Becoming a Football Coach: Education Requirements & Career Path

Find out about the career requirements needed to become a football coach. Read on about education and licensing requirements, as well as the salary and potential job growth, in order to see if this is the right field for you. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Football coaches are responsible for the overall development and performance of their football team and its individual players. This career path requires technical and professional skills, in addition to a great passion for the game. Check out the following table for more details.

Degree Required Bachelor's Degree
Education Field of Study Exercise and Sports Science, Physiology, Kinesiology, Nutrition and Fitness, Physical Education or Sports Medicine
Key Skills Communication Skills, Dedication, Resourcefulness, Deductive Reasoning, Decision-Making Skills, and Interpersonal Skills.
Licensure or Certification Requirements Vary
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (for all Coaches and Scouts)*
Median Annual Salary (May 2017) $32,270 (for all Coaches and Scouts)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does a Football Coach Do?

A football coach is responsible for teaching and refining the skills needed by amateurs and professional football players to succeed in their sports careers. Some common duties of a football coach involve organizing practice sessions, planning physical conditioning programs to improve players' overall performance, choosing team members for each game, planning game strategies, and providing direction and encouragement to players on a constant basis. Since football is a team game, these coaches are also in charge of promoting teamwork and good sportsmanship.

Football coaches have no fixed working hours. Their hours depend on upcoming tournaments and games which might even include weekends, evenings and holidays. They might also be required to travel occasionally.

What Should I Study?

Obtaining a bachelor's degree is a typical but not mandatory requirement to start your career in football coaching. Typically, football coaches can study any subject for their bachelor's degree, but studying sports science and related subjects is highly recommended, especially to become a college or professional coach. In any case, extensive knowledge of football is a prerequisite. This type of knowledge is usually acquired by being a (former) player of the game itself or through coaching experience. Coaching high school teams is the most common way to gain experience. However, individuals also volunteer as assistant coaches and team managers to gain such experience.

Do I Need to be Licensed or Certified?

Practicing as a public high school coach usually requires state licensing with completion of compulsory education courses. CPR training and a coaching course for beginners might be required, but may vary from state to state. While collegiate and professional coaches do not require a coaching license, holding valid coaching certifications is highly valued and in many cases required. The certification requirements also vary depending on the collegiate/professional coaching position.

How much might I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage (May 2017) for coaches and scouts working in college, university, and professional schools was $44,340. For those working in elementary and secondary schools, the pay was $26,880 during that same year. The top 10% of the industry earned $75,400 and above, while the bottom 10% earned $18,670 and below.

What are the Job Prospects?

The demand for coaches is expected to increase in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an expected 13% growth projected during 2016-26 (for all coaches and scouts) which is accredited to rising student participation in sports in high school and university. Nevertheless, there is high competition, especially for high paying jobs at the professional and college level. In order to improve your chances, you must hold substantial years of football coaching experience along with valid certifications. Extensive knowledge combined with an individual's successful football career can substitute for some years of coaching experience and is not only considered a huge plus, but is the reason behind successful careers of many professional and college coaches.

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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