Nikita Nath
Written By - Nikita Nath

Check MarkEdited By Darryl S.

Check MarkReview & Contribution By Dr. Emily Parker

Sports serve various purposes for individuals, from recreational enjoyment and physical fitness to fostering competitiveness within group activities. For some, pursuing sports transcends leisure, evolving into a profession where individuals aim to unlock their full potential in competitive arenas. Sports Psychology is a specialized branch dedicated to understanding how sports influence individuals and how mental conditioning can be leveraged to enhance performance. Sports Psychologists play a pivotal role in assisting athletes through psychological interventions to mitigate anxiety and optimize mental well-being before performances. Through a comprehensive understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the mind and body, Sports Psychology aims to facilitate success and excellence in athletic endeavors.

Engaging in an online Master’s in Sports Psychology program entails delving into the intricate mechanisms that shape individual motivation, efficacy, and responses to stress or anxiety. The curriculum extends beyond individual aspects to explore social factors such as team dynamics, coaching effectiveness, and leadership skills. These programs seek to unravel sports participation’s psychological and emotional impact, examining what drives individuals to push their limits and opt for competitive sports over recreational ones. In the sections further we will explore many aspects of the graduate program in sports psychology.

Masters in Sports Psychology Online

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online MS in Psychology

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Sports Psychology Online Programs

The best Master’s in Sports Psychology online programs must cover a broader spectrum of courses that enable students to tap into various career options apart from the default world of performance sports. Treating or counseling people in high-stress, high-competitive professions, such as business people, performers, and politicians, fall under alternatives to careers oriented around professional athletes. Other factors such as the experience and quality of faculty, sports infrastructure, the efficacy of instruction delivery, and cost should form the basis for a program to qualify as the best. Keeping in line with all of these factors and more, here are some of the best Sports Psychology programs that have made it to our list:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University of Missouri, Columbia
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
University of Florida
341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611
University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80208
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Rider University
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648
Capella University
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
Ohio University
020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
A T Still University of Health Sciences
800 W Jefferson, Kirksville, Missouri 63501
Concordia University
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
Vanguard University of Southern California
55 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, California 92626
University of Western States, Portland
8000 NE Tillamook Street, Portland, Oregon 97213
Lock Haven University
401 North Fairview Street, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania 17745
California University of Pennsylvania
250 University Ave, California, Pennsylvania 15419
American Military University
111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414
University of West Alabama
Station One, Livingston, Alabama 35470
Barry University
11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33161
Medaille College
18 Agassiz Circle, Buffalo, New York 14214
Adams State University
208 Edgemont Blvd, Alamosa, Colorado 81101
National University
11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037
University of Southwest
6610 North Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, New Mexico 88240

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Sports Psychology Master’s programs largely rest on the three pillars of psychology, kinesiology, and physiology. This program is predominantly meant for students wanting to learn about the relationship between psychological, behavioral, and physiological factors influencing athletic participation and success. Students also investigate psychological and social factors that affect sports and physical activity participation by studying human thinking, emotion, physical ability, and the actions and reactions in recreational and competitive sports.

Within the field of sports psychology, there are three types of psychology, which can be looked at as tracks:

  1. Academic Sport Psychology: academic-oriented and involves teaching at schools, colleges, and universities and conducting research.
  2. Clinical Sport Psychology: Clinical-oriented and blends psychotherapy with behavioral training techniques to help people with mental illnesses.
  3. Applied Sport Psychology: field-oriented and involves developing strategies and teaching skills to enhance athletic performance.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

The curriculum of the Master’s program containing online Sports Psychology courses generally includes learning the fundamentals of Sports Psychology and clinical work, as well as subjects related to dealing with athletes and other forms of performers. The theories and principles of psychological and physical effects of playing sports are focused on, with a multi-disciplinary approach to quite some extent. Although the curriculum varies by program and college, a Master’s in Sports Psychology online program can include the following courses:

Foundations of Sports Psychology

This course helps one gain a foundational understanding of the principles and historical development of sports psychology. One can also explore the psychological factors influencing athletic performance and learn how these insights contribute to the broader field of sports science.

Psychological Assessments in Sports

In this course, students delve into various methods of psychological assessment used to evaluate and understand the mental aspects impacting athletes. They learn to apply assessment tools to measure psychological factors affecting performance and well-being in sports contexts.

Motivation and Performance

Through this course, one can explore the intricate relationship between motivation and athletic performance. Students also examine theories of motivation and discover practical strategies to enhance and sustain athletes’ drive, focus, and determination in competitive settings.

Counseling and Interventions in Sports Psychology

Through this course one can acquire the skills necessary for counseling athletes and implementing effective psychological interventions. Students also learn how to address performance-related challenges, manage stress, and promote mental well-being to optimize athletes’ overall performance.

Team Dynamics and Leadership

Students taking this course can investigate the dynamics of group behavior within a sports context. They analyze leadership styles and their impact on team cohesion and performance. It also helps one develop insights into effective communication, conflict resolution, and building a positive team culture.

Some other additional courses that one can find across several masters in sports psychology coursework include:

  • Leadership in Sport Administration
  • Applied Mental Skills Training
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Social Psychology
  • Principles of Adherence and Motivation
  • Psychology of Performance Excellence
  • Psychology of Human Performance
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Diversity and Equity in Sport
  • Ethics and Diversity in Athletic Coaching
  • Student-Athlete Development and Leadership
  • Mental Strength and Conditioning
  • Psychology of Coaching
  • Psych of Athletic Injury/Recovery
  • Advanced Cognitive Psychology

Graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology program acquire diverse skills that enable them to work effectively in various roles within the sports industry. Here are some essential skills that graduates typically develop:

  • Psychological Assessment – Graduates become proficient in assessing the psychological factors affecting athletes’ performance through various evaluation methods. This includes understanding and utilizing psychological assessment tools.
  • Counseling and Intervention – Graduates gain counseling skills to assist athletes in overcoming challenges, managing stress, and optimizing their mental well-being. Graduates are equipped to provide psychological interventions tailored to individual athletes or teams.
  • Motivational Strategies – Graduates learn how to understand and enhance motivation in athletes. This includes identifying motivational factors, setting goals, and implementing strategies to maintain and boost athletes’ drive and commitment.
  • Team Dynamics and Leadership – Graduates can contribute to building positive team cultures by understanding group behavior dynamics. They develop leadership skills to guide and motivate athletes, fostering teamwork and cohesion within sports organizations.
  • Communication Skills – Effective communication is emphasized, enabling graduates to interact with athletes, coaches, and other stakeholders. This includes the ability to convey psychological concepts clearly and understandably.
  • Research and Data Analysis – Graduates are trained in research methodologies relevant to sports psychology. They can conduct studies, analyze data, and contribute to the academic and practical understanding of the psychological aspects of sports.
  • Performance Enhancement Techniques – Graduates learn practical techniques to enhance athletes’ performance, such as visualization, goal-setting, concentration, and other mental skills training.
  • Ethical Practice – A strong emphasis on ethical considerations and professional standards is instilled, ensuring graduates adhere to ethical principles when working with athletes and teams.
  • Adaptability and Problem-Solving – Graduates develop the ability to adapt to various challenges and problem-solving skills to address complex issues that may arise in the dynamic sports environment.
  • Understanding Psychopathology – Graduates gain insight into mental health issues that may affect athletes, equipping them to identify and address psychological challenges and refer athletes to appropriate professionals when needed.

Masters in Sports Psychology Online Degree Types

Depending on an individual’s personal and professional goals, they can choose the type of degree that serves them best. There are three ways of pursuing a Master’s in Sports Psychology online, each with its unique approach and catering to specific personal and professional needs.

MA in Sports Psychology

The Master of Arts or MA in Sports Psychology blends subjects from multiple disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, wellness, and humanities, and applies them to sports to understand how they affect performance and influence athletes and society.

MS in Sports Psychology

The Master of Science or MS in Sports Psychology relies more on scientific methodology and approaches to understanding the psychology of a sportsperson on and off the field. This program also explores performance enhancement and intervention methods and the study of injury, rehabilitation, and recovery from a technical viewpoint.

