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NOC 2016 Version 1.3


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5251 – Athletes

Athletes participate in competitive sports events on an amateur or professional basis. They play team sports such as hockey, baseball, football and lacrosse; or compete in individual sports such as skiing, figure skating, boxing or track and field; or in games such as poker or chess. They are employed by professional team organizations or they may be self-employed.


Example titles

  • Athlete
  • Baseball player
  • Boxer
  • Figure skater
  • Football player
  • Golfer
  • Harness race driver
  • Hockey player
  • Jockey
  • Professional athlete
  • Skier
  • Sprinter
  • Track athlete
  • Competitor - gambling
  • Gamer - video games

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
  • Train under the direction of a coach or trainer to qualify for competition
  • Attend scheduled practice and training sessions
  • Participate in local, regional, provincial, national or international competitions and sporting events
  • Assess performance after an event to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Employment requirements

  • Demonstrated ability in a particular sport, or type of game, is required.
  • Extensive training under the supervision of a coach is required.
  • Certification with a particular sports federation may be required.
  • A background combining athletic training and college or university studies is strongly recommended.

Additional information


Breakdown summary

Broad occupational category
5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
Skill level
B – Occupations usually require college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training.
Major group
52 – Technical occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
Minor group
525 – Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations
Associated Career Handbook profiles
5251.0 – Athletes
NOC 2016 Version 1.3
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