Sports make up a large segment of the entertainment industry in the United States. Because professional level sports have become big business, interest in sports on all levels has increased significantly. This has opened the door to athletic coaching positions from the elementary level all the way up to professional teams.
The athletic coaching industry is projected to rise through the year 2012, as public interest in sports remains high. In addition to professional coaching, there will continue to be a need for coaches on primary, middle and high school levels. Sports professionals will also be hired for positions in recreational sports as both instructors and coaches.
Coaching athletics is a broad job description that might include a number of duties required to manage a team. Jobs are both hands-on and administrative in nature, so an athletics coach must cover a broad spectrum of experience and abilities.
The athletics coach is responsible for the success of the team as well as the well-being of each athlete involved. When working with children and teens in a school setting, athletic coaches may also teach.
The type of degree required for athletics coaching will differ greatly, depending on the level of athletics considered. Because many coaches are also teachers in middle and high schools, a four-year degree related to the teaching specialty and a teaching certification is often required.
If a coach is needed part-time from outside the school staff, some schools will hire individuals with experience in that particular sport. However, most prefer a four-year degree in a related field, such as sports science, kinesiology, physical education or sports medicine. The individual must also meet the requirements to become certified as a coach if working in a public school setting.
Coaching a successful sports team requires expertise in a number of areas. Athletic coaching encompasses teaching, mentoring and managing all aspects of the team and sport. An athletic coach should possess good leadership and people skills, in addition to the educational requirements.
Job duties of an athletic coach include:
To succeed and advance in the coaching field, athletic coaches must log many years of experience and winning seasons to prove their abilities. Professional sports is an industry in constant flux, meaning jobs are unstable and results are watched closely. Individuals interested in this career must be prepared for irregular hours, flexibility in dealing with team members and the stress of a results-driven job.
According to statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average annual salary for a secondary school coach is around $22,000. This amount will vary widely based on the school, location and emphasis placed on sports by the administration. The average annual salary for a college-level athletics coach is around $37,500. However, many college coaches make much more than that.