How Do I Become a Tennis Instructor?

Research what it takes to become a tennis instructor. Learn about the education and experience you may need, certification requirements and salary information 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 a Tennis Instructor?

Tennis instructors show others how to better their tennis game. They may work as coaches for beginners, recreational players, high school students, college players or even professional athletes. They may provide individual or group lessons, or they may be coaches for high school or college teams. When instructing beginners, they typically provide instruction on basic techniques and the rules of the game. When working with experienced players, they may offer higher level training advice about game strategy and maintaining physical fitness. The table below provides information for this profession:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree (recommended)
Training Required Active tennis playing experience
Education Field of Study Exercise and sports science, nutrition and fitness or physical education
Certification United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) or Professional Tennis Registry (PTR)
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11%* (for coaches & scouts)
Median Salary (2018) $33,780* (for coaches & scouts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Become a Tennis Instructor?

If you're interested in teaching tennis to high school or college students, you may need to obtain a bachelor's degree, according to March 2011 job postings on Monster.com and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (www.itatennis.com). Although most employers don't specify a particular area that your degree should be in, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) states that most coaches and instructors have bachelor's degrees in exercise and sports science, nutrition and fitness or physical education (www.bls.gov). Many of these programs may incorporate internships into the curriculum, where you'd be placed in sports environments to gain hands-on knowledge.

What About Experience?

The BLS claims that most coaches and instructors get their training by playing the sport for several years. Commonly, tennis instructors have played tennis for many years, oftentimes at the competitive level. March 2011 job postings on Monster.com state that many employers are seeking candidates who have 2-5 years of experience either playing competitively or instructing others. If you do not have professional experience playing tennis, you may be able to work as an assistant to another professional tennis instructor.

Do I Need Certification?

According to the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), many tennis jobs look for applicants who have certification (www.uspta.com). If you want to be a tennis instructor, you can seek out certification from the USPTA or the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). You can possess certification from both organizations. In addition to obtaining certification, these organizations provide benefits such as continuing education opportunities and education workshops.

The USPTA offers three levels of certification ranging from Professional 1-3, with Professional 1 being the most advanced, and Professional 3 being the least advanced. All certification levels require you to be at least 18 years of age, have specific levels of experience and pass certain certification exams. The PTR also has three levels of certification including Junior Development, Adult Development and Performance. All three certifications have a 5-part certification test, and each area can provide you with the coaching principles, planning and teaching aspects you may need to be more marketable.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a job related to tennis, you could also consider becoming a tennis official, such as a referee, chair umpire, rover or line umpire. Although a high school diploma is usually the only educational requirement for one of these jobs, you need to have extensive knowledge of the rules of tennis. Alternatively, you might also be interested in a job as a general fitness instructor. These professionals often work at health clubs and recreation centers, where they instruct individuals or groups on general exercise activities, like aerobics or weightlifting. They may also offer advice on healthy lifestyle choices, like weight loss and nutrition. For this job, you would need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

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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