Professional scouts evaluate the skills of athletes to determine talent and potential. As a sports team’s eyes and ears, the scout’s primary role is to find top athletic candidates for the team he or she represents.
At the professional level, scouts usually work for sports talent scouting organizations or ad hoc. In locating new talent, scouts perform their work in secrecy so that they don’t “tip off” their opponents about their interest in certain players.
At the college level, the head scout often is an assistant coach, although freelance scouts may aid colleges by reporting to coaches about exceptional players. Scouts at this level seek talented high school athletes by reading newspapers, contacting high school coaches, attending college and high school games and many other activities. They also evaluate potential players’ background and personal characteristics, such as motivation and discipline, by talking to the players’ coaches, parents, and teachers. Often times an individual must scout at this level before he or she can land a professional sports scouting job. The amount of money that is on the line for a professional team makes the scouting job a critical one that teams do not take lightly.
Scouting jobs require experience playing a sport at the college or professional level because the common wisdom is that it is easier to spot young players who possess extraordinary athletic ability and skills if you have or at one time had those same skills.
Most beginning scouting jobs are part-time in a particular area or region. The most significant catapult to full-time jobs is a proven record of success. Some of the best scouts advance to scouting director jobs or various administrative positions in sports.
These salaries are not static and vary dependent upon many factors such as years of practice, education level, geographic region and team reputation.
Major League Baseball: $35,000 – $65,000
National Football League: $45,000 – $70,000
National Basketball Association: $34,000 – $65,000
National Hockey League: $25,000 – $50,000
*these salaries have left out the top 1-2% of salaries for scouts which can reach to as high as $125,000+ depending upon the scout’s track record.