M.Psych Degree

The Master of Psychology or M.Psych Degree (sometimes also abbreviated as Psy.M.) is a Master’s degree in pure Psychology. This program covers psychology’s fundamentals and better prepares students for a Ph.D. or specializations. To major in sports, students opt for electives or courses that cover Sports Psychology.

Specializations in Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Specializations allow students to add extra weight to their Master’s in Sports Psychology online degree. They dive deeper into specific areas within Sports Psychology and present better career prospects while addressing one’s professional goals. Some colleges also offer different tracks in Sports Psychology, such as Psychology, Fitness Consulting, and Counseling. Some specializations and concentrations in Sports Psychology are discussed below:

Area of focusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Rehabilitation ScienceRehabilitation Science is a specialized field within healthcare and research focusing on optimizing the functioning and well-being of individuals with disabilities or chronic health conditions. The goal is to enhance the quality of life and independence of those who have experienced physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments. Rehabilitation Scientist, Clinical Rehabilitation Specialist, Physical Therapist, and more.
Sport and Performance PsychologyThe Sports and Performance Psychology specialization aims to optimize individuals’ psychological well-being, mental skills, and resilience to help them achieve peak performance. It involves the application of psychological principles and interventions to athletes, performers, coaches, and individuals engaged in physical activities.Sports psychologist, Coaching Psychology, Corporate Performance Consultant, and so on. 
Nutrition A specialization in Nutrition involves the in-depth study of food science and its impact on human health. It encompasses understanding nutrient requirements, dietary patterns, metabolism, and the relationship between nutrition and various health conditions.Registered Nutritionist, Public Health Nutritionist, Researcher in Nutrition Science, and more. 
Wellness and FitnessA specialization in Wellness and Fitness involves a holistic approach to promoting overall health, fitness, and well-being. Students in this field gain knowledge and skills related to exercise science, nutrition, stress management, and lifestyle interventions. The focus is empowering individuals to adopt and maintain healthy habits, improving physical fitness, mental well-being, and a higher quality of life.Wellness Coach, Corporate Wellness Specialist, Health and Fitness Educator, etc. 
Advanced Psychomotor Development & KinesiologyThis specialization combines psychology, physiology, and biomechanics elements to advance understanding of how individuals acquire, refine, and optimize motor skills. Students delve into the complexities of human movement, examining factors such as cognition, perception, and motor control.Biomechanistic, Research Scientists in Kinesiology, Performance Analyst, Kinesiology Educator, and more. 
Sport LawSports Law specialization involves the study of laws and regulations governing athletes, teams, sports organizations, contracts, liability, and various legal challenges that arise in the sports context. Students gain insights into the legal framework that governs sports activities, contracts, governance structures, and dispute resolution within the sports industry.Athlete Agent, Sports Compliance Officer, Intellectual Property lawyer in Sports, Sports Risk Management specialist, and so on.
Professional Athlete DevelopmentA specialization in Professional Athlete Development focuses on equipping athletes with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to thrive personally and professionally during and after their athletic careers. This specialization recognizes the holistic nature of athlete development, encompassing physical training and performance, education, career planning, mental well-being, and life skills.Athlete Development Specialist, Career Transition Coach, Mental Health and Wellness Counsellor, and more. 

Timeline for graduation from Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Completing a Master’s in Sports Psychology offers various timelines to cater to different preferences and schedules. For those considering a full-time commitment, anticipate a program duration of 1.5 to 2 years, typically 36 to 48 credits. For those opting for a more flexible approach, part-time programs, accommodating work or other commitments, extend the timeline to 2.5 to 3.5 years. Some programs offer flexibility, allowing part-time students to transition to full-time or vice versa. Accelerated programs, designed for an intensive track, aim to wrap up the degree in 1 to 1.5 years, involving a concentrated effort and potentially including summer sessions. Remember that timelines may vary based on program specifics, individual progress, and additional requirements like internships or thesis work.

