What's the Average Salary of a High School Football Coach?

Explore the career requirements for high school football coaches. Get the facts about the average salary, education requirements, job duties and more to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a High School Football Coach Do?

High school football coaches are responsible for mentoring and leading secondary school football teams. They may have an educational background in sports studies or sports science, or some experience playing professional football. As teachers of the game, they need to have excellent communication skills and be adept at dealing with adolescents. They will come up with strategies and tactics for the team, organize the players according to their strengths, and motivate the team to do well. It is helpful for high school football coaches to have a basic knowledge of first aid and a knowledge of how to treat minor sports injuries.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree based on state requirements
Education Field of Study Secondary education, coaching
Other Requirements Licensure, work experience and certification requirements vary by state
Key Responsibilities Teach players the fundamentals of football, evaluate players' strengths and weakness, prepare team for competition
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all coaches and scouts)*
Average Salary (2015) $34,800 (for coaches working in elementary and secondary schools)*,
$60,440 (for secondary school teachers except special and career/technical education)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Enter This Field?

This will depend on whether you want to be a high school teacher who also coaches or a full-time high school coach. Teaching requirements vary, but all public schools require their classroom teachers to be licensed. Depending on the size of the school and its budget, you might be hired based on experience, or you might be required to have extensive education and coaching courses. To be licensed as a teacher, you'll need to have at least a bachelor's degree. Most states require applicants to have completed classroom observation or a student teaching experience.

One educational path is to earn a degree in secondary education. This kind of degree is available at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels, and it prepares you to teach high school students. Bachelor's degrees can usually be completed in four years, while a master's degree could take 2-3 years of graduate study. You could learn about human development, educational psychology, classroom technology, student assessment and classroom management. Many of these programs incorporate student teaching components to help you gain professional experience.

Another option is to pursue a graduate degree in coaching. These programs are available at the master's degree and postgraduate certificate levels. Master's degrees can take 2-3 years to finish, while a postgraduate certificate may take as little as six months. These programs prepare you to work with athletes and manage sports teams. You could learn about coaching philosophies, athletics organization, injury prevention, body mechanics and nutrition. Some programs also offer sport-specific coaching practicums that allow you to gain experience specifically in football coaching.

Additionally, although most states require coaches at public high schools to be licensed by the state, coaches in private schools may not need to be licensed. Requirements for licensure vary by state, but most states require coaches to be over 18 years old and certified in CPR. Some states may also require you to be affiliated with the school at which you wish to coach.

What Are the Job Responsibilities?

As a high school football coach, it could be your job to teach players the fundamentals of football. This could include evaluating players' strengths and weaknesses and preparing the team to participate in competition. Some coaches supervise the jobs of other coaches, which could include monitoring job performance, as well as assessing coaches' skills with motivation, leadership, coordination and training. Many football coaches are teachers who have a background of playing football competitively.

What Could I Earn As a High School Football Coach?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, coaches working in high schools and elementary schools made $34,800 on average (www.bls.gov). This figure reflects the earnings of those who coach all types of sports (not just football) and who don't hold teacher certification.

However, many high school football coaches are primarily teachers who take on coaching duties in addition to their classroom roles. If you're interested in both teaching and coaching and decide to pursue teacher certification, your salary will differ from a purely coaching salary. In 2015, the BLS reported that high school teachers overall earned an average salary of $60,440.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in working within the world of sports, you may also consider becoming an athletic trainer. This position requires a bachelor's degree as you work with athletes to diagnose and treat injuries.

If teaching appeals, you could also work as an elementary or middle school teacher after attaining a bachelor's degree. Those with graduate level education can teach in a university setting.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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