A coach’s responsibilities extend further than directing players on the field. Experienced coaches also ensure that players keep track of their responsibilities off of the field, helping them grow as individuals as well as athletes. Additionally, as a team’s public face, a good coach knows how to work within and for a community. A master’s degree in coaching provides students with the opportunity to cultivate these skills and more.
Online master’s degree in coaching programs are especially attractive to students with busy schedules and family commitments. Job growth in the coaching space is also promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that coaching jobs will grow 13% between 2016 and 2026. Given this projection, would-be coaches with a master’s degree and work experience should find ample employment opportunities.
Choosing a Program
No matter their particular sport, coaches in a master’s in coaching program take courses covering general topics, such as anatomy, sports medicine, psychology, and leadership. These courses prepare coaches to address both the physical and mental needs of their athletes.
Many online master’s degree in coaching programs offer concentrations. Students who select a sports administration concentration ensure that a teams’ financial success fosters its on-court success. Additionally, a specialization in kinesiology enables students to help their athletes develop physical strength and endurance.
Some programs require distance learners to complete a practicum. Students coach at a local facility while a supervisor judges their performance and reports to the student’s professor. A successful practicum may either launch a student directly into a career or provide valuable resume experience.
For career information, skip down:
Online Master’s in Coaching Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Master’s in Coaching Programs
1University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville offers students a 36-credit masters degree in coaching online. Students graduate with a master of science in sports management with a specialization in high-performance coaching. The program offers concentrations in athlete development, high-performance coaching, and sport law. Students select the track that most closely matches their professional goals, whether that be in sports administration, planning, marketing, or finance.
The UF graduate program offers students advanced practicum and internships that include both online and hands-on learning. One-credit equals 48 hours of total work on-site. Internship roles earn students up to nine credits and practicum training earn students up to six credits. The school partners students with an advisor who helps them secure a practicum or internship experience that prepares them for their future roles. Students who complete 27 credit hours of coursework may begin work on the capstone project. The school requires students to complete the capstone project in the sports management degree prior to graduation.
For admission consideration to the program, students need a minimum 3.0 GPA for the last 60 credits of their undergraduate career. Application materials include three recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, a resume, GRE or GMAT scores, and two sets of official transcripts.
The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2 East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, offers students seeking employment in the sports arena an MA in education in physical education. Students choose a concentration area in adapted physical education or physical education pedagogy. Students who apply to East Carolina’s master’s in coaching program already possess a North Carolina teaching license in this specialization.
Students focus on coursework like a practicum in kinesiology, curriculum, and instruction in physical education and a physical activity programs for individuals with developmental, emotional, and learning disabilities. In addition to completing coursework and practicums, students pass a written exam, complete a research project, and submit a portfolio prior to graduation. To graduate, students complete 36-39 credit hours depending on their area of specialty and finish with a GPA of a 3.0 or greater. Students who fail to meet the GPA criteria may take further approved coursework at either East Carolina or in another graduate program.
Admissions requires incoming students to possess a minimum GPA of a 2.7. Students must submit three professional recommendations, a statement of purpose, and either GRE or GMAT scores.
East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Public Schools of North Carolina, the Department of Public Instruction and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
3University of Arkansas
Located in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas offers an online master of education in physical education to students seeking careers in sports and recreation. To apply for the masters degree in coaching program, students must possess a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or a similar area and a minimum entrance GPA of 2.7—-with the last 60 credits maintaining a 3.0 GPA average. Students who do not meet these standards need a minimum combined quantitative and verbal score of 297 on the GRE.
The overall graduate program incorporates 33 credit hours of study. To graduate, students pass a written comprehensive exam and maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students take classes in physical education and sport, risk management in physical education and athletics, and sports skill assessment and instructional strategies. Instructors deliver coursework entirely online, and students complete the program on average within two years. The school offers students scholarship and grant opportunities through the Arkansas Teacher Opportunity Program. The program provides tuition reimbursement for teachers for up to six credit hours per year; reimbursement cannot exceed $3000 per year. Requirements include teachers maintaining a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA average.
The University of Arkansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
4 Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Located in East Lansing, Michigan State University offers students an online master of science in sport coaching and leadership. The school provides this coaching master’s degree online to teachers, youth coach and club sport leaders, athletic directors, and coach educators and developers. The online program runs in yearly cohorts that begin in May, and most students complete the program in 28 months. The school offers two tracks: a 30-credit master of science in sport coaching & leadership in hybrid format and a nine-credit certificate in sport coaching & leadership.