Accelerated Online Master’s in Sports Psychology Programs

Many universities offer accelerated Master’s in Sports Psychology programs to meet the needs of students seeking a quicker path to completion. Accelerated programs are designed to condense the traditional timeline without compromising the quality of education. However, the availability of these programs may vary, and it’s crucial to check with specific universities for the most up-to-date information. Here are a few universities that have been known to offer accelerated Master’s in Sports Psychology programs:

 1-Year Online Masters in Sports Psychology Programs

One year Sports Psychology Master’s programs are ideal for students who want to complete their studies quickly and jump right into a career. Most Master’s in Sports Psychology programs are for one year, which requires full-time attendance and summer studies. Some colleges providing such accelerated degrees include:

Masters in Sports Psychology Online Programs Admission Requirements

A graduate program such as the Master’s in Sports Psychology online usually requires a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in psychology or at least a Bachelor’s Degree with a certain number of credits in psychology coursework and kinesiology or other sports-related courses. Other Sports Psychologist education requirements may include:

  • An Application Form with its requisite Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • A Personal Statement and Professional Résumé citing experience in athletics, coaching, psychology research, or other related environments
  • At least 2 to 3 References from professionals who have worked with the candidate
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0, failing which a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Score may be required.

Note: Each college may have its independent and specific admission requirements. Therefore, checking with the college’s admissions office or reading the program guide for more exact requirements is always wise.

Online Masters in Sports Psychology No GRE Programs

No-GRE Sports Psychology Master’s programs are becoming increasingly common, especially among students who want to finish their studies and start working sooner. Fortunately, most Master’s in Sports Psychology programs do not entail submitting a Standardized Test Score such as the GRE or GMAT. However, colleges will likely request a GRE ranking if a student’s cumulative undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) is less than 3.0. Some colleges providing an online master’s degree in sports psychology with no requirement for GRE include:

Accreditation for Master’s in Sports Psychology Online Programs

When considering a master’s program in sports psychology, it’s essential to look for accreditation from reputable organizations in the field of psychology and/or sports psychology. In the United States, one of the most recognized accreditations for psychology programs is provided by the American Psychological Association (APA) [8]. However, it’s worth noting that the APA does not specifically accredit sports psychology programs but rather general psychology programs.

Instead, one may want to look for programs accredited by organizations such as the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). The AASP is a prominent organization dedicated to studying and applying sport and exercise psychology. While it does not accredit programs itself, it does offer a list of graduate programs that meet certain criteria for quality and rigor in sports psychology education.

Additionally, regional accreditation is crucial for ensuring that a university or college meets certain quality standards in education. In the United States, regional accreditation bodies include:

Read more about accreditation and its importance in this Accreditation Guide.

Free Online Sports Psychology Courses

Although free online Sports Psychology courses do not culminate in the award of a Master’s Degree, they help students explore the field of Sports Psychology and further their knowledge on specific topics. Here are a few places online that offer some free courses:

CourseWork and Mental Health [16]
Provided byThe Open University
DescriptionThis course equips learners with the knowledge to articulate the reciprocal impact of mental health problems on employment and how employment, in turn, influences mental health experiences. A key focus is placed on the application of the recovery model as a supportive framework for individuals facing mental health challenges in their journey back to the workforce.
CourseExercise Science [17]
Provided byCoursera
DescriptionThis course explores the intricate relationship between exercise and the body’s physiological responses, emphasizing the metabolic processes of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Participants will delve into how exercise influences these critical energy substrates and gain a comprehensive understanding of the body’s dynamic responses during various forms of physical activity.
CourseSports and Exercise Psychology [18]
Provided byAlison
DescriptionIn this course, participants will understand the intricacies of mental toughness, learning the various facets contributing to sports resilience. The course guides them through the power of Imagery Training and its impact on sports performance, recognizing the benefits it brings to athletes.

