Although athletes must condition their bodies to develop the physical skills they need to compete, they also need to be able to stay focused during competitions and shake off nerves to perform at their best. Like athletic coaches for the brain, sports psychologists help athletes achieve their best results by training athletes to use their brains to work as well as their bodies.
The average annual salary for a sports psychologist is £35,750 as of January 2011, according to State University. Salaries in the field may range widely, however, with the majority of positions earning between £29,250 and £52,000 annually as of January 2011, according to EduDecisions. The top sports psychologists may receive salaries that range well into the six-figure range if they work primarily with elite athletes.
Salaries Around the Country
Professional, semi-professional and amateur sports exist in every corner of the United States, making sports psychology a field that isn't centralised in a single region. Despite that, salaries for sports psychologists range widely between metropolitan areas. Sports psychologists who practice in Chicago receive the highest average annual salary of £55,138 as of January 2011, according to Salary Expert, with those practicing in New York also earning noticeably high average salaries of £54,749. Sports psychologists who practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, earn the lowest salaries of the cities Salary Expert surveys, at £42,564.
Comparison to All Psychology Salaries
Sports psychologists don't earn as much as psychologists with other specialities. The average annual salary for all psychologists was £41,691 as of May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, with half in the profession receiving salaries that range from £31,655 and £53,820. The £35,750 average salary for sports psychologists is 83 per cent of the average for all practicing psychologists.
Although it's not required to receive a certification as a sports psychologist, the American Board of Sport Psychologists regulates the field with its certification system. To be eligible, an applicant must possess a doctorate in psychology and a practitioner's license, or a graduate-level degree in psychology with a thesis that focuses on sports psychology. Applicants must also complete six months of supervised practice in the field, and pass the board's examination with a score of 70 per cent or better.