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Most  of the time, working professionals who are going back to school to get their master’s in sports management are paying their own way. For that reason, the desire to save money on getting a master’s in sports management is an understandable one. The less debt you can graduate from school with, the sooner you can pay off your loans and enjoy your career without the burden of repayment.

So, just how do you save money on your master’s in sports management degree? It depends on which options are available to you, what kind of help you qualify for, and your ability to manage your time between school and work. You might feel you need to look at cheap online masters in sports management degree programs, but you may be able to find that you can afford an education at a more expensive school and still save money. 

Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Sports Management Master’s Programs 

Obviously, cheap tuition isn’t the only qualification for a master’s in sports management. To give students the confidence that their program will be worthwhile, Great Business School features only accredited, proven colleges and universities, ranked according to their tuition rate (current IPEDS data). 

1. California State University, Fresno

csu fresno 1

California State University, Fresno has a Sports Administration, MA that falls under the purview of the university’s Department of Kinesiology. It’s one of the most affordable sports management masters programs available, and students gain competency in teaching, exercise science, sports psychology or sports administration through various concentrations. Some students go on to post-grad degrees and certifications in applied research, clinical settings, teaching and coaching. 

A public university, Cal State Fresno has over 3,000 grad students in 45 programs ranging from sports administration to counseling and guidance services to business. Nearly one in three students attend part-time for an atmosphere conducive to parenthood and continuing a career while studying.

Highlight: Cal State Fresno offers students a diverse student body, with a high percentage of Hispanic and Asian students. This might be an environment that speaks to you.

Degree: Sport Administration, MA 

2. Florida International University

florida international

One of the most affordable sports management masters programs, Florida International University’s Recreation and Sport Management, MS prepares students for management positions within sports management or recreational therapy settings. Courses include human growth and development, anatomy for exercise and physiology. Students can opt for a concentration in recreational therapy, or Therapeutic Recreation,which contributes to a wide range of health care and recreational opportunities.

Florida International University is a large school in sunny Miami. It has 9,124 graduate students spread across nearly 100 programs, 28 are offered online. Besides sports management, many students select masters degrees in law, business and hotel management. More than one in four students attend part-time.

Highlight: Grad students at FIU describe the environment as competitive and intense and great preparation for the real world. 

Degree: Recreation and Sport Management, MS 

3. Arizona State University

arizona state 1

Arizona State University has a Sports Business, MBA that’s one of the most affordable sports management masters programs. Students prepare for positions inside teams, leagues and athletic programs at schools and universities. Some graduates may find jobs organizing mega-events or managing 24-hour media outlets. Learn more about technology-advanced venues, legal and financial groups, entertainment organizations related to sports activities.

Arizona State, located in the Phoenix Area, is a large public university. It has a student body of nearly 8,741 people. Of the 103 graduate programs, just four are available for remote students.The Arizona State University offers business, electrical engineering and computer science majors as well as sports administration. One in five grad students attend part-time.

Highlight: U.S. News ranked ASU’s business school #35 in the nation, ensuring graduate national recognition for their credentials.

Degree: Sports Business, MBA

4. Florida Atlantic University

florida atlantic fau 1

Florida Atlantic University’s Sports Management, MBA, among the most affordable sports management masters programs, combines a rigorous curriculum with a concentration in sports management. Classes are available in person and online and are taught with an emphasis on practitioners in the industry. Students have the opportunity to attend required out-of-classroom experiences at local sporting and entertainment venues.

Florida Atlantic University, founded in 1961, is a public graduate school with nearly 25,000 students. Courses follow a semester-based academic year and FAU’s U.S. news ranking among U.S. Best Colleges is #281. FAU is an eclectic school with a diverse student body and opportunities to live and work in a tropical environment.

Highlight: FAU offers internship opportunities to students who want real-world experience in the field.