How to Pay for Master’s in Sports Psychology Online Programs

Paying for Tuition is increasingly a challenge. ‘U.S. News reports that the average Tuition and Fees at private National Universities have jumped 144% [19], showing no signs of receding in the foreseeable future. Add to that, living expenses for Students have also steadily been on the rise. 69% of College Students who took out Student Loans graduated in 2023 with an average debt of $29,900 [20], necessitating a closer look and wiser decision when picking a College for MFA Programs. To ease the burden of paying for Tuition, these are some ways one could consider while budgeting for an MFA Program:


Usually, merit-based scholarships offer financial assistance to eligible students and do not require repayment. Most Universities provide in-house scholarships, but private agencies, individuals, alums, research organizations, and foundations offer them based on academic achievement, community service, cultural heritage, religious affiliation, and other criteria. Some scholarships are purpose-specific, such as  Disability, African American, and Scholarships for Women. (Note: Be aware of Scholarship Scams and learn how to avoid them)


Grants are funds provided by the federal, state, or private sectors. They can cover the tuition fee or other associated student expenses, such as study materials, transport, equipment, etc. Grants are usually awarded based on financial needs rather than academic achievement.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships allow students to assist the college or program with teaching or non-teaching work while studying simultaneously. Graduate Assistants are paid for services rendered, which can fund some educational expenses.

Working on Campus

There is a possibility of being employed by the University one is studying at. A part-time job at the university is often on campus, and students can earn a reasonable salary.

Student Loans

Those who do not mind paying interest on money borrowed, loans from the federal government, banks, or private organizations can help pay for education. However, due to compounded interest, there is a danger of increased student debt if repayments are irregular, delayed, or defaulted.

FAFSA [21]

Students can check if they are eligible for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, a simple application form.

Read the best Financial Guide to learn about how to finance advanced education.

Scholarships for Masters in Sports Psychology Online Students

Scholarships for an online Master’s in Sports Psychology are available at several Universities. Many individuals and private entities also provide scholarships based on merit, community, culture, faith, and ethnicity, among other factors. Here are a few Sports Psychology scholarships for students to explore and apply to:

APF Graduate Student Scholarships [22]

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards 21 scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 yearly for graduate students in Psychology. These scholarships are sponsored by several Individuals associated with APF.

  • Award: $2,000 to $5,000
  • Application Deadline: June, annually

Association for Applied Sport Psychology Grants [23]

The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) supports early-career professionals and students in their research endeavors through grants of up to $17,500. Eligible students can apply for Research, Collaborative Research, or Community Research Grants, as well as the Oglesby-Snyder Grant for Equity and Cultural Diversity.

  • Award: up to $17,500
  • Application Deadlines: Varies

Scholarships for Women [24]

Scholarships for Women is a website listing various scholarships available for women studying Psychology. Details of the sponsor, eligibility criteria, award amounts, deadlines, and direct links are provided.

  • Award: Varies
  • Application Deadlines: Varies

Psi Chi [25]

The International Honor Society in Psychology offers graduate students of Psychology programs several awards, grants, scholarships, and fellowships ranging from $400 to $3,000, totaling about $400,000 annually. A direct link to each offer is provided that lists out specific details.

  • Award: $400 to $3,000
  • Application Deadlines: Varies

How to Become a Sports Psychologist

All states require practicing sports psychologists to be qualified, which includes a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) or Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Psychology. Clinical practice is not the only career path for sports psychology; several jobs in the field can be obtained with a Master’s Degree. To become a qualified Sports Psychologist and practice, these are the steps aspirants will need to take:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or a related field.
  2. Earn a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology (optional).
  3. Get certified as a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) [26] by the AASP and begin practicing as a consultant (optional).
  4. Earn an accredited Psy.D. or Ph.D. in Psychology specializing in Sports Psychology (to become licensed and take up research).
  5. Undergo supervised clinical experience requirements stipulated by the state of residence/practice.
  6. Undertake and pass the required exams for the particular state, including the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) [27].
  7. Apply for and receive a State’s Board of Psychology license to start practicing as a sports Psychologist.

