Aspiring and experienced sports coaches can get relevant education through online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. At the undergraduate level, students can enroll in fully online bachelor's degree programs. Graduate students can pursue master's degrees in the field, though some online programs may require a short on-campus residency; advanced certificate programs are also available.
Bachelor's Degree in Sports Coaching
Undergraduates can earn an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Sports and Health Sciences with a focus in coaching. Professional Bachelor of Sports Science (BSS) programs are also available though distance learning, and some of these programs have concentration options in areas like sports coaching or sports strength and conditioning. Students may also choose to focus their studies on a specific sport, such as football, baseball or basketball, by taking a series of courses that cover the coaching of that sport. Core courses within the sports coaching concentration may include:
- Sports psychology
- Sports coaching methodology
- Foundations of amateur and professional sports
- Sports medicine
Master's Degree in Sports Coaching
At the graduate level, students can earn an online Master of Science (MS) in Sport Coaching Education, MS in Sport Coaching Leadership or Master of Education (MEd) in Coaching Education and Athlete Development. Specialization options include specific sports, such as rowing or lacrosse, and some programs also allow students to design their own concentrations. In addition, students may be able to choose between thesis or non-thesis formats. While some programs can be completed entirely online, others require a short residency. Many programs are designed for working professionals, allowing students to study their own pace, and they can be completed within two years of part-time study. Master's degree programs provide coursework in a variety of advanced coaching related-subjects, including:
- Injury prevention
- Physical conditioning
- Sports performance and energy systems
- Teaching and communication
- Sport skills and tactics
- Recruiting strategies
- NCAA compliance
- Budget management
Coaching Certificate Programs
Another graduate-level option is an online sports coaching certificate. Most students in these programs are already working coaches who wish to upgrade their skills and knowledge. Certificate programs in coaching usually consist of only a few courses (12-15 credit hours) and can be completed in about 12 months. In addition to general coaching certificate programs, there are also programs available that tailor the curriculum to a specific sport of the student's choosing. In order to enroll in a graduate certificate program, students must hold at least a bachelor's degree. Possible course topics include:
- Coaching theory
- Recruitment principles
- Motor skills
Online Study Information and Requirements
In online programs, students generally communicate with instructors and other students via online platforms, such as message boards and email. Participants must have access to a computer with high-speed Internet. It is also helpful if the computer has an updated web browser and operating system. Students may need to have access to Windows Media Player, Adobe Reader and Microsoft PowerPoint to view course materials.
Graduates of these programs can find jobs as coaches at the youth, high school, club, collegiate and post-collegiate levels. They may also work as scouts, health consultants, personal trainers or fitness center directors. Some graduates even pursue professional athletic careers of their own.
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 224,110 sport coaches and scouts nationwide in 2015, and employment is expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024. The average annual salary of a college, university or professional school coach in May of 2015 was $55,210.
Continuing Education Information
For those who wish to enter into the business side of sports, there are master's degree programs in sports management and administration available online. Graduates of these degree programs can find careers as a team manager, sports agent, corporate sports consultant or fitness center administrator.
Online sports coaching degrees and certificate programs are widely available. These programs focus on coaching strategies, sports performance and leadership.