Students who enroll in an online Master’s in Coaching degree are generally passionate about coaching, sports science, and physical fitness. With many schools and organizations around the country seeking these individuals in droves, it makes sense that they would want to enhance their career with an online program. And while traditional programs are high-quality, so too are online programs, which are beginning to surpass their traditional counterparts in terms of affordability and program choice.
Online programs enable professionals to continue in their career with minimal interruption while pursuing an online degree in a field that they love. With asynchronous and synchronous courses available, a variety of term schedule formats, and the ability to choose between non-thesis and thesis options, it’s no wonder that students are flocking to online programs.
This ranking, which was inspired by the fact that coaching professionals are demanding affordable online programs, was created with the help of the National Center for Education Statistics. An initial pool of 50 schools was created by looking for online programs in the field. The final 10 schools were chosen based on in-state graduate tuition rate and are listed in descending order.
Ranking Low-cost Coaching Master’s
10. Greenville University
Online Master of Arts in Coaching
Greenville University confers a Master’s in Coaching online degree that is perfect for working professionals who have other commitments. This is a 100 percent online degree that is delivered asynchronously and in an eight-week term schedule. Students will find that the program was built to be as flexible as possible; the only courses that must be taken at certain times are the ones that begin and end the curriculum plan. Students who study full-time can complete this degree in as little as one year; part-time students most often complete the plan in two years. Students will be expected to take 33 credit hours of coursework, a research capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Advanced Sport Coaching Methodology, Trends and Issues in Education, and Equity in School and Society.
9. Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
Online Master of Arts in Coaching – Physical Education
Students at Indiana State University will be interested to learn that an online Master’s in Coaching is available at this school. This is a 100 percent online program that offers coaching professionals both the classroom knowledge and field experience they need in order to become exceptional leaders in the field. This curriculum is aligned with the guidelines of the National Standards for Sport Coaches. Students must have previous educational experience in the realm of coaching; those who do not meet this requirement must take non-credit prerequisite courses prior to entering the program. All courses are delivered asynchronously and are taken in the eight-week format, making it possible to complete this degree in as little as one year. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a final project of their choosing, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Women and Sport, Administration and Management for Coaches, and Motor Learning and Human Performance.
8. Georgia Southern University
Online Master of Science in Kinesiology, Coaching Education Emphasis
Georgia Southern University offers students a 100 percent coaching master’s online degree that will provide them with a curriculum that follows the National Coaching Standards for Level 5 Coaching Status. This degree is a cohort program that delivers its courses synchronously so that all students learn the same concepts at the same time and can collaborate on team projects. Most students complete this degree in one year with full-time study. This program is built to discuss the various aspects of becoming a coach as well as sports science. A practicum is required and is completed during the summer and in a student’s community. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Issues in Coaching, Injury Prevention and Research Methods for Coaches, and Teaching Analysis and Psychology of Peak Performance.
7. American Public University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Online Master of Science in Sports and Health Sciences, Exercise Science and Human Performance
Students at the American Public University are offered an online coaching master’s degree that helps prepare professionals for advanced concepts and theories that make up the field. This 100 percent online degree comes with three concentrations: Exercise Science and Human Performance, General, and Health and Wellness Management. This degree delivers its asynchronous and synchronous courses online in a ten-week term format and the requirements can be completed in as little as two years. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Current Topics in Exercise Science and Human Performance, Essentials of Human Performance and Exercise Science, and Optimal Sports Performance.
6. Pittsburg State University
Online Master of Science in Health, Human Performance and Recreation
The online Master’s in Coaching available at Pittsburg State University is the perfect degree for professionals already working in the field. This degree was created specifically for students who have a degree in Health, Human Performance and Recreation, or an allied field. Students who do not meet this requirement may be accepted on a conditional basis that will require prerequisite coursework prior to their entrance in the program. Courses are delivered asynchronously and in an eight-week term format; full-time students can complete all the requirements in about a year. There are two concentrations available in this degree: Human Performance and Wellness and Sport and Leisure Service Management. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, a final project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Social-Psychology of Sport and Recreation, Advanced Exercise Physiology, and Technology and Instrumentation in Human Performance.
