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Online Colleges for Coaching: How to Choose

Numerous colleges and universities offer distance learning coaching certificates and degrees at the graduate level. In addition to coaching experience, programs require that applicants have a bachelor's degree.

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List of Common Online Coaching Programs

Although programs are online, some have in-person requirements, in which students practice coaching. Students need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, and some courses may require computer programs that can view graphics, video clips, presentations and photos. Some programs may utilize Blackboard or other course management systems. Most programs allow students to utilize classroom-based discussion boards and chat rooms to communicate with others.


  • Program level
  • Online schedule
  • Career goals

Program Level

Students considering online colleges for coaching must consider the program level they wish to attain. Online coaching programs include post-baccalaureate certificates, which are the most common option, and master's degree programs in coaching.

Online Schedule

Programs generally follow the schools' academic calendar, allowing students to complete the coursework at their convenience. However, students may need to submit weekly assignments.

Career Goals

Students must determine their overall career goals before enrolling in a graduate certificate or degree program in coaching. Those who successfully complete an online graduate certificate program can strive for careers as a coach for amateur clubs, recreational leagues, interscholastic, youth leagues, collegiate teams, international teams or professional teams. Online master's degree programs are designed for those seeking careers as coaches or physical education teachers in public schools or colleges, or positions in athletic administration.

Online Graduate Certificate in Physical Education, Health Education and Coaching

An online graduate certificate focusing on coaching is aimed for coaches and educators who already have a bachelor's degree and desire further education in coaching. Generally offered through the school's continued education division, most programs do not require students to have any background in sports or physical education. Online coaching certificate courses cover the principles and problems found in coaching individual and team sports. Other topics include:

  • Scouting
  • Sports law
  • Techniques in coaching

Online Master of Arts in Coaching

Students seeking enrollment must have a baccalaureate degree, and most programs also require at least five years of coaching experience as an assistant coach or head coach. Some programs recommend that students participate in an internship within a particular sport or physical education department. A portfolio or research project, where students discuss coaching, sport education and athlete-centered philosophy, may be required. Typical courses cover:

  • Coaching skills and tactics
  • Sports safety
  • Motivation
  • Conditioning
  • Ethics
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