What Are the Qualifications Needed to Become an Athletic Director?

Athletic directors oversee sports and physical education programs at schools. Read on to learn how to become an athletic director at a high school or collegiate level, and the skills and educational requirements involved. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Become an Athletic Director

To become an athletic director one will generally need an undergraduate degree, with the recommended option of pursuing a master's degree. Experience in athletics, coaching, and management are also important for pursuing this profession.

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

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

Athletic Director Job Description

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. Day-to-day tasks usually include helping students and athletes, speaking with coaches, and occasionally, liaising with media personnel. You'll also oversee budgeting, hiring, training, ordering, and organizing schedules.

At colleges, 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.

Athletic Director Requirements

Athletic directors typically require a bachelor's degree to pursue employment. Common areas of study include business administration, management, and sports administration. However, some professionals have found employment through unexpected or unrelated undergraduate degrees, such as journalism or engineering. Individuals are also recommended to pursue an additional master's degree, specifically in a sports-related field such as sports management or sports medicine.

Previous experience as a coach or athlete provides the individual with personal insight into how such programs are run. Coaches, in particular, will likely be knowledgeable on the business operations involved, and can pursue promotion into an athletic director's role. Previous business leadership roles will have likely equipped an individual with skills in marketing, communication strategies, and management - all beneficial to the role of an athletic director. Working your way from an entry-level administration role can also offer valuable insights into the program, along with the organization and the varying levels involved.

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