Sports Psychologist Salary in the US


Sports Psychologist Salary
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Introduction

Sport psychologists work with professional or amateur athletes to help them manage mental health challenges that affect their athletic performance. In this article we have mentioned about Sports Psychologist Salary in the US, their average salary, their entry level salary and many more.

Sports Psychologist Salary in the US
Sports Psychologist Salary in the US (Image Source: career.iresearchnet.com)

If athletes struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, staying focused, managing anger, staying motivated or communicating with coaches or teammates, they may not perform at their best levels. 

Sport psychologists help athletes address these issues and in turn improve their performance.

In addition to working directly with athletes, sport psychologists may work with coaches or youth sports organizations to teach skills that help athletes stay motivated and maintain healthy self-esteem.

Below are a few things that sport psychologists do to support athletes.

  • Help athletes manage the stress and pressure that comes with competition
  • Teach clients visualization and relaxation techniques to help them stay focused and perform at their best
  • Motivate athletes to help them stick to their exercise programs and maintain their fitness goals
  • Teach strategies to help athletes recover from injuries and any pain or stress caused by those injuries.

It’s not uncommon for sport psychologists to work in areas other than athletics. Sport psychologists may also work with others with high-stress jobs, such as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, surgeons, performance artists and military personnel.

Workers in these high-stress fields may need counselling to cope with challenges and act quickly in difficult situations. The U.S. Army is currently the largest employer of sport psychologists in the country.

What Does a Sports Psychologist Do?

  • A sports psychologist role is more accepted today as a part of the regular coaching staff for teams and for individual athletes–than 10 years ago.-December 22, 2021
  • The areas sports psychologists teach vary from one person to another depending on their experience and qualifications.-December 22, 2021
  • Sports psychologist can help athletes overcome fears, such as fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, and general performance anxiety.-December 21, 2021
  • A non-clinical sport psychologist might refer one of their clients to a clinical psychologist if it is thought that the athlete might need additional help regarding their mental health.-December 19, 2021
  • Becoming a sports psychologist could be an exciting career choice for many psychology students, especially those who have a strong interest in sports and physical activity.-December 19, 2021

How much does a Sports Psychologist make in the US? 

The average Sports Psychologist in the US makes $99,793. Sports Psychologists make the most in San Francisco at $149,151, averaging total compensation 49% greater than the US average.

Earnings outlook

Depending on location, Goldman says, estimates indicate that sport psychologists in university athletic departments can earn $60,000 to $80,000 a year; the highest salaries can exceed $100,000 annually.

  In private practice, the salary range is quite wide, he says. Sport psychology is a “boutique service” that caters to niche clients who pay for services themselves, Aoyagi notes. “There is no ceiling to how much you can make, but there is no floor, either,” he says.

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Average base salary

Updated at August 29, 2022

$75,928

Per Year

The average salary for a Sports Psychologist is $75,928 per Year in the United States .

Average Salaries Across the Country

The following lists ranks salaries in each state around the country.

Alabama – $ 98,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 12
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Alabama are 1% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 98,000.00
Alaska – $ 73,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 47
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Alaska are 25% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 73,000.00
Arizona – $ 80,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 44
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Arizona are 17% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 80,000.00
Arkansas – $ 97,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 14
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Arkansas are the same as average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 97,000.00
California – $ 104,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 8
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in California are 7% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 104,000.00
Colorado – $ 86,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 32
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Colorado are 11% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 86,000.00
Connecticut – $ 112,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 4
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Connecticut are 15% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 112,000.00
DC – $ 121,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 1
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Washington, DC are 24% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 121,000.00
Delaware – $ 85,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 38
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Delaware are 12% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 85,000.00
Florida – $ 90,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 27
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Florida are 7% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 90,000.00
Georgia – $ 111,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 5
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Georgia are 14% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 111,000.00
Hawaii – $ 61,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 51
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Hawaii are 37% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 61,000.00
Idaho – $ 65,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 50
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Idaho are 33% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 65,000.00
Illinois – $ 110,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 6
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Illinois are 13% higher than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 110,000.00
Indiana – $ 94,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 19
Average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings in Indiana are 4% lower than average Applied Sports Psychologist salaries for job postings nationwide.