Degree: Sports Management, MBA 

5. Florida State University

florida state u 1

Among the most affordable sports management masters programs, Florida State University’s Sports Management, MS teaches facility and event management, marketing and promotion, field research and business skills. Renowned instructors provide hands-on mentorship and experience. FSU has close relationships with sports organizations and its many successful alumni. This is a flexible degree that opens career opportunities in teaching, coaching and a variety of sports-related mentorship roles. 

Florida State is located in the Florida panhandle. This large public university has over 8,500 graduate students. Of more than 100 graduate programs, 13 can be taken online or via graduate distance education options. Besides sports management, popular majors include law, business and medical social work. One-third of students are part-time learners juggling work and family obligations.

Highlight: 100% of students believe that FSU professors care about their success and conduct engaging, easy-to-understand course material.

Degree: Sports Management, MS

6. Indiana University – Bloomington

indiana university

Indiana University has an Athletic Administration/Sports Management, MSK that offers public health tracks for Sport Management (MS) and Recreation Administration (MS). Career paths following graduation are diverse. Graduate find jobs in professional and collegiate sports organizations, parks and recreation settings and the tourism industry. Learn marketing, business, management, public speaking, planning, sales, operations and customer service. This program is ideal for students who want to focus on the business aspects of sports management. Improve the quality of life of citizens, employees and students with a career in sport and leisure. This field offers a unique opportunity to improve lives where students work and play.

Indiana University has a large graduate enrollment of 10,202 students. Of the 105 programs at Indiana University, nine can be taken online or via distance education options. While many students attend the sports management tracks, Indiana University – Bloomington offers diverse study options such as music performance, business and computational and applied mathematics. Nearly 40% of students attend part-time.

Highlight: Indiana University is one of the most affordable sports management masters programs in the country.

Degree: Athletic Administration/Sports Management, MSK

7. Delaware State University

delaware state

One of the most important things that students compare when choosing a graduate school is cost. Delaware State University has a Sports Administration, MS that is among the nation’s most affordable sports management masters programs. Sport Administration is a competitive industry and choosing the right school can increase your chances of getting a lucrative job. This program is an accelerated track that produces fitness, sport and recreational professionals ready to take on advanced management and supervisory positions in sport-related organizations. Develop your ability to lead and learn to adapt to legal, political and social influences that impact the field. 

Delaware State, a public school in Dover, is a small graduate school with less than 400 students. There are 20 programs available at DSU, four of which can be taken online or through an approved distance education track. While many students choose sports management courses, the most popular majors are educational administration, social work and business. Just 10% of grad students attend part-time, indicating a rigorous environment better suited to full-time students.

Highlight: More than 65% of DSU’s graduate students are African American or international, promising a diverse learning environment.

Degree: Sport Administration, MS

8. Eastern Illinois University

eastern illinois u

Among the most affordable sports management masters programs, Eastern Illinois University’s Sports Administration, MS allows students to declare a concentration of classes based on the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). The program provides opportunities at local, regional and global sports entities that give students practical experience. Sports Administration majors conduct guided research with instructors in areas such as sport marketing, economics, history and psychology. 

Eastern Illinois is a public university with a midsize graduate school of 1,514 students. There are 33 graduate programs including business educational administration, manufacturing engineer and sports administration. Twelve majors can be completed remotely. Over half of the graduate students attend part-time, indicating an understanding of job and family obligations. 

Highlight: The sports management MS at EIU provides a professional network of health and fitness, collegiate athletics and sports professionals. Additionally, assistantships can be obtained through EIU Athletics and Student Recreation Center.

Degree: Sports Administration, MS 

9. Arkansas State University

arkansas state

Arkansas State University has a Sports Administration, MS that is one of the most affordable sports management masters programs. The Sport Administration program falls under the Department of Health, Physical Education & Sport Sciences. Students who wish to attend should plan for a full-time student experience while completing the 36-credit program. Graduates go on to careers in sports administration at professional and scholastic sports organizations as well as media and management organizations. 

Arkansas State has a midsize student body of 4,359 grad students. There are 54 programs available, with 18 having online or distance education tracks. Other popular majors include teaching, special education and educational administration.

Highlight: Niche.com gives the Jonesboro area an A- in categories including cost of living and nightlife.

Degree: Sports Administration, MS 

10. University of New Mexico

university of new mexico

The Physical Education: Sport Administration, MS at the University of New Mexico is another one of the most affordable sports management masters programs. Courses in this track include sports sociology, ethics, sports leadership, research design, sports finance, law and other sports-related classes.

New Mexico is a large public university with one of the largest graduate student bodies in the country. Nearly 6,000 graduate students choose from 78 distinct programs. New Mexico offers nine of these programs online or via graduate distance education. Popular programs include sports management, medicine and business law. Fewer than half (43%) of graduate students attend part-time. 

Highlight: 100% of students surveyed say professors express care and concern regarding students’ success, and 86% believe their professors are easy to understand and engaging.

Degree: Physical Education: Sport Administration, MS

How Do I Save Money on My Master’s in Sports Management?

Here are some of the ways you can save money on your sports management master’s degree:

Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are similar in that they have requirements for application and awarding, and neither have to be paid back. Both are offered through schools, but scholarships can also be unaffiliated and awarded to an applicant who wants to attend a specific school. Grants are available through state and federal government programs, private organizations, and schools. Before applying for a grant or scholarship, take a good look at the requirements to make sure you can meet them and that they apply to your specific need. 

Employer Reimbursement

Employers frequently offer tuition reimbursement to their employees who want to advance their education while pursuing a career with said employer. Check with the human resources department to learn more about the types of tuition reimbursement that’s available along with the employer’s terms and conditions for the program. You might find that the employer rewards an employee who enrolls in a cheep online masters in sports management program. 

Find a Flexible Online Sports Management Degree Master’s Program

You might think that an inexpensive sports management degree program means you won’t get the same level of education that you would at a more expensive school. The fact is, schools with the cheapest sports management degree online are offered by good schools that are respected by employers. A school that offers a degree program that’s accelerated or allows you to take the classes as you’re able can help you save money on your degree and still open many doors to exciting jobs in sports management.

Will a Certification in Sports Management Help My Career?

Sport management certifications can help advance a career or open up opportunities that weren’t available without the certification. Getting a sports management certification can also make you a more attractive candidate for advancement in your current sports organization, especially if you started out in an apprenticeship or entry-level position without a lot of higher education to back you up. It’s worth looking into sports management certifications as getting one boosts your desirability as a candidate. When you can show your employer, or a potential employer, that you’ve learned valuable sports management skills with a sports management certification, you’re taken more seriously as an employee and are more likely to be offered roles that match the skills you learned in school. 

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Sports Management?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have direct salary data regarding the masters in sport management salary. However, there are multiple sports management roles that fall under the general management umbrella and can give you a good idea of the average sports management masters salary. At the low end of the masters in sport management salary is the event coordinator role at $37,000. This role is one of the lowest in sport management salaries due to the fact that it’s usually performed at smaller sporting venues with one team that plays for part of the year. The job of event coordinator may only last a few months out of each year. General operations managers perform a similar role to the event coordinator, but make around $75,000 a year and works at major venues. A large venue can host multiple teams and types of sports throughout the year and offers more earning potential, making it one of the higher masters in sports management salaries.

Your ultimate goal for your sports management master’s degree will inform you as to how much you spend on your degree. An affordable degree can land you a job with a high sport management masters salary provided you aim for roles that have a lot of earning potential. Another thing to keep in mind that all sports are seasonal and almost none of them operate year round. Some types of sports have a longer season than others, but there is always an off-season. Sometimes a sports management masters salary seems low, but when you compare how much you earn in relation to the amount of available working hours, the pay can be reasonable. What you wind up earning for a masters in sports management salary depends on you and the choices you make when seeking employment. 

Related Rankings:

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