Assistant Coach: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become an assistant coach. Learn about education requirements, key skills, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Assistant Coach?

Assistant coaches work in many different sports, from football to track. They also work at many different levels, including high school, college and professional levels. They help head coaches manage and train players. Depending on the sport, assistant coaches may specialize in a particular area of the sport, such as defense, offense or special teams in the case of football. They assist head coaches in running practices and preparing players for their next opponent by watching playbacks of previous games. They may also help recruit new players.

Assistant coaches take on some of the administrative duties for the head coach, like recording statistics during games. They need to communicate well with the head coach, players, parents and other involved parties. To learn more about becoming an assistant coach, read the chart below.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Physical education, sports science or related field
Key Skills Sports instruction, leadership, ability to motivate athletes; in-depth knowledge of specific sport or sports
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for coaches and scouts)
Average Salary (2015)* $40,050 (for coaches and scouts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of an Assistant Coach?

As an assistant coach, your main duty will be to assist the head coach with whatever he or she assigns you to do. You back up the head coach during practice and games, helping with guiding, teaching and leading players. Most assistant coaches learn the skills and develop the knowledge needed to move onto a career as a head coach.

During practice, you may instruct players, teach fundamental skills, oversee drills and work with individual players to refine their skills. You help coach and manage players during games. You may be in charge of preparing equipment and making sure it's ready for the next game. Along with the head coach and other coaches, you'll be responsible for helping players learn about teamwork, sportsmanship and competition. Assistant coaching duties may also include gathering information on future opponents and scouting new players.

What Training Do I Need?

Typically, a bachelor's degree in physical education, sports science or a related area of sports, health or fitness is required. More important than education, however, is a need for experience and knowledge about the sport you intend to coach. You need experience in playing the sport, and you'll often have to have some general coaching experience or other training in the sport. You need to know how the sport is played, the rules, regulations, fundamentals and strategies used.

There may be other requirements, depending on which level you coach. Certification may be required in public high schools and some colleges. Certification requirements may be required for certain sports only. You may be required to meet a minimum age, hold certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and pass a background check.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2015, coaches earned an average salary of $40,050 (www.bls.gov). Those between the 10th and 25th percentiles earned $17,930-$20,140. Those between the 75th and 90th percentiles earned $48,590-$70,050. Elementary and secondary school coaches earned an annual mean wage of $34,800. Coaches at colleges, universities and professional schools earned a mean annual wage of $55,210.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some assistant coaches may also be middle school or high school teachers. These related careers also require a bachelor's degree. Middle school teachers teach students typically in the 6th to 8th grades in a variety of subjects meant to prepare them for high school. High school teachers prepare students in the 9th to 12th grades for life after graduation, whether that is preparing for college-level education or looking for a job. An athletic trainer is also a similar position that requires a bachelor's degree. These professionals work with athletes to help prevent sports-related injuries. However, they are also capable of diagnosing and treating injuries should they occur.

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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