In USD as of March 24, 201455k110k165kApplied Sports Psychologist$ 94,000.00
Iowa – $ 95,000.00 (Low Confidence (less than 75 sources))Salary Rank: 17
Average Salaries Across the Country

Where Do Sports Psychologists Work?

Your picture of the life of a sports psychologist probably involves working for an NBA team or hanging out in the desert each spring for Cactus League tune-ups. And there are many sports psychologists who do work in pro sports and work in the major and minor leagues of every sport.

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But there are many people in the field who have successful practices serving clients outside of the more popular and traditional roles. Sport psychologist careers typically involve working in facilities that cater to and accommodate athletes of all different shapes, sizes, and ages.

High schools and colleges might hire a sport psychologist to talk with and counsel their student athletes, for instance. Sport psychologists can also usually find employment at hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, and gyms. Some are employed by national bodies that govern particular sports, or work with national Olympic teams.

Sports psychologists can also choose to open their own practices, much like most other psychologists. Like any kind of psychologist, finding a good fit between client and therapist is a must, so athletes may prefer to shop around for someone who works well for them.

“Some start their own private practice which can be a pretty big undertaking and takes a lot of hard work and patience…[find] a niche that separates [you] from others in the field. Find an area of specialization that expresses your love and passion for sports and being of service to athletes.” 

-Robert B. Andrews, M.A., LMFT, CSC Founder and Director of The Institute of Sports Performance in Houston, TX.

Some of the career options available to a sports psychologist include:

  • Becoming a mental training consultant, working with athletes and teams to teach mental training techniques and team-building strategies.
  • Providing consulting services to coaches and support staff to help create a team environment that achieves a maximum level of healthy motivation and trust.
  • Working at a high school or college as an academic counselor (or academic coordinator) for student-athletes.
  • Working with athletes at a sport medicine clinic.
  • Educating the public as a sport psychology lecturer.
  • Pursuing a doctorate in sport and exercise or clinical psychology, and becoming a staff sports psychologist at a sports organization or university.
  • Establishing a private practice to counsel athletic clients on how to set goals, stay focused, better manage their energy, and develop effective pre-performance routines.
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“Our alumni also work in other professional settings such as master resilience trainer/ performance expert with the U.S. Army, head coaches at various colleges, and program coordinator through the national First Tee Youth Golf Program, to name a few.”

– Judy L. Van Raalte, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Springfield College

Salaries by Years of experience for Sports Psychologist

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. 

In general, the more years you spend working as a sports psychologist, the more you can expect to earn. 

Here’s how experience can impact your sports psychologist salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$42,306
Early career (1 to 4 years)$67,956
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$90,993
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$98,117
Late career (20+ years)$109,624
Salaries by Years of experience for Sports Psychologist

Highest Paying Cities for Sports Psychologist in US

Sports Psychologist salaries in the United States will pay differently by cities. 

Below following are the eight cities with the highest income for Sports Psychologist jobs in the United States. The city with the highest salary is San Jose.

$95,290

Per Year

$95,290

Per Year

$95,047

Per Year

$94,910

Per Year

$94,910

Per Year

$91,342

Per Year

$91,342

Per Year

$91,342

Per Year

Which States Have the Best Pay For Sports Psychologists? 

Surprisingly, Sports Psychologists in Alaska report the highest salaries. On average, psychologists in the land of the midnight sun earn $84,258 annually. Because Alaska is so isolated, it has a high cost of living. 

This isolation may also influence pay since the state may need to draw in Sports Psychologists to work there.

The second spot where Sports Psychologists earn a hefty salary is California. Practicing Sports Psychology in this state means getting $83,957 on average. 

If you aren’t a fan of the cold and don’t mind dealing with traffic, this state is a great place to create a strong career.

Washington D.C. is in third place for average Sports Psychology salary. In this coastal spot, Sports Psychologists reported $83,604 for their median salary.

How much tax will you have to pay as a Sports Psychologist?

For an individual filer in this tax bracket, you would have an estimated average federal tax in 2018 of 24%. After a federal tax rate of 24% has been taken out, Sports Psychologists could expect to have a take-home pay of $81,553/year, with each paycheck equaling approximately $3,398.

