High School Coach: Salary & Requirements

What does it take to become a high school coach? Here you'll find everything you need to know, from educational requirements and career paths to salaries and job outlook. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

High school coaches are often certified teachers who are responsible for fielding teams of student-athletes within their school to compete against other schools in the area. Coaches teach fundamental skills in the sport, provide strategic instruction and help young people understand the value of teamwork. The table below offers more details on the profession.

Typical Degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Education, physiology, sports science, physical education
Experience Required Experience playing or coaching on some level
Key Skills Leadership, public speaking, motivational skills
Job Growth (2016-2026) 13% (for all coaches and scouts)*
Median Salary (2017) $26,880 (coaches and scouts at elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private)*

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

What Job Duties Do High School Coaches Have?

High school coaches are charged with creating a team that will represent the school in competitions against other schools. He or she will typically hold tryouts and choose players based on their talents and teachability. Once the team is selected, the coach will oversee their physical fitness, teach fundamental theories of the sport and conduct practices to improve the players' skills and teamwork. Coaches make adjustments to the strategy during games or matches and help motivate the students to do their best. In this sense, coaches are more than just team leaders; they inspire and instill values that will serve the players for the rest of their lives.

What's the Salary for High School Coaches?

The BLS lists $26,680 per year as the median salary for high school coaches in 2017. The Bureau also reports that the median salary for high school teachers in 2017 was $59,170. On the high school level, coaches are often teachers as well, so we can extrapolate a ballpark figure using these data. Keep in mind that the salary could vary by sport -- football is a big business for some schools. Tennis may not be, and sometimes salaries reflect this.

How Do You Become a High School Coach?

While there isn't a degree requirement for high school coaching per se, some hold a bachelor's degree in a related field such as physiology, physical education or sports science. Or, if the school uses current teachers to fill coaching positions, the coach would have a degree in whatever subject matter he or she teaches. Of course, having a passion for and understanding of the game is a prerequisite, and experience playing or coaching that sport could certainly be an advantage.

What About Certifications?

A state teaching certification may be required for the job if the coach is also teaching at the school. Other than that, certification is voluntary. The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) offers voluntary certification for high school coaches who want support, educational programs and resources.

What's the Job Outlook for High School Coaching?

Again, since high school coaching and high school coaching often overlap, we can report data from the BLS for both professions to provide a clearer picture. According to the BLS, employment in the coaching field (all coaches and scouts) is predicted to rise by 13% between 2016 and 2026. The BLS also points out that high school coaches are often teachers at those schools and may have the best prospects. For teachers, the growth number during the same time period stands at 8%. Both of these figures are above the national average for all professions (7%).

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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