College Football Coaching Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Find out the types of jobs you could pursue in college football coaching. Read on to learn more about career options along with how much money you could make, what education you need and what job duties are common. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a College Football Coach?

College football coaches use organizational and coordination skills, as well as a love of sports, to develop individual players' as well as a team's athletic abilities. They often oversee and coordinate a team of assistant coaches who train various groups of players, such as quarterbacks, special teams and more. College football coaches help prepare their coaches and players for upcoming games by watching film to study their opponents, as well as their own team's strengths and weaknesses. They also are typically involved in recruiting the next incoming class of players. College football coaches call plays during games and monitor the performance of players. These professionals are also responsible for encouraging their players and boosting morale. Learn more about this competitive field from the following chart.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Sport science, physical education, kinesiology or sports
Key Responsibilities Instruct players, develop plays, organize practices, scout for new players, watch game films
Job Growth (2014-24) 4% for all college coaches and scouts*
Average Salary (May 2015) $55,210 for all college coaches and scouts*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Much Do College Football Coaches Earn?

While the average salary for all college coaches and scouts was $55,210 in 2015, football coaches in large football programs can earn considerably more. In 2016, USAToday reported head coaches' salaries for over 120 colleges and universities in the U.S. Its total annual income figures combined 'school pay' (guaranteed income including salary, payments from athletic apparel companies, personal and media appearances, etc.) and 'other pay' (pay that is related to athletics but not guaranteed). These total salaries ranged from $376,044 to $9,004,000 ( Many schools also awarded bonuses to coaches with successful seasons or professional recognition, according to the report. The study showed that schools with top-ranking teams generally pay higher salaries.

According to USAToday, assistant coaches and coordinators earned much less than the head coach: salaries for over 1,000 assistant coaches ranged from $32,000 to $1,588,000. If you're interested in this highly competitive career, your salary would depend on your experience, your winning record and the college where you work.

What Kind of Coaching Jobs Are Available?

As a head coach, you're generally responsible for all aspects of a college football team and your coaching staff. You instruct players, develop game plays, organize practices, scout for new players and watch films of other teams to prepare for games. You usually have administrative duties, such as ordering equipment and supplies and tracking your athletes' academic performance. As an assistant coach, you'd have many of the same duties as a head coach, though fewer responsibilities. You could be called in to take over for your head coach in cases of absence or termination.

You could specialize your expertise by choosing to become an offensive or defensive coordinator or coaching a specific position or group, such as the quarterback, the defensive line or special teams. Some of these jobs allow you to work one-on-one with athletes to develop their skills. Each coaching position requires you to have an understanding of the game, as well as the ability to mentor players and encourage sportsmanship.

What Education and Experience Do I Need?

Most colleges and universities allow football coaches to hold bachelor's degrees, although many schools require master's degrees. Some relevant undergraduate majors include exercise or sport science, physical education, kinesiology or sports medicine. You can also earn a master's degree in sport science, sports management or kinesiology. You might need to begin your coaching career at a high school, which could require that you receive bachelor's or post-baccalaureate teacher training and possibly a teaching license.

If you're new to coaching, you could begin as a volunteer coach for community organizations that offer local youth football programs. You might find some that positions require little or no coaching experience. Some colleges and organizations offer internship opportunities while you're still in college or after you complete a degree program. Many colleges hire coaches that are former players and have extensive experience coaching high school football, making exposure to the game on and off the field equally important.

What Certifications Are Available?

While there are no industry standards regarding certification, you should at least get certified in CPR, which can be a vital skill in the event of athletic injuries. You could also opt for voluntary certification through the American Football Coaches Association, which provides a professional development program that leads to a Certificate of Completion ( The program offers conferences and lectures covering a variety of topics relevant to coaches, such as leadership, substance abuse awareness and media relations.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Athletic trainers, dieticians and nutritionists and high school teachers are all related careers that require a bachelor's degree. Athletic trainers also work with athletes, but they focus on preventing and treating various sport-related injuries and illnesses. Dieticians and nutritionists may also work with athletes, but also work with anyone who is aiming to improve their health through food and nutrition. They educate their clients and help them learn about the foods their body needs. High school teachers may coach sports on the side, but their primary role is to educate kinds in the 9th to 12th grades on a range of subjects.

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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