Sports Coaching Degree and Certificate Programs

Sports coaches train, advise and oversee various athletic teams. See what degree and certificate programs are available to prepare you for a career in this field and learn about required courses and certifications. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Do I Need to Be a Sports Coach?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), no certain degree is established as the standard needed to coach; however, bachelor's and master's degree and certificate programs are available in sports coaching. These curricula prepare you for coaching high school and professional sports teams; however, to become a professional sports coach, you usually need years of experience coaching high school and college teams and/or experience playing in the specified sport (

Degree Options Bachelor's, master's and certificate
Certificate Program Topics Theories, philosophies and safety practices of team sports, coaching strategies, health sciences related to team sports
Degree Program Topics Psychology and theory of sports, sports medicine, nutrition and wellness, conditioning and kinesiology, injury prevention and risk management
Certification CPR and teaching certification in physical education (requirements vary by school and state)

What Will Certificate Programs Do for Me?

Sports coaching certificates are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. You may seek an undergraduate certificate program from a community college to learn the basic skills needed to coach sports teams. These skills may be taught in degree programs; this option could work for you if you teach another subject and want to begin coaching.

Graduate certificates in sports education and coaching are available to those who've completed an undergraduate degree in another field and would like to build coaching skills. These programs can be found online. Some colleges allow graduate certificate credits to be transferred into a master's degree program. You'll learn the theories, philosophies and safety practices of team sports, as well as studying coaching strategies and health sciences.

What Will I Study in Degree Programs?

Bachelor's degree programs introduce you to the field of sports coaching. Coaches act as instructors and motivators for athletes, and they should understand the psychology and theories of sports. You may study the fundamentals of one or multiple sports. You'll study the basics of sports medicine so you can work with injured players. You'll also learn about nutrition, wellness, conditioning and kinesiology (the study of the anatomy in motion). You need to understand assessment methods to measure athlete performance.

In a master's degree program, you'll learn about advancing your sports team through athlete recruitment, the science of training, injury prevention and risk management. You'll learn marketing skills to promote your sports team. Some of these courses include community involvement, fundraisers and promotions. You'll also study coaching ethics and the use of technology in coaching.

Will I Need to Be Certified?

The BLS recommends coaches have certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The American Red Cross offers courses in first aid and CPR ( These courses may also meet continuing education requirements.

While coaching programs don't alone lead to teaching certification or licensure, many public schools require coaches to be full-time teachers in an additional subject ( To meet this qualification, you can consider state teaching licensure and a voluntary national certification. The National Association of State Boards of Education offers a 10-year certification in physical education. The board tests knowledge in physical development, motor learning, planning and safety skills (

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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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.

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