To ensure licensure validity, practitioners should continue with educational and other requirements that the state’s licensing authority may necessitate occasionally.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Sports Psychology Graduates

A Master’s in Sports Psychology online can lead to opportunities such as coaching, supporting licensed psychologists, or working in recreational sports and athletics administration. Jobs are available in education, healthcare, wellness, and, of course, sports as well. Some of the typical careers graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology take up are:

  • Private Practice Clinical Sport Psychologist* 
  • Sports Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Clinical Sport Psychologist* 
  • University Team Coach 
  • Sports Research Specialist
  • Guidance Counselor 
  • Professional Team Coach 
  • Applied Sports Psychologist
  • Sport Psychologist for a Performing Arts Group* 
  • Clinical Sports Psychologist
  • Sport Psychologist for a Club, College, Olympic, or Professional Team*
  • Sports Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Health Program Coordinator 
  • Social Worker 
  • Sports Psychology Professor
  • Performance Coach
  • Athletic Coach
  • Academic Researcher*
  • Professor or Lecturer*
  • High school teacher

*may require a doctoral degree.

According to Projections Central, jobs in Psychology (including clinical, counseling, sports, and other categories) are said to grow by 11.5% between 2020 and 2030 [28]. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that Psychologists (under the non-clinical ‘all other’ category) earn a mean annual wage of $99,560 [29]. Overall, the job market for Sports Psychology is promising and lucrative. Some sports psychology roles are explained below:

OccupationPsychologist [30]
SkillsAnalytical, integrity, interpersonal, observational, patience, and problem-solving skills.
Median Annual Salary$85,330
Job Growth (up to 2032)6% (faster than average)
Job DescriptionAs a psychologist, individuals partake in scientific investigations to examine behavior and brain function, employing a variety of research methodologies. These encompass observation, interviews, and surveys, serving as tools to collect data on various psychological aspects. 
OccupationExercise Physiologists [31]
SkillsCompassion, communication, decision-making, detail-oriented, and interpersonal skills. 
Median Annual Salary$51,350
Job Growth (up to 2032)10% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionExercise physiologists are vital contributors to individuals’ overall well-being, utilizing their expertise to promote health through personalized and evidence-based exercise interventions. Their work encompasses a holistic approach, addressing the unique health considerations of each client to foster long-term health improvements.
OccupationHealth Education Specialists [32]
SkillsAnalytical, communication, instructional, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. 
Median Annual Salary$59,990
Job Growth (up to 2032)7% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionHealth education specialists assess the health needs of individuals and communities, developing programs and materials to educate on various health topics. They evaluate program effectiveness, provide information and referral services, and offer training to healthcare workers. 
OccupationSchool and Career Counselors and Advisors [33]
SkillsAnalytical, compassionate, interpersonal, listening, and speaking skills.
Median Annual Salary$60,140
Job Growth (up to 2032)5% (faster than average)
Job DescriptionSchool counselors are essential in fostering students’ overall well-being and academic success. They play a pivotal role in helping students navigate social and behavioral challenges, utilizing data analysis to identify factors influencing academic performance. By providing personalized guidance to individuals and small groups, counselors contribute significantly to personal and educational development.

Certifications and Licensing for Sports Psychology Graduates

Sports Psychologists may be required to be certified depending on the region and field of practice. Although board certification is not expected of all psychologists, having a Sports Psychology certification online does reflect a high degree of clinical competence. Certification is almost always required for licensure, so it is recommended to become certified. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) offers specialty psychology credentials to practitioners in 13 fields of psychology, including clinical health psychology, couple and family psychology, and behavioral and cognitive psychology [34]. Similarly, organizations like the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) [35], the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) [36], and the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) [37] grant other specialist certifications. The Council on Specialties in Professional Psychology (CSPP) [38] lists specialties and recognized certification boards.

Here are a few more certifications for Sports Psychology graduates:

  1. National Council on Strength & Fitness – Certified Personal Trainer (NCSF-CPT) [39] – The National Council awards this certification on Strength & Fitness. It signifies expertise in designing and implementing personalized fitness programs. Certified Personal Trainers (CPTs) with NCSF credentials are well-versed in exercise science, program design, and client assessment, helping individuals achieve their fitness goals through safe and practical training.
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine – Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM-PES) [40] – The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers the Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) certification for fitness professionals aiming to optimize athletic performance. Specialists with NASM-PES are equipped to assess movement patterns, address muscle imbalances, and implement tailored training programs to enhance an individual’s overall athletic capabilities.
  3. National Academy of Sports Medicine – Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES) [41] – The Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine focuses on identifying and correcting movement dysfunctions and imbalances. Professionals holding NASM-CES are trained to develop individualized corrective exercise programs to address specific issues, promoting proper movement patterns and reducing the risk of injuries.
  4. National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE) Certification [42] – The National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE) Certification is geared towards coaches and fitness professionals specializing in speed and agility training. NASE-certified individuals possess the knowledge and skills to design training programs to improve speed, agility, and overall athletic performance.
  5. National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) [43] – The National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) designation is a credential for professionals who guide individuals toward achieving their health and wellness goals. Coaches with this certification are trained to facilitate behavior change, promote healthy lifestyles, and support clients in making sustainable choices for improved well-being.

As for licensure, each state has its independent and specific licensing requirements, which may or may not include additional qualifications, training, or examinations. For example, in most states, graduates of an online Master’s in Sports Psychology are required to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) [44], administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) [45].

Additional Resources for Sports Psychology Professionals

The sporting world is a vast and competitive one. Any physical, emotional, or psychological aspect can improve or hamper performance and outcomes. To offer the best services to athletes and sports enthusiasts, graduates of a Master’s in Sports Psychology online program should keep up with the latest in sports, psychology, and performance by connecting with peers and networking. Tapping into resources such as those offered by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and others will empower students and working professionals to advance their studies and careers. Here are a few such resources to consider:

  1. APA Division 47 [46]
    APA 47 is a division of the American Psychological Association (APA) that promotes and offers services for exercise and sports psychology practitioners services. The site has many resources, from books and journals to articles and training webinars.
  2. Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) [47]
    The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) provides information on careers in Sports Psychology, podcasts, webinars, publications, and more.
  3. Premier Sport Psychology [48]
    Premier Sport Psychology is a trove of information for parents of youth athletes, professionals working with athletes, and students interested in sports psychology. The site offers videos, books, articles, and podcasts.
  4. International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) [49]
    The International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP) publishes the latest in Sports Psychology and is an excellent place for up-to-date information. The site hosts events and publications and offers fellowships and awards as well.

FAQs About Master’s in Sports Psychology Online Programs

What is sports psychology?

Sports psychology is a specialized field that explores the psychological factors influencing sports performance and physical activity. It involves applying psychological principles to enhance athletes’ mental well-being, improve performance, and address motivation, confidence, and focus challenges.

What is the difference between Sport Psychology and Performance Psychology?

Is a Masters in Sports Psychology worth it?

Can one do a sports psychology graduate program online?

What careers can one take up with a master’s in sports psychology degree?

What are the prerequisites for enrolling in a sports psychology graduate program?

Are there opportunities for practical experience in sports psychology programs?

How can I become a licensed sports psychologist?


California State University 

Capella University

Adler University   

University of Denver

National University

University of Northern Colorado

Florida State University  

American Psychological Association (APA)

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

New England Commission of Higher Education or NECHE

Middle States Commission on Higher Education or MSCHE

Higher Learning Commission or HLC

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges or SACSCOC

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities or NWCCU

Western Association of Schools and Colleges or WSCUC

Work and mental health-The Open University

Exercise Science-Coursera

Sports and Exercise Psychology-Alison

The U.S. News: A Look at 20 Years of Tuition Costs at National Universities

Lending Tree: Compare private student loan options


APF Graduate Student Scholarships

Association for Applied Sport Psychology Grants

Scholarships for Women

Psi Chi

Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC)

Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020-2030)

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022 -Psychologists, All Other

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Psychologist

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Exercise Physiologists

Health Education Specialists

School and Career Counselors and Advisors

American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) 

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN)

Council on Specialties in Professional Psychology (CSPP)

National Council on Strength & Fitness – Certified Personal Trainer (NCSF-CPT)

National Academy of Sports Medicine – Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM-PES)

National Academy of Sports Medicine – Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM-CES)

National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE) Certification

National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC)

Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) APA Division 47

Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

Premier Sport Psychology

International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP)