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 level. Although, 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 Exercise Science and Physical Education, Master of Arts or Master of Science in Human Performance and Physical Education, Master of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Administration
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 15% projected for coaches and scouts from 2012 to 2022

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Should I Earn to Be an Athletic Coach?

You'd 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 issues you'll encounter in a coaching career.

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.

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. You'll usually need to take health courses, such as anatomy, physiology, first aid and CPR, basic sports medicine and strength conditioning. Some programs include social sciences courses, such as psychology, as well as education courses that teach you physical education curriculum development and 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 a earning a master's degree. Some of the subjects you could study include athletic finance, coaching methods, coaching psychology and sports law.

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:

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