Master's Degrees for Aspiring Athletic Directors

A master's degree program in athletic administration can focus your passion for sports into a career helping school-age kids achieve the best athletic experience by hiring suitable coaches and securing funding for sports programs. Read on to learn more about this graduate degree program. See what you'll learn, explore online programs and discover voluntary certification options, too. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Master's Degree Programs Are Available for Athletic Directors?

A Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in athletic administration can be found at numerous colleges and universities. Some master's degree programs may be available in conjunction with coaching courses. A master's degree program is a viable option if you're currently involved as a youth coach, manager or trainer and want to advance your career.

Most schools state that you must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrolling in a master's degree program in athletic administration. Many programs will also set minimum grade point average requirements. Typically, these programs take two years to complete, and you may need to compile a portfolio or capstone project before you can graduate. You may also be required to complete an internship at a sports-related business or school, where you can obtain first-hand experience with the work.

Master's Degrees Master of Arts and Master of Science programs available, some in conjunction with coaching courses
Prerequisites Admission requirements include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, GPA above minimum required
2-year courses most common, some include an internship
Common Courses Sports marketing, risk management, sports finance, industry-specific human resource management, public relations
Online Options Course content provided via online platforms
Access to a computer, internet and word processing software required
Some online programs involve workshops on campus
Voluntary Certification Voluntary certification at several levels available through National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA)

What Topics Will I Study?

The bulk of the courses of an athletic administration master's degree program focus on sports marketing, risk management and sports finance. You'll learn to adhere to policy development and human resource management within interscholastic sports. Courses may also cover public relations, ethics and legal issues in sports recreation. Examples of athletic administration courses may include the following:

  • Facility management
  • Legal foundations
  • Sports medicine
  • Kinesiology

Are Online Options Offered?

You may be able to find online athletic administration programs that utilize online discussion groups, blogs, chats and boards for you to discuss coursework and to network with others. All you'd need is access to a computer with an Internet connection and word processing applications. Despite the fact that it's an online program, you may need to attend the campus for a few days to participate in a leadership workshop.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

You don't need to be certified to become an athletic director or administrator, but the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) does offer several levels of certification. These include the Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA), the Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) and the Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA). The RAA and CAA credentials require you to hold at least a bachelor's degree, and the CAA requires two years of work experience. To earn the CMAA credential, you'll need to hold prior CAA certification and complete graduate level leadership training courses (LTCs).

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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