What Are the Qualifications Needed to Become an Athletic Director?

Athletic directors oversee sports and physical education programs at schools. Read on to learn about some of the educational and skills requirements for a job at the high school or collegiate level. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

An athletic director is an administrator who works in a high school, college, or university. As an athletic director, some of your job duties may be to raise funds and budget for intercollegiate and intramural athletic activities. You may also be responsible for recruiting, managing publicity, and supervising coaches.

Important Facts about this Career

Median Pay (2019)$60,137 (Athletic Directors)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (for all Postsecondary Education Administrators)**
Degree FieldsSports Administration, Education, Business
Work EnvironmentStress may come around game time, wins and losses
Similar OccupationsHead Coach, Athletic Trainer, College Athletics Administrator, Athlete

Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Educational Qualifications

To work as an athletic director in a high school, you may need a bachelor's degree. Schools may also require you to have a teaching certificate and two to three years of coaching experience.

Some colleges and universities may hire athletic directors who hold a bachelor's degree, as long as they have relevant experience in athletic administration. However, most schools will require you to have a master's degree and anywhere from three to five years of coaching or administrative experience.

Skills Requirements

At the high school level, you'll need good organization skills in order to develop game schedules for an entire season or coordinate transportation to away games. Athletic directors also need to have good communication, leadership, and people skills to drum up financial support from their communities.

Leadership and people skills are also helpful at the collegiate level. You may need to oversee intramural and community sporting events geared towards attracting prospective student athletes. If you're applying for a job at a school whose athletic programs are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or any other governing body, you'll need to be aware of rules and regulations regarding fundraising, recruiting and athlete eligibility. You may also need computer skills to keep track of players' medical histories and academic records. Business experience is also a plus.

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