Athletic Director: Job Description and Career Information

Oct 07, 2019

An athletic director's job description includes managing budgets, running fundraising campaigns and overseeing a school's athletic programs. Find out about athletic director duties, job requirements, and other career information.

Athletic Director Job Description

Athletic directors are usually considered a type of school administrator and most commonly work at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Their primary responsibility is to oversee a school's athletic programs. However, these professionals also perform a wide range of administrative duties. Below, we explore different aspects of a career as an athletic director, including job duties, salary information and more.

What Does an Athletic Director Do?

Athletic directors for a school help plan and manage the school's sporting events and sports teams. They are typically responsible for hiring coaches and other staff members involved in athletics. Other athletic director duties may include:

  • Managing athletic budgets
  • Ensuring the school's compliance with athletic rules and regulations
  • Planning fundraising campaigns
  • Building community and media relations
  • Purchasing athletic equipment
  • Reserving fields
  • Creating sporting event schedules
  • Maintaining athletic facilities

What is the Athletic Director Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth outlook for education administrators at the elementary and secondary school level is 4% for 2018 to 2028. The website also stated that the job outlook for postsecondary education administrators is 7% for the same time frame. At the postsecondary level, this job outlook is faster than the national average, which may be due in part to the growing number of college students.

How Much Do Athletic Directors Make?

PayScale.com reported that the average salary for an athletic director, as of September 2019, was $60,018. The website also stated that the bottom 10% of these professionals made around $36,000, while the top 10% made around $100,000. Salary for athletic directors is expected to increase with work experience, as those with 10 to 19 years of experience made an average salary of $71,693 and those with 20 years or more experience made an average of $80,018.

What Are the Athletic Director Job Requirements?

Athletic directors typically need at least a bachelor's degree. While some of these directors may have a background in other athletic-related areas, such as an athletic coaching degree or athletic trainer major, many athletic directors hold a degree in sport management, athletic administration, or a related field.

At the bachelor's level, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sport Management and many of these programs are available in an online format. Students in these programs typically participate in an internship experience and may take courses in areas like:

  • Sport business
  • Marketing
  • Managing sport facilities
  • Finance
  • Sports facility design

Advanced Qualifications for Athletic Directors

Many athletic directors may go on to earn their master's degree in sport management or another related field, as many postsecondary educator administrators are required to have a master's degree. Athletic directors may commonly pursue a Master of Science (MS) in Sport Management on-campus or online. These degree programs may require a final project, thesis, or capstone experience and may include coursework in areas such as:

  • Sports organization management
  • Economics of sport
  • Sport law
  • Research methods
  • Negotiation

Athletic directors may also pursue professional certification from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). This organization offers a variety of certifications that require at least a bachelor's degree. Athletic directors may start with an entry-level certification as a Registered Athletic Administrator from the organization and as they gain work experience and/or more education athletic directors can qualify for more advanced certifications, such as a Certified Athletic Administrator.

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