Students take coursework fully online through video lectures, reading assignments, and pre-designed projects. Instructors deliver coursework asynchronously and make themselves available to students through teleconferencing. Students take classes such as legal & administrative issues, psychosocial bases of coaching, and promoting positive youth development through sport. The school offers some courses as a hybrid option, meaning students both complete work online and through intensive, six-day coursework on campus. Admissions requires all master of science applicants to submit an academic statement, a professional resume, a personal statement, and letters of reference. The program does not require GRE scores.
Michigan State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
5University of South Florida
The University of South Florida-Main Campus in Tampa offers students a master of arts in physical education online. Students who enter the program must select one of two study plans. The Plan I Program works well for current teachers who possess a teaching certificate but hope to earn additional graduate education in physical education. Through the Plan III program students earn a teaching certificate with a graduate concentration in physical education.
In addition to the online element, learners must participate in student-teaching experiences in order to graduate. Instructors expect students to complete online assignments and projects on time that students collaborate on through chat rooms and email. The online program requires a total of 30 credit hours for graduation.
Students who apply to the program possess a minimum 3.0 GPA from an undergraduate institution. Most students complete this program in two years of full-time study. Admissions does not require GRE or GMAT scores for entry. Students living both inside of and outside of the state pay the same tuition rate. Students can determine whether the program’s credentials apply to their state’s current teaching standards using the Academic Common Market program.
The University of Southern Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.
6 Ball State University
Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana offers students a master’s in athletic coaching education. The program enables students with busy work and family lives the flexibility to take only two classes per semester. Students complete this degree in five semesters.
Known for small class sizes of about 12-20 students per class, Ball State students receive individualized course instruction. Additionally, the program’s cohort system enables students to work in conjunction with their peers. Students take classes with coaches from youth clubs, high schools, and colleges, and graduates coach at schools in the Big 10, Mid-American Conference, and Missouri Valley Conference.
Students who study at Ball State in the coaching master’s need 30 credits to graduate. They take classes like physical preparation and conditioning, evaluation in coaching, and
skills and tactics for coaches. While the program offers online licensing in physical education with a coaching specialization, licensing does not come standard. Students will need to add the licensure course to their master’s degree plan of study. The program derives the standards for its content from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).
Applicants need a minimum GPA of 2.75 to apply for this program, and the school does not require GRE scores. Application materials include submission of a 1000 word statement of purpose, three professional recommendations, and a resume. Preference is given to students with prior coaching experience.
Ball State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
7University of Idaho
The University of Idaho in Moscow, offers a master of education in physical education and physical activity pedagogy to students hoping to enter the coaching and sports space at the professional level. Students complete the program in one year and may enter the program in the fall, spring, or summer.
Students select one of two tracks. In the first track, certified teachers expand their training by studying physical activity pedagogy. In the second track, students earn their teaching certificate in addition to completing a master’s degree in coaching. Graduate students take courses in elementary methods in physical activity pedagogy, health methods & administration, and programming & marketing for healthy active lifestyles, among other courses. Students choose whether to take coursework entirely online or work on research projects within the college’s community.
Requirements include submission of GRE scores, a 3.0 GPA or higher for the last 60 credits earned at an undergraduate institution, an essay sharing the student’s coaching experience, and a professional recommendation. Only students who already possess a teaching certificate may enter the one-year online physical education pedagogy track.
The University of Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
8 Drexel University
Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a master of science in sport coaching leadershipto coaches focused on budgeting and fiscal management, performance and energy systems, coaching practices and theory, preventing and treating athletic injuries, and sports psychology, among others.
Students in the program participate in a 7-10 day international resident program. Instructors deliver coursework synchronously to in-resident students for a one-week study at an international school. The program allows working students to engage in coaching courses with top leaders in their field. The intensive week occurs in June of every year.
The coaching program at Drexel allows students to specialize in a sport of choice, and the program recently added lacrosse and rowing to the academic selection. Students may also design their concentration with an advisor. Students study courses such as ethics in coaching, coaching theory and principles, and coaching psychology.
For students interested in the coaching master’s degree online at Drexel, the program offers open houses on the website; students apply to those open houses that they would like to attend. Drexel’s master of science in sport coaching leadership requires applicants to possess a GPA of 3.0. Applicants with a 2.75 or below must attend an admissions overview. Students submit a resume, recommendation letters, and a personal essay highlighting their career goals.
Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
9SUNY College at Brockport
Brockport, New York
Suny College at Brockport in New York offers a master of science in education with a track in physical education pedagogy. Students in the master’s degree in coaching online program take courses in analysis of teaching physical education, research design and data analysis, and curriculum in physical education. Students can take classes delivered fully online through an asynchronous learning synchronous, as well as through hybrid formats with an on-campus element. Coursework generally takes three-to-four hours a week per credit, making a three-credit course nine-to-12 hours of work per week. With the exception of occasional site maintenance, students may access online course material 24/7.
