Students in these master's programs learn how to handle coaching responsibilities through core coursework in team administration. Since coaches must also manage player development and plan effective game strategies, courses in coaching techniques are also required. Field experiences are often part of the curriculum as well.
Graduate coaching programs require entrants to hold bachelor's degrees with minimum GPA standards and submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Most programs also require each applicant to submit up to three letters of recommendation and a resume listing professional experience or related work in the coaching field.
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Master's Degree in Coaching
Students may find themselves studying exercise science to learn how to improve athletic conditioning or studying sports psychology to learn how to effectively motivate their teams. Most programs also require students to gain hands-on experience through internships with high school or collegiate athletic departments.
Candidates spend large amounts of time conducting independent research for their master's theses. Topics are often derived from areas of interest touched upon in the following coursework:
- Research methods
- Organizational theory
- Sports administration
- Sports medicine
- Sport psychology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The median annual wage for coaches in May of 2015 was $31,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job opportunities are expected to increase by 6% during the 2014-2024 period in part because of an expected population increase that will create the need for more schools. While the majority of coaches were employed by elementary and secondary schools, the top paying jobs were at colleges and universities, the BLS reported.
Continuing Education Information
In many states, coaches have to meet certification requirements for educators before they can coach high school athletic teams, especially if coaches will be expected to teach high school courses. Teacher certification requirements often include the completion of teacher education courses, a student teaching internship and the completion of written examinations on subject matter and pedagogy.
Completing a master's degree in coaching allows students to gain expertise and training in managing an athletic team and can be particularly valuable for those aspiring to coach at the collegiate level, which is also where the salary outlook is greatest for the profession.