How to Become an Athletic Scout


Those who become athletic scouts are typically highly passionate about a specific sport. They must have a keen eye for talented players in that sport; a skill acquired as a result of several years of experience playing a sport, or coaching that sport.


To be successful, they must also be deeply committed to making a difference in the performance and success of the team or athletic program they are scouting for.


A prospective athletic scout must be willing to make the lifestyle sacrifices necessary to succeed in this career, such as traveling frequently.


Prospective scouts must realize that although their job allows them to travel in order to watch the sport they love, the travel isn’t leisurely, and they will not be watching the game the same way a fan does.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an athletic scout. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements

Although the educational requirements can vary by employer, you typically only need a high school diploma to work in this field. Athletic scouts that work for colleges or universities might be required to have a bachelor’s degree, typically in any field, especially scouts that work primarily as coaches for university sports teams and athletic programs. 





Athletic Scout Job Description

Athletic scouts are responsible for finding, evaluating and recruiting talented players to play on university, college, amateur and professional sports teams. Their primary concern is evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of potential new recruits. They must communicate the information they obtain to people of authority within the sports organization they are scouting for, such as coaches or general managers. 



Typical Job Duties

• Observe coaching tendencies and strategies of opponents

• May be assigned to observe and evaluate specific players

• Liaise with coaches and management to discuss personnel needs

• Attend matches and games to observe specific players

• Interview players and compile stats

• Report findings to coaches and management in order to assist them with personnel decisions

• May be assigned the duty of observing an upcoming opponent

• Analyze sports teams in an effort to identify strengths and weaknesses of individual players and teams as a whole



Who Employs Athletic Scouts?

Sports teams and athletic programs that are interested in recruiting talent on a short-term or long-term basis hire athletic scouts. Such organizations might include:


• Professional sports teams

• Amateur sports teams

• Universities and colleges

• Private athletic clubs

• School boards

• Public and private high schools





Typical Career Path of a Professional Scout

Many athletic scouts aspire to work at the professional level, and there are several ways to become a professional athletic scout; the most common way is to enter the profession by coaching a sport at the amateur level. From there, entering this profession is achieved by following these steps:


• The coach is asked to perform some part-time scouting for a team at a higher level (such as a junior hockey team, or a college football team)

• The coach demonstrates more people skills and passion for the game than his or her competitors

• Some of the coaches recommendations prove to be successfully; the coach is then offered a position with more responsibility

• Eventually the scout will advance to a position of authority with the team

• The team has some success and perhaps graduates some players to professional teams

• Those closely involved in the sport (such as other scouts, coaches and general mangers) begin to recognize the new scout’s eye for talent

• Either a professional acquaintance gets into a position of authority with a professional team, or one of the scout’s friends recommends them to a person in authority in a professional organization  

• The scout is hired as a professional scout



Experience Needed

Athletic scouts are experts at evaluating talent in players of specific sports. Scouts typically acquire this expertise, and learn to recognize talent in other players by either playing that sport at a high level, coaching at a high level, or following the sport closely for many years. 



Career Advancement in This Profession

As athletic scouts acquire a track record of success, they may become serious candidates for full-time jobs with high-level collegiate, or professional sports teams.


Some athletic scouts can also advance to jobs with more responsibility, such as full-time jobs that involve scouting over larger territories, or supervising and coordinating other scouts. Other positions that an experienced and successful athletic scout may qualify for include Director of Scouting, and General Manager.



Scouting Job Opportunities

Our job board below has "athletic scout" ("Sport Scout") postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Salary Level Typical to This Field

The salary level of athletic scouts can vary widely based on factors such as their level of responsibility, the size of their scouting territory, their level of experience and success, the level of sport they are recruiting for, and many others.


Many scouts are actually coaches or general managers that perform their scouting duties part-time, as part of their overall set of responsibilities. Some scouts may be self-employed and paid per-assignment. Other scouts may work part time in a particular area or region for a team. Many athletic scouts work part-time, and because of this, the salary averages for this occupation are low.


Athletic Scout Salary Canada (Alberta only): According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Coaches occupational group earn an average salary of $32,688 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 9, 2019).


Athletic Scout Salary United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary earnings were $26,950. The lowest paid scouts earn less than $16,380, and the top 10 percent earn more than $63,720 per year.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to athletic scout, as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Location Scout

Personal Trainer

Recreation and Sports Director

Sports Agent

Sports Coach




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this occupation:


Career Services:Coaches & Scouts.” (May 1, 2018). University of Manitoba website. Retrieved October 23, 2019.

Entertainment and Sports:Coaches and Scouts.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 23, 2019.

News:Preparing for an Athletic Scouting Career in High School.” (April 8, 2015). Michigan State University - Faculty of Extension website. Retrieved October 23, 2019.



Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships listed for majors that are relevant for becoming an athletic scout can be found on our Exercise Science Scholarships and Kinesiology Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Athletic Scout