5. Chicago State University
Online Master of Science in Education in Physical Education (Grades K-12)
Chicago State University offers a cheap coaching master’s degree that is accredited by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education. This is a 100 percent online degree that requires no residencies at any time. This program requires students to possess a teaching license in their state; note that this degree does not lead to licensure alone but stand-alone certificates may be used to meet the requirements in the state of Illinois. Courses are delivered both asynchronously and synchronously and with 16-week terms. Full-time students can complete the requirements within 18 months while part-time students can complete the degree in just over two years. Students can expect to complete 34 credit hours of coursework, a final project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Advanced Exercise Physiology, Sports Science and Performance, and Optimal Sports Performance.
4. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Online Master of Arts in Education, Physical Education
Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will enjoy an online Master’s in Coaching that will give working teachers the knowledge necessary to become effective coaches in K-12 schools. Students can choose between two tracks: Pedagogy and Special Population. Both concentrations focus on physical education in schools; therefore, a teaching license in good standing is required to enter into this graduate program. Practicums are required for this degree and are often completed in the summer term in a student’s community. All other courses are delivered asynchronously and in an eight-week format, making it great for working educators. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Curriculum Design in Physical Education, Physical Education for Students with Disabilities, and Analysis of Physical Education Teaching.
3. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Online Master of Arts in Education in Physical Education
Students at East Carolina University will be offered the chance to earn the Master of Arts in Education in Physical Education, a degree that was built for physical education teachers who are ready to advance their knowledge of the field. The curriculum focuses on leadership and trends in education, providing educators with new skills and theories that could be useful in the classroom. This degree requires that applicants hold a valid teaching license in their home state. Courses are taught asynchronously and in the traditional 16-week format. Students will find that practicums are required but can be completed in their community upon approval of the department. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, a research project or a portfolio, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Clinical Supervision in Physical Education, Curriculum and Instruction in Physical Education, and Advanced Measurement and Evaluation in Exercise and Sport Science.
2. Adams State University
Online Master of Arts in Coaching
Students can earn an online Master’s of Arts in Coaching from Adams State University that was designed for professionals who already hold a degree in sports science or an allied field. This is a 100 percent online cohort program and applications are accepted every two years, including 2018. Courses are delivered synchronously so that students can work together on team projects and are taught on a traditional academic schedule. A field research project is required for this degree and can be completed in a student’s community with the supervision of a preceptor. Students will also find that they must complete 20 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or final project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Social Aspects of Sport and Physical Education, Strategic Management and Leadership in Sports, and Sports Psychology.
1. Angelo State University
San Angelo, Texas
Online Master of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation and Fitness Administration
Angelo State University confers an online Master’s in Coaching that was created for professionals who are already working in the field or who wish to gain entry into the field. This 100 percent online degree has two concentrations: Coaching and Sports and Recreation and Fitness. Courses are delivered through the school’s virtual portal as both asynchronous and synchronous classes; term length ranges between eight to 16 weeks. Electives make up a large part of the curriculum, enabling students to tailor their program to their interests. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a final project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Administration of Athletic Academic Units, Prevention and Care of Athletic Injury, and Sports Publications and Graphic Design.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Coaching Degree?
The most common career option for a professional with a graduate degree in coaching is that of a coach. This can be in a variety of different sports and at all levels of that sport, including professional teams.
Because coaching can be a competitive industry in terms of employment, many professionals may be interested to learn that there are other options that are available to them. Keep in mind that many of these options may require additional schooling, certification, and in some cases, licensure. They include:
- Sports Manager
- Personal Trainer
- Sports Coach
- Sports Administration
- Sports Facility Manager
- Summer Camp Manager
- Athletic Counselor
- Sports Therapist
- Exercise Physiologist
- Fitness Center Manager
- Physical Education Teacher
- Physical Education Instructor in the Corrections System
Another career option is to head into doctoral studies. While this is uncommon, many professionals mover straight into doctoral studies right after finishing their degree, enabling them to move towards a terminal degree in the field.
