Athletic Coaching Degree Program and Career Facts

Get information about the undergraduate and graduate degree program options that can prepare you for a career in coaching. Learn what courses are involved, and find out about state licensing requirements. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can find degree programs in athletic coaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the level of education you'll need to work as an athletic coach depends on several factors, including the sport or activity you coach, the setting in which you work and state licensing requirements.

Degrees Bachelor of Science in Athletic Coaching Education, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education; Master of Science in Coaching and Sport Education, Master of Arts in Coaching, Master of Athletic Training
Courses Movement analysis, sports administration, sports safety, coaching education administration, sports officiating, strength and conditioning coaching techniques, group dynamics, advanced sports instruction, fitness field testing
Career Outlook* Faster than average job growth of 13% is projected for coaches and scouts from 2016 to 2026

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Undergraduate Degree Should I Earn to Be an Athletic Coach?

You'll typically need to earn a bachelor's degree to coach in a public secondary school or in a college. You might have opportunities to coach school sports teams if you've been trained or licensed as an elementary or high school teacher, though some schools seek athletic coaches from outside the pool of teachers. Undergraduate majors in exercise and sport science, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, physiology or sports medicine offer education and training to prepare you for the tasks and issues you'll encounter in a coaching career. For example, you might pursue a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Coaching Education or Physical Education.

How About A Master's Degree?

If you choose to pursue a master's degree, you can find programs specifically for athletic coaching as well as athletic administration, human performance and physical education. Some master's degree programs offer a combination of online and classroom-based courses, requiring some on-campus, hands-on training and on-site internship participation. You might be able to find a Master of Science in Coaching and Sport Education or a Master of Arts in Coaching for your degree program, among other options.

What Courses Will I Take in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

If you're interested in coaching athletics, you've probably been playing at least one sport for several years. Your physical skills and knowledge of sports techniques and strategies will be valuable to you in a bachelor's degree program, and you'll take courses that reinforce sports methodologies and play execution. Some programs include social sciences courses, as well as education courses. You'll also be exploring some of these topics:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Sports medicine
  • Strength conditioning
  • Psychology
  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional methods

What Courses Will I Take in a Master's Degree Program?

If you aspire to be an athletic administrator or demonstrate your leadership abilities as an athletics coach, you might consider earning a master's degree. When choosing a degree, you may want to study a particular area of focus or a specialization. Some of the subjects you could cover include:

  • Atheltic finance
  • Coaching methods
  • Coaching psychology
  • Sports law

What Can I Expect in an Athletic Coaching Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll likely be required to have a bachelor's degree at minimum for employment as an athletic coach. Some previous knowledge of sports will also be helpful to get started in your career, as well as leadership, communication, decision-making and interpersonal skills. Coaches must also be resourceful in order to devise strategies to help their teams win games. They must be dedicated to the job, since the practice schedule may be rigorous, and they'll need to persevere through losses. Coaches and scouts can expect 13% job growth from 2016-2016, per the BLS. As of May 2017, the annual median wage for these professionals was $32,270.

What Licensing or Certification Will I Need?

If you intend to teach in a public school along with performing coaching duties, you'll need to meet the licensing or certification requirements of the state in which you plan to work. In some places, working as an instructor in certain athletic activities, such as scuba diving, requires you to earn relevant certification through an authorized credentialing organization or agency. Some schools encourage you to become certified as an instructor in other sports, such as golf, tennis and the martial arts, though specific requirements vary by employer.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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