Suny offers state-of-the-art resources for students, including an online concierge who helps students with ongoing questions, test centers with exam proctors for online students, a remote student tutoring center, and a remote writing assistance program for online students. Applicants possess a 3.0 GPA, GRE or GMAT scores–depending on the applicant’s educational background, and TOEFL or IELTS scores if English is not their native language.
The College at Brockport, State University of New York is regionally accredited by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
10University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg offers students a master of science in sport coaching education. The degree requires 36 credit hours of study in advanced motor development, sport psychology, and organizational leadership and management in sport, among other course options. Students select either a thesis or a non-thesis track, though the physical education concentration requires a thesis. Students grow in leadership skills, learn how to train athletes both mentally and physically, and develop an understanding of the latest technological equipment available in their sport.
Part-time students take two classes per semester, and full-time students take a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Students in the master’s in coaching program enter during the fall semester, and most students complete the program within two years. Online students pay the in-state tuition rate.
For admission into the program, students must submit GRE or NSCA scores and demonstrate standing as a CSCS Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist. Students with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA or higher are more likely to be considered for this program. Applicants submit three professional recommendation letters, transcripts, and a resume. Applicants in the military can reach out to the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members, and Families at USM to receive funding and scholarship assistance.
The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
11University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers students an MAE in physical education master teacher. Students in possession of a BA and a teaching certificate may apply to the program.
Teachers who enter the master’s degree in coaching online at UNK choose one of two tracks. The first track expands teacher’s knowledge of physical education in elementary and post-secondary schools. The second track focuses on educating special populations and equipping teachers to teach physical education to disabled students. The program prepares teachers for endorsement in adapted physical education by the Nebraska Department of Education. To graduate students take a comprehensive exam or submit a completed thesis. The exam consists of four questions, and it must be taken in person. Students receive a pass/no pass grade on the final exam. In cases of failing the test, students may retake the exam.
Required coursework includes physical education for students with disabilities, seminar and practicum in physical education, and elementary school physical education. For admissions, students must submit a personal statement and a presentation demonstrating their teaching methods and philosophy in physical education.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota
North Dakota State University-Main Campus in Fargo offers a master of science in health, nutrition, and exercise science: leadership in physical education and sport. Students who attend online receive resident tuition rates and can take courses in any sequence.
Students at NDSU develop their course curriculum with the assistance of a school advisor. Classes include research in physical education and sport, leadership and entrepreneurship, and psychological foundation of sport and physical activity.
The leadership in physical education program incorporates aspects of sports management in the curriculum, and it caters to students hoping for careers as head coaches, physical education teachers, athletic directors, department heads, and collegiate-level assistant coaches.
The program caters to students working full-time jobs by enabling them to access class on their own schedule. Students can discuss assignments, projects, and study topics in chat room sessions and email with classmates and faculty. Instructors create coursework focused on projects, including case studies where students learn to apply what they have learned to contemporary learning environments.
North Dakota State University at Fargo is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
13Tennessee Technological University
Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville offers a master of arts in exercise science, physical education and wellness. The program teaches students practical skills and methods that improve the outcomes of their physical education classrooms. Learners in the masters program finish the degree in four semesters.
The 30-credit program consists of online curriculum focused on one of four concentration areas: adapted physical education, elementary and middle school physical education, fitness and lifetime wellness, and sport management. During the first year students learn education techniques and in the second year apply what they have learned. Students who take the elementary, middle school physical education track can achieve teacher licensure in physical education with an additional 20 hours of courses, fieldwork, and student teaching.
The MA-EXPW at TTU is mostly online with the exception of a few on-campus requirements such as online graduate student orientation at the launch of their program and then again for comprehensive exams prior to graduation. Comprehensive exams take place before graduation. Applicants should possess a 2.5-2.75 GPA minimum for consideration.
Tennessee Technological University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
14Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University in Statesboro offers a master of science in kinesiology and coaching education. Teachers who receive this coaching master’s degree online study performance enhancement, coaching administration, athletic training, and coaching success. The program caters to students seeking the flexibility of an online program.
The coaching track requires a total of 36 credits for completion. Students study classes such as teaching analysis and psychology of peak performance, sports administration and sports biomechanics, and issues in coaching and coaching practicum. The master’s in kinesiology and coaching education path follows the National Coaching Standards for Level 5 Coaching Status.
