How to Become a Sports Coach

Sports Coach Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $50,630
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 11%

Sports Coaches train and advise athletes who play in many different levels of their respective sports.

A Sports Coach is responsible for training and instructing athletes preparing them for scheduled games and matches.

Sports Coaches can work with athletes whose experience ranges from amateur, high school, college or a professional status.

Sports Coaches must be fully knowledgeable regarding the structure and rules of the sport they coach for.

The majority of Sports Coaches have experience playing the sport they train and coach athletes in.

They will need to teach athletes the rules and regulations of their game and suggesting sports techniques that will help them win.

Sports Coaches can specialize in a variety of sports including: basketball, baseball, tennis, football or soccer.

Sports Coaches who work for a public school systems typically coach part time and are actually hired within the school system as a teacher.

Sports Coaches at the professional or college level will require more training and experience in order to coach athletes at these levels; candidates will also experience competition in order to work at these levels.

Read the information below if you love sports and are interested joining this field as a Sports Coach.

Described below is basic information regarding this profession including education requirements, a general job description and salary and wage data.

Education Requirements to Become a Sports Coach

There aren’t any specific requirements in order to become a Sports Coach or Instructor.

However, the majority of Sport Coaches working at a secondary school or higher have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.

The most important component a candidate must work on in order to become a Sports Coach is thorough knowledge of the sport they are coaching.

A qualified Sports Coach will have understanding of the sport’s rules and regulations, how the sport is practiced and played, as well as strategies they can teach their students to make them better players.

Sports Coaches typically practiced the sport themselves at an earlier point in their lives.

In the majority of states, Sports Coaches who want to work for a public high school, need to seek certification and licensure in order to provide guidance to athletes.

Certification is recommended for professionals wanting to work at the college level.

In addition, Sports Coaches within a public school district may need to register with the district and pass a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) exam.

Sports Coach Job Description

Sports Coaches working for a public school district typically work full time as a teacher within the school or district during the day.

These Sports coaches will work part time coaching students before or after school, weekends and vacations.

If the school is unable to contract a Sports Coach within the school, they will look for candidates elsewhere.

Sports Coaches are responsible for training and practicing before a game or match.

At the high school level, they will teach students the basics regarding the sport including rules and scoring basics.

They will expand from there and monitor students to suggest ways they can improve their athletic abilities.

All Sports Coaches are responsible for scheduling drills and training sessions.

These drills are important to refine athletes’ techniques, form and skills; in addition, coaches will train athletes to build their stamina.

Coaches will monitor their athletes’ skills and create plans to use those skills to help their team win games.

Sports Coach Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national median wage for Sports Coaches in 2008 was approximately $28,340 per year.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $15,500 to $62,000.

However, a Sports Coach working at a professional level will make a lot more than and earn the highest wages.

Coaches at the elementary or secondary level will earn a lot less than other coaches; the median wage for these coaches is approximately $22,390 per year.

Other factors that affect exact earnings include geographic location, certification and educational level.

Employment opportunities for those who want to become a Sports Coach look promising as there is an expected growth of 23 percent through the year 2018.

Most of this growth is attributed to population growth and the public’s growing interest in competitive sports.

This population growth will also result in the expansion of collegiate and school athletic sports programs.

Candidates who are certified by their state will have better opportunities.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
New Hampshire$53,550
New York- NA -
North Carolina$36,820
North Dakota$41,370
South Dakota$31,500
West Virginia$34,300

The top earning state in the field is Florida, where the average salary is $77,030.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Florida - $77,030
Wisconsin - $55,220
Maryland - $54,790
New Hampshire - $53,550
Massachusetts - $53,230
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials, OCC Code 27-2023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a sports coach do?

A sports coach is a professional who works with adult clients or students in order to help them perform at their peak in professional or recreational sports.

Sports coaches can be working with whole teams (or groups of people) or on an individual basis.

The employers of sports coaches include schools, universities, and colleges; amateur, professional, and semi-professional sports clubs; sports development organizations; fitness centers and gyms; local authorities, and so on.

The typical responsibilities of a sports coach usually include providing expert training for athletes; assisting their skills development; ensuring peak performance is achieved during crucial times (tournaments, trials, competitions…); identifying talented athletes; being an expert in a certain sport; preparing the athletes mentally for the competition, etc.

How much do sports coaches make?

On average, a sports coach can make a little less than $44.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $24.000 and $73.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the client, the location, the sport, and so on.

Sports coaches that work in Massachusetts, Texas, and New York, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level sports coach can earn around $10.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $39.00 and more per hour.

How much does it cost to become a sports coach?

There are no specific educational requirements for sports coaches.

You can choose to complete a degree in sport management, sport development, sports coaching, human movement, or a related field.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

Bear in mind that each sport has a different qualification framework that is managed by the national governing body and/or state.

There are plenty of certification courses available both online and offline; you can find a sports coaching certification program for $150, for example.

What is the demand for sports coaches?

Between 2018 and 2028, the sports coach job market is expected to grow by 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is a lot faster than the national average for all occupations in the United States.

The demand will mainly be boosted thanks to the increasing participation in high school and college sports.

How long does it take to become a sports coach?

In case you decide to go for a bachelor’s degree, it will take you 4 years to obtain one.

There are plenty of online courses that will prepare you for your future career; those usually last for 6-16 weeks (in most cases, you can complete the course at your own pace).

If you have a background in a specific sport, your chances of getting employed will increase.

You may also become a coach through a traineeship.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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