The state of Florida, situated in the southeastern region of the US, is a worthy place to study and perhaps even practice sports psychology. Nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida’s economy is busy with tourism, international banking, healthcare research and life sciences. A number of sports are popular in Florida including football, basketball, baseball, hockey and even soccer.
Sports psychology is the application of psychology to the dynamics of an athlete in an attempt to improve their athletic performance on and off the field. It uses the elements of the human mind, behavior and thought processes to prepare the athlete for competitive scenarios so that 100% is delivered.
The route to become a sport psychologist requires a time and financial investment in education. Since this is a field of science, academic qualifications are given high priority. Usually students start with a graduate degree in psychology to form a base and then work towards a specialized degree such as a master’s or a doctorate in sports psychology.
Sports Psychology Training Programs
University of Florida
The University of Florida has a rather extensive Behavioral Science department that offers Doctorate level programs to students who are interested in going the extra mile to accelerate their career growth as sports psychologists.
The doctorate program offers 2 different specializations or concentrations – one in Exercise Psychology and the other in Performance Psychology. Both programs offer students unique insights and teachings into the areas of sports psychology. Admission into this specialized doctoral program includes graduation from an accredited program while holding onto a CGPA of 3.0 for the final 60 semester hours along with an acceptable GRE result.
Florida State University
The Florida State University has a lot to offer in the psychology department. It offers an MS in Educational Psychology with a focus in sport psychology. This degree requires 37 hours minimum towards completion. It covers areas in sport psychology, movement science core as well as research and statistics. A field lab internship opportunity is also presented to students.
The university also offers a Doctorate in Sport Psychology which is usually completed over the course of 3 years. This program spends time covering various aspects such as sport psychology, movement sciences, research methods, counseling methods among others. A field lab internship along with a dissertation are necessary for completion.
Barry University offers interested students an MS in sport, exercise and performance psychology. This graduate level program lays emphasis on the mind, thought process, behaviors and physical demands of athletes. It offers 3 kinds of approaches to this degree.
The first one is the applied track which focuses a great deal on the practical and applications of sports psychology. The second approach is the thesis tack which revolves around research and analyses. The third approach is the dual track which is quite comprehensive as it combines disciplines and requirements from both tracks into one. The university offers financial aid options to deserving students.
Career Opportunities in Florida
Often, sports psychologists find career building opportunities in counseling clinics, rehabilitation centers and fitness centers. As a sport psychologist, you may also develop a career into mentoring and treating high-school or college level sports teams as academic communities frequently require the expertise of sports psychologists during inter-school games. With the right networking and experience level you may also form a career as your national team’s dedicated sport psychologist.
Salary and Employment Outlook in Florida
The average annual salary for sport psychologists in Florida is $143,000 and is experiencing an upward trend. The private sector may offer greater financial return to your academic investment whereas working for your national sports team may be even more rewarding.
According to the demographics collected by the BLS, the employment growth in psychologists in general is expected to be around 11% by 2022 which translates to roughly 18,000 new jobs. Given the competitive nature of sports and the high investment sport franchise, it may be safe to assume that sports psychologists are going to remain in demand.