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Working as a Professional Athlete

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a professional athlete. For example, did you know that they make an average of $27.76 an hour? That's $57,732 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Professional Athlete Do

There are certain skills that many professional athletes have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed athleticism, dedication and stamina.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a professional athlete, we found that a lot of resumes listed 16.7% of professional athletes included student athletes, while 8.3% of resumes included community services, and 5.9% of resumes included physical condition. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

How To Become a Professional Athlete

If you're interested in becoming a professional athlete, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 74.3% of professional athletes have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.8% of professional athletes have master's degrees. Even though most professional athletes have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a professional athlete. When we researched the most common majors for a professional athlete, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on professional athlete resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a professional athlete. In fact, many professional athlete jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many professional athletes also have previous career experience in roles such as student athlete or athlete.

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Average Salary$57,732
Job Growth Rate6%

Professional Athlete Career Paths

Top Careers Before Professional Athlete

8.8 %

Top Careers After Professional Athlete

7.6 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Professional Athlete Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Professional Athlete. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Professional Athlete Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Professional Athlete resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Professional Athlete Demographics



77.9 %


17.9 %


4.2 %



81.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.9 %

Black or African American

6.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


51.4 %


13.8 %


8.3 %
See More Demographics

Professional Athlete Education


19.2 %



74.3 %


11.8 %


6.5 %
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Top Skills For a Professional Athlete

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 16.7% of professional athletes listed student athletes on their resume, but soft skills such as athleticism and dedication are important as well.

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Top Professional Athlete Employers

1. NFL
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2. Nike
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3. New York Jets
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4. Dallas Cowboys
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5. Indianapolis Colts
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6. Adidas North America
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Updated October 2, 2020