Skills and Competencies of Sports Psychologist

Sports psychology career skills include,

  • Assessing athletic performance and how psychological tools can improve performance.
  • Identifying and treating psychological issues, such as performance anxiety.
  • Using technology or advising athletes and coaches on technology, such as biofeedback methods.
  • Helping athletes identify and address psychological barriers to their peak performance.
  • Identifying individual and team dynamics and using those insights to help athletes work as part of a team.
  • Helping athletes resolve conflicts with team members, including coaches, administration, family, and other players.
  • Maintaining confidentiality.
  • Helping injured athletes maintain motivation and optimism, while being realistic about the potential career impact of serious injuries.
  • Helping professional athletes transition to retirement.
  • A sports psychology career is a great way to work in the world of sports, especially if you enjoy being part of the close-knit nature of sports teams.

Benefits for Sports Psychologist

  • Social Security
  • Healthcare
  • 401(k)
  • Pension
  • Disability
  • Time Off (days)

FAQ’s About Sports Psychologist Salary

How much do NBA sport psychologists make?

The same can be said for NBA psychologists, who will likely often make in the vicinity of $100,000 a year or more when dealing with the highest level of athletes.

Do sports psychologist make a lot of money?

Depending on location, Goldman says, estimates indicate that sport psychologists in university athletic departments can earn $60,000 to $80,000 a year; the highest salaries can exceed $100,000 annually. In private practice, the salary range is quite wide, he says.

Where do sports psychologists make the most money?

What are Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Sport Psychologist Jobs

CityAnnual SalaryWeekly Pay
San Mateo, CA$93,865$1,805
Berkeley, CA$92,265$1,774
Daly City, CA$92,197$1,773
Deer Park, CA$91,632$1,762
Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Sport Psychologist Jobs

How do I become a sports psychologist in the US?

Most positions require a master’s or doctoral degree in clinical, counseling or sport psychology. Even then, additional classes in kinesiology, physiology, sports medicine, business and marketing are required. Direct training and experience in applying psychology to sports and exercise is a must.

Is sport psychology a good career?

Is sports psychology a good job? If you love sports and helping athletes and teams improve, sports psychology careers can be rewarding. However, you must earn a doctorate to become a clinical sports psychologist, which takes time and money.

What are the negatives of sports psychology?

Downsides of a Career in Sports Psychology
The emphasis on teamwork may be difficult for independent-minded individuals. Requires extensive education, training, and experience. Opportunities are generally more limited for bachelor’s and master’s degree-holders.

Are sports psychologists in demand?

“There’s increased demand for sport psychologists to address sports performance as well as mental health concerns, which is fantastic not just for the field of sport psychology but for athletes and for the general population.”

Do sports psychologists travel?

The role of a sports psychologist can also be quite demanding, especially during busy sports seasons when working with a professional athlete or team of athletes. During the season, the psychologist is required to travel with the team, which means frequently being on the road.

What are the different kinds of sports psychologists?

Clinical sports psychologists are licensed psychologists who diagnose and treat psychological conditions. Educational sports psychologists are not necessarily licensed psychologists and act more like advisors.

Can sports psychologists prescribe medications?

No, sports psychologists cannot prescribe medications. In some states, licensed clinical psychologists can prescribe certain medications.

How does a sports psychologist help athletes?

Sports psychologists help athletes overcome performance difficulties, manage stress, and improve their performance. They may also help sports teams work together.

Is sports psychology a good job?

If you love sports and helping athletes and teams improve, sports psychology careers can be rewarding. However, you must earn a doctorate to become a clinical sports psychologist, which takes time and money.

Conclusion

Sports psychology is a specialty that uses psychological principles and skills to address the well-being and performance of athletes. 

This field also involves the social and developmental aspects of participating in sports and systemic problems with sports organizations and settings. In this article we have mentioned about Sports Psychologist Salary in the US, their average salary, their entry level salary and many more.

The American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes sports psychology as a psychological proficiency. 

Skill in this field is acquired after the student earns a doctoral degree in one of the major areas of psychology. State licensure is also required.

The salary for all psychologists is substantial at $79,000 according to BLS data. With a Ph.D. in clinical or counseling psychology, you can earn more than $100,000 per year in private practice. After you graduate and have gained experience, you can take more classes in sports psychology and start to focus on this lucrative subspecialty.

Some sports psychologists choose to work for a collegiate athletic department; there are hundreds of collegiate sports teams at different levels across America. Job possibilities in college athletics are far more numerous than at the professional level. 

But once you gain more experience as a sports psychologist, you may be able to make a high salary offering private services to individual collegiate and professional athletes.


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