Students already in possession of coaching experience may apply to the program. Applicants also possess a minimum 2.75 GPA for the last 60 credits earned in an undergraduate program and a resume outlining prior work experience, memberships to professional organizations, and three contacts for recommendations. GSU is a “Military Friendly School”, and its Military & Veteran Center helps military students receive support, gather information on fee waivers, and apply for scholarships.
Georgia Southern University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
15University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg offers a master of education in positive coaching. Students take coursework fully online and focus on how to lead athletes and team members effectively. Students complete 30 credit hours total prior to graduation. The university highlights hands-on learning experiences, a culture of service, and future-focused academics. Online master’s degree students receive in-state tuition rates.
The coaching master’s degree online prepares graduates for positions as school counselors or athletic administrators. Students hoping to become life coaches, wellness coordinators, and military officers also benefit from this master’s degree. Students take classes such as sport and applied coaching psychology, administration of athletics programs, and character and ethics in sports leadership. All classes run in eight- to-16-week sessions during the fall, spring, and summer. Students take anywhere from two to two-and-a-half years to complete the program.
Online students complete the course schedule on the same timeline as on-campus students, though they take tests and quizzes without necessarily having to log in at particular times. Students in self-paced courses work independently and complete work in their own time.
The University of Missouri is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
16Fresno Pacific University
Fresno Pacific University in California offers a fully online master of arts in kinesiology to students looking to sharpen their coaching skills and increase their career potential while still working. Students who attend Fresno Pacific’s master’s in coaching online program save $100 per credit when compared with other programs.
Students take classes such as assessment in physical education, issues in kinesiology, and professional standards in education. Students complete 36 credit hours of work designed to help them grow as leaders and coaches, and the school assigns students a success coach to provide guidance and resources that help them graduate.
The graduate program also introduces students to organizations such as the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Applicants need a BA/BS with a cumulative 2.75 GPA or higher and three professional references. While admissions does not require applicants to possess a degree in kinesiology, they must supply a resume that demonstrates a background in physical education and/or teaching experience. Admissions does not require GRE or GMAT scores.
Fresno Pacific University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
17Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, offers a master of science in sport management major in physical education. This master’s degree in coaching online helps students gain insight into the business behind sports management applying practices like marketing and financial skills to reach team goals.
Online classes at ODU are in a synchronous and asynchronous format depending on the curriculum. Students can log in and work at their own pace at any time with asynchronous courses. They can interact online through chat rooms and email discussions with faculty and peers. With synchronous classes, students log in at a set time and attend class with other students simultaneously participating in live discussions. Proctors administer exams in this online program.
Part of this master’s program includes practicums and internships that students can fulfill near their resident location while still attending the school online from anywhere. Students may work with a teacher or advisor to find the right internship that also meets the credit requirements for the program.
For admission into the master’s in coaching program a 2.8 GPA or higher is recommended, along with a 3.0 in the BA/BS degree undergraduate major. GRE scores of 292 or higher and GMAT or MAT scores of 400 or higher are accepted. Applicants should also submit three letters of recommendation, a career essay, resume, and transcripts.
Old Dominion University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18SUNY College at Cortland
Cortland, New York
Suny College at Cortland in New York offers a master of science in education in physical education with a concentration in coaching pedagogy. The standards at SUNY match the standards set by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America), the Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS) and the New York State Learning Standards in Physical Education. This coaching master’s degree online advances the careers of both teachers and coaches at all levels.
Students choose from two concentrations: adapted physical education (ADPE) or coaching pedagogy (COAP). The ADPE track focuses on topics like inclusive outdoor education and preschool movement programs. The COAP option focuses on subjects like lifespan motor development, sport skill analysis, and behavior in sport. Both concentrations require a culminating experience for graduation. ADPE students can take a comprehensive exam before graduation or submit a master’s thesis. COAP students take a comprehensive exam to graduate. Students must also attend three workshops: child abuse recognition and reporting, dignity for all students act, and safe schools against violence in education.
Applicants should supply all undergraduate transcripts, a resume, and three professional or academic references. Students need a 3.0 GPA or higher and GRE or MAT scores.
SUNY Cortland is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
19 Canisius College
Buffalo, New York
Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, offers a master’s in physical education to students hoping to teach physical education or coach sports teams. Students can enter the program at the beginning of any semester, and complete the 30-credit program in about two years. The program consists of a nine-credit research core sequence, a 12-credit teaching sequence, and nine credits of electives.
