Best Online Master’s in Coaching Programs

Want to earn an online master's in coaching but don't know where to start? Read about the top programs and compare schools by cost and flexibility.
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Margaret Weinhold is an associate editor for BestColleges, where she focuses on core content. She is passionate about increasing visibility and accessibility around higher education. Margaret holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia....
Updated on April 25, 2024
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Colin Weickmann has worked as an editor for BestColleges, focusing on degree and college planning resources for prospective students. He holds a BA in digital technology and culture from Washington State University. Colin is a former editor at Red...
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An online master's in coaching can lead to coaching careers in various professional settings. While these degrees are not common or prevalent, many students feel significant passion for the field.

While graduate school is a significant investment, some people feel called to the one-on-one connections and team-building inherent to coaching.

You can find a job coaching semi-pro teams, working with secondary students, and helping businesses and corporations thrive. Completion times vary, but most programs take 1-3 years to complete, depending on whether you enroll full time or part time.

Read on to learn more about these in-demand programs.

Best Online Master's in Online Coaching Programs

  1. University of South Florida-Main Campus
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $10460

    Located in Tampa, Florida, USF's MA in physical education program offers a plan for students who hold a teaching certificate and one for those who do not. The 30-credit online program is delivered asynchronously, and students complete assignments, exams, and other requirements at their convenience.

    Most classes within the master's in coaching program use a project-based structure, where students explore content and apply their newly gained knowledge to actionable projects. Learners must also pass a comprehensive exam before graduating.

    Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. They also must provide proof of an initial teacher certification. Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer.

  2. Azusa Pacific University
    Location

    Azusa, CA

    Tuition

    $29152

    APU features a master's in physical education degree with a focus on education, coaching, and administrative skills. Learners are prepared to serve at the K-12, postsecondary, and professional levels.

    One of the program's core classes, sociological and ethical issues in sport focuses on the role of sports in American culture. Students may also concentrate their studies on sport management, exploring marketing, finance, compliance issues, and athletic facilities management.

    Students may take classes online or at one of APU's regional campuses in California. Graduates pursue careers as coaches, educators, and athletic administrators.

    The 36-credit master's in coaching program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. All students pay the same tuition, regardless of state residency.

  3. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $16227

    The Michigan State online master's degree in coaching and leadership features the resources of a Big Ten institution and a focus on sports science.

    During their final term, students complete an integrative capstone based on their career objectives. Students also participate in a practicum where they learn directly from experienced coaches, and conduct a video analysis of their own coaching performance.

    The program requires applicants to possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students also submit two letters of recommendation, a written academic statement, and a resume.

    In addition to the 30-credit master's in coaching degree, the program offers a 10-credit graduate certificate.

  4. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $12181

    WVU offers an online master's degree in coaching that encompasses 10 classes and 30 total credits. The curriculum is based on the International Sport Coaching Framework, and prepares students to lead teams at the K-12, collegiate, and professional levels. Most students graduate within two years.

    Required coursework includes creating healthy competitive environments, which teaches future coaches the best methods for developing safe and healthy settings for athlete training and performance.

    Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. They also must provide a personal statement and a professional resume. Applicants do not need to submit their GRE scores.

    WVU is located in Morgantown. All distance learners, including non-state residents, pay the same per-credit tuition rate.

  5. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Tuition

    $13642

    Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State delivers an online master's degree in coaching that features instructors with experience coaching NCAA champions, Olympic competitors, and professional athletes.

    The MA in athletic coaching education includes online courses that allow students to interact with and learn from one another. Small class sizes provide ample one-on-one connections with professors. Most students complete the 30-credit program in two years or less.

    Eligible students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.75 or above. They also must submit three recommendation letters, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Program staff may ask applicants to conduct a phone interview during the admissions process.

    Distance learners at Ball State pay a discounted tuition rate.

  6. University of Arkansas
    Location

    Fayetteville, AR

    Tuition

    $15781

    U of A Online delivers an online M.Ed. in physical education that prepares graduates to serve as coaches, K-12 physical education teachers, and health educators.

    The 33-credit master's in coaching features nationally recognized faculty covering topics like sport skill assessment, sports psychology, and risk management in athletics. All students take part in an internship to work with established educators and coaches.

    Qualified applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA over their last 60 credits. The program may grant admission to individuals below the GPA standard if they submit satisfactory GRE scores. Students can begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer.

    All U of A Online students pay the same tuition, regardless of their state of residence.

  7. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $13746

    ECU's master of arts in education, physical education prepares graduates to advance their career and qualify for higher salaries when employed at a public school district in North Carolina.

    Students may concentrate their studies on adapted physical education or physical education pedagogy. In addition to exploring best practices that benefit coaches and teachers, the program develops leadership, communication, and research skills. All master's in coaching students complete a kinesiology practicum before graduating.

    To apply, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.7 GPA, along with a current North Carolina teaching license in physical education. Applicants also submit three recommendation letters, a written statement of purpose, and GRE or MAT scores.

  8. Xavier University
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $31240

    Xavier's master's in coaching education and athlete development focuses on injury prevention, conditioning, growth and development, administration, and teaching skills.

    The 30-credit program includes a residency at the North American Coach Development Summit, where students can learn from some of the nation's most experienced coaches across numerous sports. All coursework takes place online using an asynchronous format.

    Applicants submit a resume, a statement of purpose, and two recommendation letters. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The admissions process does not require GRE scores.

    Xavier is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. All online students pay the same tuition, even if they live out of state. Full-time master's in coaching students usually graduate in 24 months.

  9. Emporia State University
    Location

    Emporia, KS

    Tuition

    $13670

    Emporia State students can embark on an online MS in curriculum and instruction with an instructional coach/teacher leader preK-12 concentration. The program prepares students to serve as exceptional coaches, teacher leaders, and curriculum directors, among other leadership roles.

    Students take all courses online using an asynchronous format, with no set log-in times. Full-time students can complete the 33-credit program in as little as 12 months. All distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of state residency.

    Through their coursework, students learn about coaching and mentoring, school leadership theory, brain-based learning, and designing effective instructional programs.

    Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, along with a GPA of 2.75 or above. The admissions process does not require applicants to submit GRE scores.

  10. SUNY College at Brockport
    Location

    Brockport, NY

    Tuition

    $14723

    The SUNY College at Brockport's online master's degree in coaching develops student leadership skills. Graduates are prepared for advanced opportunities and higher salaries as coaches, health educators, and physical education teachers.

    The M.Ed. in physical education and teacher education explores curriculum design, behavior management, and diversity. Students take part in a seminar through which they examine best practices and trends in physical education.

    The program's admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a New York state initial teacher certification. Applicants also must submit their GRE, MAT, or edTPA scores.

    Incoming students may begin the master's in coaching program in the fall, spring, or summer. They can complete the program online or on campus.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Coaching Program?

Safety and Injury Control

In this course, you learn best practices for protecting the health of your future players. Possible topics include injury prevention, concussion symptoms, and injury care and management.

Sociocultural Issues for Sports Practitioners

This course delves into the intersection between sports and prevalent social concerns. Topics can include institutional structures, interpersonal dynamics, and the role of sports in various cultures.

Ethics in Coaching

At times, coaching can feel fraught with ethical dilemmas. This course prepares you to navigate these issues. Topics may include moral obligations of coaches and decision-making frameworks when faced with a dilemma.

Legal Aspects of Sports

This course delves into multiple legal issues as they relate to sports. Topics can include foundational legal concepts, potential legal issues in amateur athletics, and injury prevention.

Stages of Athlete Development

In this course, you learn how young athletes develop across young adulthood, adolescence, and childhood. This course blends aspects of biology, kinesiology, and psychology.

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Coaching Degree?

A master's degree in coaching prepares you for very specific careers. You can pursue coaching roles within semi-pro athletics, secondary education, and corporations and business, among other environments.

In general, coaching is only a lucrative profession at the highest levels. Program graduates can pursue careers as athletic trainers, who earned a median annual salary of $57,930, as of May 2023, according to the BLS. Coaches and scouts earned a median annual salary of $45,910, as of May 2023.

Potential Careers for Master's in Coaching Graduates
Job Median Annual Salary (2023)
Atheltic Trainer $57,930
Coach $45,910
Scout $45,910
High School Teacher $65,220
Fitness Trainer $46,480
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Coaching Degrees Online

Is a master's in coaching worth it?

The value of any degree is subjective. For some students, a master's in coaching can lead to the exact career they seek in schools, professional athletics, or corporations.

However, you can qualify for many coaching careers without a master's degree. So make sure this degree is an investment that you really need to make.

Are coaching graduates in demand?

Yes. Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS projects 14% job growth for fitness trainers. This rate more than triples the growth that the BLS projects for all occupations during that decade.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in coaching?

Coaches in professional sports -- and some high-level college football and basketball coaches -- earn millions of dollars in annual salary. However, there is a very limited number of these positions available.

According to the BLS, high school teachers earn a median annual salary of $65,220, as of May 2023. Many graduates with master's degrees in coaching can make excellent high school P.E. teachers. Many P.E. teachers also coach some of their school's sports teams, allowing coaching degree-holders to do what they love.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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