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Arkansas State University

Coaches: Do Something for Your Own Career

Regardless of the sport, the coaching profession is a highly competitive field, and there aren’t many opportunities to stand out from the crowd beyond being part of a championship program or one with a winning record.

Enhancing your academic profile by earning a master’s degree, however, is another way in which you can get a leg up on the competition. Arkansas State University’s Online Master of Science in Sport Administration is designed to be flexible for busy working professionals who are already pursuing a career in the sports industry.

An Expanding Profession

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the athletic coaching profession is expected to expand by more than 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. The BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook also reports that the median pay for coaches is $31,460 per year, and the typical entry-level education for coaches entering the field is a bachelor’s degree.

Of course, those numbers vary depending on the sport, but the bottom line is, there will be plenty of opportunities in the years to come, driven in part by the building of new high schools — not to mention the continued addition of athletic programs at colleges that haven’t traditionally participated in athletics or specific sports. For example, consider these numbers provided in a 2017 report by the National Football Foundation:

  • 63 schools have added a football program between 2008 and 2017.
  • Eight more schools will begin sponsoring football in 2018-2019.
  • The number of schools playing NCAA football increased from 484 in 1978 to 668 in 2016.
  • Counting NAIA and independent schools, the number of colleges offering football programs increased to an all-time high of 777 in 2017.

Additional Growth in Professional Leagues

It’s not just high schools and colleges that are adding coaching positions. Major League Soccer is set to add two expansion teams by the end of 2017 according to a story on The league currently has 22 teams, but is in the process of expanding to 28 over the next few seasons.

Professional soccer is also a growing sport for women as the National Women’s Soccer League just completed its fifth season, and is looking to expand from 10 teams to 14 by the year 2020 according to a story by Harper Hayes in The Occidental Weekly.

Women’s professional sports, in fact, hold a lot of potential for growth in the coaching profession. Kevin Spain’s recent article in USA Today highlighted the resurgence of the WNBA with attendance up for the second year in a row. The article also noted an 18 percent increase in merchandise sales, and with only 12 teams, the league’s recent success has fueled speculation that expansion could be on the horizon.

The BLS report referenced above indicates that a bachelor’s degree is still the standard degree held by individuals entering the coaching profession. If your goal is to be a head coach in the college or professional ranks, however, then it’s more likely that you’ll need a master’s degree at some point. Earning your Master of Science in Sport Administration online from Arkansas State University can help separate you from the crowd and ensure that you are prepared for any future opportunities that come your way.

Learn more about the A-State online Master of Science in Sport Administration program.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Coaches and Scouts

National Football Foundation: All-Time High 777 Colleges and Universities Now Offering Football

Major League Soccer: Four Finalist Cities Named for Next Two MLS Expansion Teams

USA Today: WNBA Enjoys Largest Average Attendance Since 2011

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