Athletes’ sufficient competencies (i.e. knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences; Hunter, 2004) have been suggested to facilitate coping with their demanding dual “study and elite sport” career (DC) pathway. However, no valid and reliable instrument is available to date examining athletes’ importance awarded to or possession of these DC competencies. Therefore, as part of the Erasmus+ Sport project “Gold in Education and Elite Sport”, we developed the Dual Career Competency Questionnaire for Athletes (DCCQ-A) which measures athletes’ perceptions of importance and possession of 38 DC competencies on a 5-point Likert-type scale. The objectives of this study are to describe the development of the DCCQ-A and provide an initial exploration of the factor structure of the DCCQ-A in a diverse large-scale sample of European pupil- and student-athletes. Exploratory structural equation modelling (ESEM) was performed on the scores of perceived possession of 3,350 15-to-26-year-old athletes (Mage = 18.6, SD = 2.5; 47% female – 53% male; 76% pupils – 24% students) from nine European countries. ESEM supported a 29-item four-factor solution of the DCCQ-A with satisfactory psychometric properties; χ(296) = 2699, RMSEA = .049, CFI = .952, TLI = .934. The factors of the DCCQ-A29 reflected distinct but related DC competency factors: (1) DC Management, (2) Career Planning, (3) Emotional Awareness, and (4) Social Intelligence & Adaptability. Adequate internal consistency scores were observed for the DCCQ-A29 (=.91) and its four factors (=.75–87). The study advances previous research by providing the first measure of athletes’ DC competency, and suggests the four-factor structure of the DCCQA-29 to be used as a conceptual DC competency model for DC practitioners to operationalise their work with student-athletes.