could help you develop intervention methods used by school administrators and coaches. With the high pressure that college, and even high school athletes face sometimes, sports psychologists have a variety of choices when it comes to career paths.

Sports psychology programs can even teach you how to help athletes deal with the same kinds of challenges that every other type of person deals with. This can include challenges, such as depression, sexual identity, behavioral issues, grief, substance abuse, and more.

Introduction to Sports Psychology Programs

Athletic victory, whether on the field of a national sports team or the track of a high school, is the reflection of hundreds of hours of work, careful eating and drinking, and psychology. The psychology of athletes and physical activity is a growing area of research in psychology, leading to the development of sports psychology.

Sports psychology is of particular interest because of its various applications in other aspects of life. The effort and focus that go into winning a sports game can predict success in other parts of life. A recent study in the field of sports psychology indicates that, in athletic activities, the process is more important than the end product (McGill Reporter, 2016).

If you dream of using your psychology education to work with athletes or improve fitness levels in your community, keep reading to learn more about how to become a sports psychologist.

Core Curriculum Of Sport Psychology School

The courses in most sport psychology programs have outcomes that merge concepts with mental confidence in mind with those that address physical performance. Your job will be to help athletes, coaches, and sports teams perform to the maximum of their abilities. When you earn your Bachelor’s degree, you will most likely build a foundation in such courses as biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology, as well as core psychology requirements as well.

Master’s and PhD level sports psychology programs will dig deeper into the impact of psychology on athletic performance and self-confidence. Some programs will have specialized areas of focus, or courses in unique areas, such as business. That’s because sport psychologists also help athletes deal with the financial pressures they can feel from outside forces.

Sample Master’s or Doctoral Courses in Sports Psychology:

The types of courses in your sports psychology program will vary, along with the number of credits you would receive for each course. Here are some psychology courses you could expect to encounter…

  • Foundations in Theory & Practice – 3-5 credits
  • Research Methods – 4-5 credits
  • Principles of Sport Psychology – 5 credits
  • Performance Enhancement – 5 credits

At the end of your program, many sports psychology schools will expect you to write a thesis that you will work closely with a faculty member on. Most programs include internship opportunities as well, so you can put your theory or research into practice.

There are many kinds of careers that you can pursue once you finish your sports psychology degree, even those outside of the field. For instance, you might find work in academic settings, marketing, business, and other fields that could use your knowledge and expertise.

Online Sports Psychology Programs to Consider

California Southern University: This university offers an online Master of Science in psychology with a certificate in sports psychology. The course takes about two years to complete and is available completely online; there are no requirements for residencies or practicums. Students who have trouble taking standardized exams might want to note that California Southern University does not require a GRE for admission to this program.

University of the Rockies: The University of the Rockies offers an online Doctor of Psychology with an emphasis on sports and performance psychology. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher while they are in the program, and doctoral students must complete a dissertation. Additionally, students are required to come to campus for in-residence weekends and to go to a sports setting for a practicum. This program does not lead to licensure as a mental health professional.

Capella University: Capella University offers an online Master of Science degree in sports psychology. According to the university's website, students may choose this program to learn how to improve athletic performance. Some people also enroll for career advancement as a coach or mentor. Again, this program is not considered a clinical track and will not lead directly to licensure as a mental health professional.

Introduction to Sports Psychology Careers

Can you imagine missing the potentially game-winning shot in a basketball game, or standing in the skates of a hockey goalie who has just handed the opposing team the win? The pressures and pitfalls that come with being a professional athlete are difficult to deal with, which is why sports psychologists are necessary. From college basketball stars to Superbowl winners, many athletes turn to sports psychologists to improve performance mentally and deal with the emotional difficulties that come with being a professional athlete.

Useful Resources



Sports Psychology Job Description

Sports psychologists have multiple roles. They may help athletes enhance performance or improve team work with psychological training. They may also help athletes overcome personal fears, aiding in recovery after an injury. In addition, sports psychologists deal with other issues such as facilitating better team work among a group of athletes or helping a team regain confidence after a big loss.

Most sports psychologists work independently, offering their services to both individual athletes and teams. In some cases, especially for major events like the Olympics, a sports psychologist may actually travel with a team to offer mental and emotional guidance. In these cases, sports psychologists become part of the team's traveling health team, joining the entourage of physiotherapists, nutritionists and other sports doctors as the team's go-to mental health professional.

 

Sports Psychology Requirements

While it is possible to work in the sports psychology with a master's degree, in most cases working as an independent sports psychologist requires a doctorate degree in psychology. There are a limited number of graduate programs with actual sports psychology concentrations so your best bet is to simply get a general psychology degree. After completing a Psy.D, psychologists must participate in an internship and/or residency before they can become fully certified and licensed to practice independently.

Sports psychologists are not required to have any special license but certification from organizations like the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sports Psychology (AAASP) can help career prospects. Joining such organizations can also help sports psychologists network and make contacts with potential clients.

Sports Psychology Career Trends and Outlook

So, what can you do with a Masters in Sports Psychology? One of the benefits of sports psychology programs is its versatility. Many assume that sports psychologists only work with professional athletes in national leagues. While it is true that hugely successful teams often have the budget needed for sports psychologists, psychologists in this field may work with high school teams, international teams, individual athletes, and organizations that want to improve physical fitness levels.

The research you conduct as a sports psychologist can help prevent injuries and improve performance. Consider a recent study in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which found that student athletes are more likely to suffer injuries during exam periods and times of mental stress (2016). We have long known the connection between mental and physical performance, confidence, and other ways the mind and body affect each other.

Sports psychologists sometimes help athletes in other areas of life as well. Just think of all the financial pressure that star players face from friends and family. Not to mention, the social traps that athletes can fall in to.

How Much Do Sports Psychologists Make?

Of course, you probably want to know how much sport psychologists earn per year before enrolling in a PhD program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sport psychologists can earn an average wage of $72,580 per year (BLS, 2017).

The BLS reports that clinical and school psychologists both earn an average $70,580, according to the most recent data (BLS, 2017). So consider working at colleges or universities that may also have sports programs you can work with. Being open to working with athletes and students at colleges could open up your career options.

How Fast Are Sports Psychology Jobs Growing?

Although the BLS doesn’t segment out the job salary and growth for Sports Psychologists, the field in general is expected to grow up to 19% through 2024 (BLS, 2017). When you speak with schools about their programs, ask if their graduates typically find jobs in your area.

There are ways the best sports psychology programs can help increase your chances of finding jobs. For instance, if you are willing to move to any city to join a sports team. You should also be willing to travel around with the team, in case you are needed.

But don’t worry, sports psychologists can also open a private practice, and focus on former athletes, coaches, and other patients with sports related jobs.

Contact sports psychology schools on the list below to learn more about your options.


Sports Psychology Degree Programs

Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Sports Psychology programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 55 schools across the country.



Featured Online Sports Psychology Programs:


Online programs may not be available in all states


Traditional On Campus Sports Psychology Programs:


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Adams State College (Alamosa, CO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Sport Psychology
Adler School of Professional Psychology (Chicago, IL)
Programs Offered:
MA in Counseling - Sport & Health Psychology
Alvernia University (Reading, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelors in Arts Psychology - Sports Psychology
Arcadia University (Glenside, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Sport Psychology
Argosy University (Phoenix, AZ)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Advanced Studies in Psychology Concentration
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology - Sport-Exercise Psychology
MA in Sport-Exercise Psychology & Mental Health Counseling
MA in Sport-Exercise Psychology & PsyD in Clinical Psychology - Sport-Exercise Psychology & Clinical Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Alameda, CA / Los Angeles, CA / Ontario (Inland Empire), CA / Orange, CA / San Bernardino, CA / San Diego, CA / San Francisco, CA / Santa Ana, CA / Santa Monica, CA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Sarasota, FL / Tampa, FL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Atlanta, GA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Honolulu, HI)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Chicago, IL / Schaumburg, IL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Eagan, MN / Twin Cities, MN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Nashville, TN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Dallas, TX / Farmers Branch, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Salt Lake City, UT)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Argosy University (Arlington, VA / Washington, DC, VA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Argosy University (Seattle, WA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport-Exercise Psychology (online)
Aurora University (Aurora, IL)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Sport
Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA)
Programs Offered:
Major in Psychology - Sports Psychology
Barry University (Miami, FL)
Programs Offered:
Master of Movement Science - Sport and Exercise Psychology
Bluffton University (Bluffton, OH)
Programs Offered:
Major in Psychology - Sport Psychology
California University of Pennsylvania (California, PA)
Programs Offered:
Certificate in Sports Counseling
Certificate in Sports Counseling (online)
Master of Science in Sport Management Studies - Sport Counseling
Master of Science in Sport Management Studies - Sport Counseling (online)
Chatham University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology - Sport and Exercise
Culver-Stockton College (Canton, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Sports Psychology
Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Health and Sports Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Health and Sports Psychology
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology - Sport Psychology
Master of Science in Educational Psychology - Sport Psychology
Illinois State University (Normal, IL)
Programs Offered:
Major in Sport Psychology
John F Kennedy University (Pleasant Hill, CA)
Programs Offered:
MA in Sport Psychology & PsyD in Clinical
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology - Sport Psychology
Master of Arts in Sport Psychology
Keiser University (Orlando, FL / West Palm Beach, FL)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science in Psychology - Orlando
PhD in Psychology - West Palm Beach
La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology - Sport-Performance Psychology
Lock Haven University (Lock Haven, PA)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science: Sport Science - Sport and Exercise Psychology Track (online)
Lubbock Christian University (Lubbock, TX)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Sport and Exercise Psychology
Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL)
Programs Offered:
Psychology - Bachelor (online)
Marian University (Indianapolis, IN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Sport Psychology
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Sport Psychology
McKendree University (Lebanon, IL)
Programs Offered:
Major in Sport Psychology
Minnesota State University-Mankato (Mankato, MN)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts in Sport and Exercise Psychology
National University (La Jolla, CA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Sport Psychology (online)
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
Programs Offered:
Major In Psychology - Sports Psychologists
Ottawa University (Online, )
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (online)
Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology - Sport Psychology
Rutgers University - New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Psychology in Sport Psychology
Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychological Studies - Sports Exercise Psychology
Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, TN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Sports Studies - Psychology
Southwest Baptist University (Bolivar, MO)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Sports Performance Enhancement
Springfield College (Springfield, MA)
Programs Offered:
Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)
Programs Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology - Sport Psychology
University of Denver (Denver, CO)
Programs Offered:
Certificate in Sport and Performance Psychology
MA in Sport and Performance Psychology
University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Movement and Exercise Science - Sport Psychology
University of Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ / Tucson, AZ)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Costa Mesa, CA / Fresno, CA / Pleasanton, CA / Sacramento, CA / San Diego, CA)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Colorado Springs, CO / Lone Tree, CO)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Plantation, FL)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Dunwoody, GA)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Meridian, ID)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Louisville, KY)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Albuquerque, NM)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Las Vegas, NV / Reno, NV)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (West Chester, OH)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Oklahoma City, OK)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Guaynabo, PR)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Nashville, TN)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Dallas, TX / Houston, TX / San Antonio, TX)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Phoenix (Salt Lake City, UT)
Programs Offered:
BS in Psychology (online)
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
Programs Offered:
MS in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences - Sports Medicine
University of South Carolina-Beaufort (Bluffton, SC)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Sports
University of the Rockies (Colorado Springs, CO)
Programs Offered:
Master of Arts in Psychology - Sports and Performance Psychology (online)
Walden University (Minneapolis, MN)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) - Preparation for Graduate Studies (online)
Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology - General Psychology (online)
Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology - Media Psychology (online)
Ph.D. in Psychology - Health Psychology (online)
West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Master in Sport and Exercise Psychology
PhD in Kinesiology - Sport and Exercise Psychology
Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)
Programs Offered:
MS in Sport Psychology
Westfield State University (Westfield, MA)
Programs Offered:
Bachelor of Science in Movement Science - Sports Medicine
University of the Rockies Online (San Diego, CA)
Programs Offered:
MA - Sport and Performance Psychology Specialization (online)
PhD - Health and Wellness Psychology Specialization (online)
PhD - Sport and Performance Psychology Specialization (online)