Additionally, many coaching graduates move into freelance work, which can include sports broadcasting, writing, and consulting. The possibilities are endless and only requires a professional’s imagination to find a career that fits their needs.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
Professionals in the coaching field can make as little as $20,000 to $6 million a year. This drastic range reflects coaches at various levels of the field, current salaries, region, and work experience. It also accounts for head coaches in professional sports leagues, which is often the dream of those who enter the field.
Most professionals, however, can stand to make between $70,000 to $85,000 when coaching a major sport. This can be coaching at a college or university or a smaller professional sports team. These positions are quite competitive but also lucrative as salaries go up with the amount of games and championships a coach and their team wins during the season.
What are the Various Disciplines of Coaching?
Coaching is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on medicine, sports, psychology, sociology, kinesiology, and physical education. The combination of the fields provides all professionals with a firm understanding of performance psychology and athletic performance, two key aspects of coaching that can make all the difference in a game. Professionals will find that most programs will focus on all of these disciplines in one form or another.
An important note to add is that the disciplines that affect coaching depends on the level at which a coach is working in. High school coaches focus both on sports and education because they are often responsible for physical education courses at their school. Those that work at the professional level, or even the university level, work with biomechanics and performance psychology to ensure their athletes are in top shape. There are more examples, but it’s crucial to encourage students to take a hard look at curriculum plans prior to entering a program; the dream school may not provide the education they require.
Is a Teaching License Necessary for an Online Master’s in Coaching?
Yes, many coaching graduate degrees do require licensure. These are often degrees with a specialization in coaching that fall under the umbrella of graduate education programs. There are some degrees that do not require licensure; these often fall under sports science, kinesiology, and sports management.
Coaching professionals who wish to teach as well as coach must have a valid teaching license in their state of residence prior to applying for most of the programs on this ranking. This is because they combine educational concepts with coaching skills; many also require practicums that must take place on a school campus, something that is not possible without such a license.
For professionals who wish to work in other areas of the field, teaching licensure is not necessary. Practicums will also be required for these programs, but often will take place in community or healthcare settings. These vary from school to school, so interested students should consult with that school’s graduate admissions office.
What Kind of Jobs Can a Professional Expect From an Online Coaching Program?
Jobs vary quite a lot in graduate coaching programs. This is because coaching can be done in different settings, including in schools and in the professional sports world. The placements also represent whatever concentrations that a school might have, enabling students to take on placements that make sense for their career path.
For instance, a professional who wishes to coach at a high school will take a work placement in that setting, working with teen athletes and sports managers. Professionals who wish to work in community and nonprofit recreational programs will be paired with organizations that deliver physical education and coaching to people of all ages. Even professionals wishing to coach at the professional level will be paired with adequate placements, enabling every student to experience their career prior to graduation.
Is Accreditation of an Online Program Necessary for Employment Purposes?
It depends on a student’s chosen career goal. Many coaching professionals want to coach in schools, at universities, or for professional teams while others may want to design and implement recreation programs for communities. It’s even possible to use this degree to move onto postgraduate education. All of these goals have different needs for accreditation.
Regional accreditation is always necessary for any type of degree that a person earns. Unaccredited degrees are not as welcome as accredited degrees, especially when it comes to regional distinction because so many online programs have proven themselves worthy. Accreditation also leads to licensure, which for many coaches who work in schools, may be a requirement.
Special accreditation, such as that which is conferred by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education, can be difficult to find for online programs, but not impossible. In fact, several schools on this list have such an accreditation or are currently in the application process to receive accreditation. This type of accreditation is critical for professionals who wish to coach at the high school or postsecondary levels.
Other professionals, such as those who work in big league sports, will find that their accreditation requirements actually take place after completing a graduate degree. This means that a specially accredited online program is not necessary. All students should consider their chosen career path and conduct research to see if accreditation at any level will be required.
Coaching, whether at a high school or for a major sports team, is a great passion for many professionals. They love the game and want to participate, which is why they chose the profession of coaching. These professionals can continue their career with the knowledge that they will be able to advance in their profession and meet their goals with an online Master’s in Coaching.