The term sports psychology refers to the psychological issues an athlete may be facing that influence his or her performance and ability to train for the sport. Sports psychologists also focus on the positive aspects of solo or group participation, such as improved physical endurance and peace of mind. Athletes who work with sports psychologists learn psychological techniques that can help them improve their performance.

Sports psychology as a separate discipline has been around for more than 50 years. The International Society of Sports Psychology (ISSP) was formed in 1965, and some colleges offered sports psychology as a field of study by the 1970s. Clinical, educational, and exercise psychologists are the most common types who practice today.

The website reported in January 2023 that sports psychologists earn an average annual salary of $75,928. Sports psychologists work with athletes at all levels, including high school and college students, professional athletes, and those not belonging to any formal sports team but desiring to improve their performance.

People interested in a career in sports psychology can do so by completing a master’s degree in general psychology and then a graduate certificate specific to sports psychology. Earning a specialty certificate online is a good way for students to explore this interest area, especially if they already have a master’s in psychology and don’t want the hassle and expense of a lengthy degree program to enter the niche. To find out what online grad certificate programs exist in sports psychology, continue reading below.

What Will I Learn in an Online Sports Psychology Graduate Certificate Program?

Here are some general topics that students looking for online sports psychology graduate certificate programs can expect to learn:

  • Developmental and social issues related to participation in sports
  • Exercise physiology, which includes knowledge of sports medicine and motor skills training
  • Mental skills necessary to compete to the athlete's satisfaction
  • Sport-specific psychological assessment tools

Here are some examples of courses students complete to earn this credential:

  • Exercise Psychology
  • Foundational Research Methods
  • Motor Development and Analysis
  • Philosophy of Sports
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sports in Society

Students should expect to spend a minimum of one year earning a graduate certificate in sports psychology, regardless of the school they choose to attend.

Admissions Requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Sports Psychology

The University of Western States offers an online graduate certificate in sports psychology. The university's admission requirements are similar to what students would find at other schools. These include:

  • Complete the Online Graduate Student Application and indicate interest in the sports psychology certificate program
  • Proof of having earned at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field related to sports or psychology
  • Official copies of transcripts from all other colleges and universities attended
  • Copy of the diploma received for the most recent degree
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a person familiar with the student's career goals, work ethic, and general character. A spiritual advisor, academic advisor, previous professor, or current or previous work supervisor would all be ideal people to ask to write the recommendation letter.
  • Resume of all educational and work activities over the past several years that highlights any relevant experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that the rate of demand for people with a degree in general psychology will hold steady at six percent annually through 2031. Those with more specialized training, such as holding a sports psychology graduate certificate, should be in even higher demand. Although sports psychology is a niche market, people with training in this area can command a larger salary than those with only general training in psychology.

List of Sports Psychology Graduate Certificate Programs

Find an online or campus-based graduate certificate program in sports psychology today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.

Jump to Your State Listings


Graduate Certificate Programs
3300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017


Graduate Certificate Programs
50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901


Graduate Certificate Programs
501 East High St
Oxford, OH 45056
(513) 529-1809


Graduate Certificate Programs
8000 NE Tillamook Street
Portland, OR 97213
(800) 641-5641


Graduate Certificate Programs
250 University Ave
California, PA 15419
(724) 938-4000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Joel Gill
Share This: