The USTA is set to partner with the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) to grant up to $100,000 in scholarships to current or incoming college students enrolled in Professional Tennis Management programs, a move to support students looking to pursue careers in the tennis industry.
A total of 50 students can receive up to $2,000 in scholarship money for tuition, provided they are enrolled in a Professional Tennis Management program during the 2021-22 academic year. Ten universities and colleges in America have designed PTM programs for students who want to learn the coaching and business skills necessary to be successful in the tennis industry.
The goal of this initiative is to work with the USPTA and PTR to provide scholarship opportunities for college students who choose tennis as a profession. Most PTM students complete a degree in fields like marketing, business, kinesiology, sports management or hospitality, with a concentration in PTM.
“We are focusing the scholarship program on students and incoming students who want to make tennis a career,” said Chris Michalowski, Director of Experiential Learning, USTA-U, “not just a cool, high-profile job for a few years after college.”
Michalowski, who was a part of the first PTM program at Ferris State University in 1986, now supports the program that gave him his start in tennis. Since then, the number of USTA-certified PTM programs on offer has grown from two to 10 schools, with students able to study for bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees, as well as concentrations and certificates.
“Simply put, the goal of the PTM program is to give students a competitive edge in the industry, so they can get a good job when they graduate,” he explained. The key is the experiential learning that students have access to, to go along with their studies.
Each PTM school has a “learning lab”—a tennis club and facility that is either attached to the school or partnering with the school—where students gain hands-on teaching and administrative experience. Students also learn through seminars with top subject-matter experts, on topics ranging from stringing to officiating, and all PTM students are placed in paid internships at some of the nicest resorts and facilities in the country.
“Experts from all over the world educating these students,” said Michalowski, “so they can really get a good well-rounded on the court, with a degree attached to it.”
It’s a formula that’s proven very successful over the years, with 70% of PTM students having a job lined up in the tennis industry before graduation, and a near-100% job placement rate post-graduation, with typical starting salaries of $50,000-$60,000.
There are countless success stories of PTM students going on to big things in the tennis world, from club directors to high-level coaches to racquet technicians, online entrepreneurs and more. Learn more about the potential career paths for PTMers in USTA.com’s “Jobs In Tennis” series, featuring seven successful grads.
“With four million new tennis players in 2020, we have a unique opportunity to make sure we retain and engage our new players with the best experience possible,” added Martin Blackman, General Manager, USTA Player and Coach Development. “That means great coaches delivering the sport at every level, and Professional Tennis Management programs are a perfect launch pad for our next generation of coaches.”
For more information and to apply, visit the USTA’s Professional Tennis Management program homepage. The scholarship application deadline is April 24, 2021.