Online Colleges for Coaching: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online coaching school. Continue reading to get an overview of the program options, internship factors, and common topics offered for the field of study.

Online programs in coaching are usually available at the graduate level, and students should think about the program level, online schedule and their career goals when making a decision. Here we learn more about these considerations, as well as explore a few of the degree and school options.

How to Select an Online Coaching School

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. 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

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 Coaching Education Options

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:

  • Introduction to research
  • Sports law
  • Coaching methods
  • Applied nutrition

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
  • Strength, speed and conditioning
  • Advanced sport technologies
  • Legal aspects of sport

Schools With Online Programs in Coaching

Ball State University offers a fully online master's program in athletic coaching education that can be completed in five semesters. Applicants do not need to take the GRE and class sizes range from 12 to 20 students. Some courses students may take include Sport Safety and Injury Prevention, Current Issues in Coaching Research and Teaching and Motivation for Coaches. An internship is required to graduate, but it can be completed in students' communities.

Ohio University has an online master's program in coaching education that can be completed in two years and does not require applicants to take the GRE. Some course titles include Finance for Sport Coaches, Psychology of Sports Coaching and Ethics and Diversity for Sport Coaches. Students do have to complete an on-campus seminar that lasts about four days.

Adams State University in Colorado offers an online Master of Arts in Coaching program that can also be completed in two years. Students do complete a practicum experience, as well as a couple courses in research. Other course titles include Sport Law, Methods of Coaching and Strength and Conditioning.

Students should consider the program level, course scheduling requirements and their personal career interests when choosing an online program in coaching. Students have several online options for graduate certificates or master's degrees in the field.

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