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No Formal Qualifications Aptitude Tests Other Qualification Year 10 Preferred Subject Prerequisites

Also known as Athlete.

Professional sportspeople earn all or part of their living through participating in sporting events, either as individuals or as members of a team.

Professional sportspeople usually specialise in one sport, such as Australian Rules Football, basketball, boxing, cricket, golf, netball, rugby league, soccer, swimming, tennis and many others, although some may take part in more than one.

Most sportspeople compete as amateurs (unpaid) until they reach a sufficiently high standard to be offered payment for their performance.


    Professional sportspeople may perform the following tasks:

  • maintain a high degree of expertise in their particular sport
  • attend regular practice sessions and undertake private training to maintain the required standard of fitness
  • take part in scheduled sporting competitions
  • repair sporting equipment or organise its repair
  • undertake sports promotional activities, demonstrations and television appearances
  • coach individuals, groups and/or teams by demonstrating techniques and supervising practice


  • physically fit
  • dedicated to attaining and maintaining a high standard of skill and endurance in a particular sport
  • good communication skills for promotional work
  • willing to travel

Interest Area

Outdoor Influencing/Personal Contact


Sports Commentator - describes the progress of play during broadcasts of sporting events and explains the technicalities and the tactics of the sport to the audience.

Sports Development Officer - works for clubs, associations or state or territory sporting bodies promoting their sport or their club. They may visit schools, address pupils on the benefits of playing a particular sport or for a particular club and organise demonstrations and activities relating to the skills of the sport.


No Formal Qualifications Aptitude Tests Other Qualification Year 10 Preferred Subject Prerequisites

You can work as a sportsperson without formal qualifications. However, a high level of expertise in your chosen sport is essential.

Sportspeople in a team sport will come under the guidance of a coach whose job it is to develop and refine their skills. Individual sportspeople usually find a coach to assist them to reach elite level.

Sportspeople who are still at school may elect to develop their skills by attending a specialist sports high school that combines traditional school subjects with specialist sports coaching and competition in a wide range of sports.

Many sporting organisations offer traineeships to potential top-level sportspeople in specific sports. Training is also available in related areas such as coaching, sport development, refereeing/umpiring and sports administration.

It is recommended that a sportsperson complete a traineeship in Sport Career Oriented Participation that may assist in the development of skills to improve their career prospects both during and after a career in professional sport.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Sportspeople may study courses in sports-related areas such as sports science, human movement studies, physiotherapy, sports administration, sports coaching, sports journalism, physical education and sports psychology. However, such studies are not essential for employment as a professional sportsperson. Courses in these areas are available at most institutions in Australia. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Additional Information

    National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) offer scholarships to enable elite sportspeople to live and train, sometimes in association with the Australian Sports Commission, in Canberra. The Australian Sports Commission offers a range of sports programmes, covering many different sports, including a limited number to athletes with disabilities. Some athletes may have the opportunity to train overseas.

    The NSW Institute of Sport also offers scholarships and other assistance to elite sportspeople.

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


In all areas of sport, the number of top professional and amateur competitors is very small compared to the number of people aspiring to compete at a professional level. Earnings from sport for professional sportspeople depend on the individual's ability and the public popularity of the sport. Depending upon the sport, playing careers for sportspeople generally last no more than a few years.

Accomplished sportspeople may progress to employment as coaches, trainers, administrators or media personalities after retiring from their playing careers. Others may go into business ventures relating to sport, such as marketing sporting equipment or clothing, or managing other sportspeople. Some pursue careers they have established in other areas.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Sportsperson Sportspeople NSW Institute of Sport

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