Best online sports management associate degrees 2021: Top picks

    Sports management professionals plan, oversee, and evaluate organizational and business aspects of the sporting world. With a sports management associate degree, you possess the knowledge and skills to work in sports facilities, with sports teams, and as coaches and fitness instructors.

    On the whole, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the addition of more than 160,000 jobs to the entertainment and sports industries from 2020 to 2030. Alongside a 39% projected growth in employment for fitness trainers and instructors, coaches and scouts are projected to see a 26% growth. Entry-level business positions available to sports management students like event planner and facilities manager are projected to have increased employment opportunities in that time period as well.

    A career in sports management is an exciting and lucrative prospect. Finding the right associate degree in sports management is an important step along that path.

    The best online associate in sports management degrees

    ZDNet’s ranking methodology uses publicly available data and input from industry experts to provide information about the top sports management associate degrees. Our proprietary formula uses more than 100 factors to provide you with essential insights to help you decide which program meets your needs.

    Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

    1. University of Northwestern Ohio

    Lima, Ohio

    About the program: UNOH’s online sports marketing and management associate degree emphasizes managerial, business, and leadership skills through 108 credit hours of coursework.

    • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
    • Graduation rate: 42%
    • Avg. annual net price: $19,055
    • Years to completion: Two
    • SAT Range: Not publicly available
    • Minimum GPA: 2.0
    • Enrollment periods per year: Eight
    • Course delivery methods: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: The University of Northwestern Ohio is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    2. Columbus State Community College

    Columbus, Ohio

    About the program: CCSC’s comprehensive online associate of applied science in sport management includes major coursework in sports ethics, sport sociology, and sport finance.

    • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
    • Graduation rate: 16%
    • Avg. annual net price: $6,577
    • Years to completion: Two
    • SAT Range: Not publicly available
    • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
    • Enrollment periods per year: Three
    • Course delivery methods: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Columbus State Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    3. Monroe Community College

    Rochester, New York

    About the program: MCC’s online associate degree in sport management includes coursework that meets the requirements for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in sport management, sport science, or a related field.

    • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
    • Graduation rate: 29%
    • Avg. annual net price: $6,830
    • Years to completion: Two
    • SAT Range: Not publicly available
    • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
    • Enrollment periods per year: Four
    • Course delivery methods: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Monroe Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

    4. Shorter University

    Rome, Georgia

    About the program: Shorter’s online associate of science with a concentration in sport management includes 60 credit hours of coursework to prepare students for a career in the field or to continue to a bachelor’s degree.

    • Acceptance rate: 60%
    • Graduation rate: 47%
    • Avg. annual net price: $19,495
    • Years to completion: Two
    • SAT Range: 930-1110
    • Minimum GPA: 2.0
    • Enrollment periods per year: Six
    • Course delivery methods: Asynchronous

    Accreditation: Shorter University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    5. Northampton Community College

    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    About the program: NCC’s comprehensive sports management associate degree combines theory and practice in all aspects of intercollegiate and professional athletics.

    • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
    • Graduation rate: 24%
    • Avg. annual net price: $9,052
    • Years to completion: Two
    • SAT Range: Not publicly available
    • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
    • Enrollment periods per year: Four
    • Course delivery methods: Hybrid

    Accreditation: Northampton Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

    What to expect in an online associate in sports management degree program

    Most associate degrees include two years of coursework. An online sports management associate degree integrates classes in English, information technology, science, and humanities with business courses. As you study marketing, accounting, finance, and related subjects under the lens of the sports world, you gain valuable information to prepare you for an entry-level career.

    Lecture classes include individual assignments and assessments alongside group projects and presentations. The hands-on nature of the sports management industry means you may take part in an internship or practical requirements.

    Earning a degree online requires hard work, initiative, and dedication. Active engagement in an online associate degree in sports management enhances the learning experience, uniting you with peers and instructors alike.

    Associate in sports management courses

    Associate degrees in sports management vary in specific coursework, but much of the curriculum remains consistent across programs. Major courses emphasize sports administration, communications in sport, and legal and ethical aspects of sport.

    Sports public relations and promotions

    Coursework in public relations and promotions in sports introduce principles of communication and marketing in the sports industry. Topics include media relations, sales and ticketing, and fundraising.

    Sports facilities management

    A class in sports facilities management introduces you to types of sports facilities, different roles within various settings, and administrative essentials related to each. Topics include budgeting, design and construction regulations, safety management, and scheduling and operations.

    Introduction to sports law

    By introducing you to rules, regulations, and legislation as it applies to sports, a class in sports law trains you to see sports from the perspective of manager, agent, athlete, and consumer alike. Topics include sports crimes, labor issues in sports, intellectual property, and disability and sport.

    Fundamentals of wellness and sport

    Coursework in the fundamentals of wellness, physical fitness, and sport explore psychological, sociological, and physical roles of sport for individuals, groups, and communities. Topics include fitness assessment, health and exercise, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition.

    Sports management degree levels

    Sports management degrees vary in level and outcomes. Undergraduate programs provide foundational information to prepare you for entry-level roles, while graduate degrees allow for advancement to administrative and managerial positions. Choosing the best sports management degree for you depends on your personal and professional goals.

    Certificate in sports management

    Length: One to two years

    Cost: $2,000-$10,000

    Post-grad careers: Media relations specialist, facility manager, marketer

    While some undergraduate certificates in sports management introduce core aspects of the discipline, most certificates in sports management are offered at the graduate level. Many graduate certificates are designed to accommodate managerial professionals who seek to move into or advance within the sports industry. A sports management certificate can emphasize athletic administration, sports analytics, or recreation management.

    Associate in sports management

    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $5,000-$10,000
    • Post-grad careers: Marketing assistant, event planner, ticket sales associate

    Through two years of coursework and practical requirements, an associate in sports management prepares students for entry-level positions within sports organizations. Many programs are designed to lead directly to a bachelor’s degree in sports management or a related discipline.

    Classes in communication, management, science, and the humanities accompany sport, recreation, and wellness courses. An associate degree in sports management may provide opportunities to take part in an internship to gain hands-on experience in the field.

    Bachelor’s in sports management

    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $12,000-$125,000
    • Post-grad careers: Facility manager, event coordinator, athletic administrator

    A sports management bachelor’s degree equips you with the skills to work in various roles across the sports industry. Comprehensive coursework in sports facility management, sports law, sports administration, and sociology of sport serve as the foundation for advanced and elective classes.

    Many programs allow you to complete a specialization, focusing on an area such as nutrition, kinesiology, golf course management, or interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics. Sports management degrees generally include internships and practical requirements alongside cumulative capstone coursework.

    Master’s in sports management

    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $8,000-$60,000
    • Post-grad careers: Athletic director, marketing manager, facilities director

    A sports management master’s degree may be offered as a business degree with an emphasis in sports management or as a master of science or art in sports management. The former focuses on business content with supplemental coursework related to sports, while the latter provides more curricular flexibility.

    Earning a master’s in sports management serves business professionals looking to enter or advance within the sports industry or athletes and educators who seek to enhance their business knowledge and skills. Research methods coursework accompanies classes in topics like sports administration, the sociology of sport, and facility management.

    Master’s degrees in sports management culminate in a research project or a practical-learning requirement.

    Doctorate in sports management

    • Length: Three to five years
    • Cost: $18,000-$125,000
    • Post-grad careers: College and university instructor, marketing director, public relations director

    Often geared toward research, a sports management doctorate includes seminars, lectures, and collaborative activities that lead to comprehensive exams. As you study, you’ll choose an area of emphasis to base your dissertation on. Specialization areas within sports management include international sports, diversity in sports, and sports marketing.

    After completing comprehensive exams, you propose your dissertation and, in conjunction with your advisor, undertake an in-depth research project. Once the dissertation is complete, you defend it to a committee of faculty members.

    In conclusion

    A degree in sports management prepares you for a career in the business of sports. Degrees vary in length, requirements, outcomes and, with the information above, you can make an informed choice about the sports management program that meets your personal and professional goals.

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