The master of science/education degree in physical education meets the master’s degree requirement for professional certification in New York State. The degree does not automatically provide health education certification for each state; students can, however, use the credits earned in this degree toward health certification in other states. Classes include health and cultural awareness and movement education and physical activity. Students complete a capstone in teaching physical education and health.
In addition to coursework, students develop a portfolio, a mission statement, a resume, sample teaching lessons, and sample assignments.
Applications include a 300-word essay, bachelor’s degree transcripts with a 3.0 GPA or higher, and two letters of recommendation. Certified Applicants should also submit GRE, GMAT, and ALST scores.
Canisius College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.
20 Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo offers a master of arts in physical education: adapted physical education to teachers dedicated to teaching physical education to children K-12. The program focuses on providing children with disabilities inclusive sports environments that ensure their involvement and growth. Learners complete 36 credit hours in order graduate from this master’s degree in coaching entirely online.
Students choose a researched-based thesis focused on their area of study. As an alternative, students can also choose a non-thesis, hands-on internship focused on teaching. The program curriculum equips teachers with knowledge of both the theory and the practice of teaching students with disabilities. Students take classes such as research procedures in human performance and health education credits, physical activities for exceptional children, and applications of behavior analysis in special education. Students take six credits of core coursework, 18 credits in an area of emphasis, six credits of electives, and a six- to-nine-credit capstone.
Western Michigan University allows students to enroll in an employer deferment payment plan. For consideration, applicants need a GPA of 3.0 or higher during their last two years of undergraduate coursework, GRE or GMAT scores, and transcripts.
Western Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
21 West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
West Virginia University in Morgantown offers a 31-credit master’s in sport coaching for coaches or teachers who work full-time at schools or clubs. The program caters to students looking to continue working while they increase their academic credentials. Students take up to seven credits each semester, participate in online discussions designed to bolster professor instruction, and receive student support throughout the cohort program design. Online students also receive in-state tuition rates, and full-time students complete the program in two years.
To obtain a master’s in sports coaching at West Virginia University, students attend classes such as principles effective teaching, standards-based assessment in physical education, and theories of fitness education. Upon completion of the program a learner can enter the professional job market as a sports coach or scout, education or administration director, umpire or referee, wellness director, or athletic director, among other positions. Students take the theoretical elements of their education and apply them in their particular field of interest.
Applicants need a 2.75 GPA or higher, transcripts, a resume, and letters of recommendation for admission into the program.
West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
22Georgia State University
Georgia State University in Atlanta offers a master of education in health and physical education to teachers hoping to bolster their credentials. The program focuses on adapted physical education, integrated health, and the latest methods in physical education. The graduate program also highlights the development of leadership skills for students seeking to become school or organizational leaders.
Candidates for the program already work in health, physical education, or adapted physical education as certified teachers in P-12. Students choose an emphasis in health, physical education, or adapted physical education. Courses such as methods of research in education, development for health, physical education, and adaptive physical education, and teaching models for health and physical education equip students with the skills they need to succeed in their careers.
For consideration, applicants need to submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a statement of career goals, and demonstrate that they have earned a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants already possess a teaching license, and admissions prefers two years of teaching experience prior to entrance. Students generally complete the 36-credit program in under two years.
Georgia State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
23University of Northern Colorado
The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley offers a master of arts in sport coaching to coaches hoping to increase their knowledge through the application of new methods and project-based research. The flexibility of the online program allows working coaches to fit school life into their busy schedule. Students at Northern Colorado start the program at the beginning of fall term each year.
All students at Northern Colorado online pay the same flat per-credit tuition rate — with no additional fees. Some classes at UNC may, however, require additional course fees or material costs.
The master’s in coaching program has received Level-5 comprehensive accreditation from the National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education. UNC is one of only three universities that now hold Level-5 accreditation. The curriculum at the University of Northern Colorado includes topics in sport pedagogy (teaching), injury prevention, sport psychology, training and conditioning principles, and applied coaching research.
Most students complete the program in five terms, with a total of 30 credits required for graduation. The program includes a graduate internship in sport and exercise science. Students take classes in international perspectives of sports coaching, bridging theory and practice in sports coaching, and sport administration for sports coaches.
The University of Northern Colorado is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio offers students a master of education program in coaching education and athlete development. The Jesuit school boasts a 98% job placement record. The master’s degree in coaching online at Xavier is a two-year cohort program developed from the advanced degree standards set by the NASPE and the NCACE. It includes study areas such as philosophy and ethics, safety and injury prevention, and growth and development.
The program focuses on the details and strategies of coaching and athlete development. The athletic development part of the degree includes character development, encouraging sport participation in life, and excellence through sport. Students communicate with their classmates and professors through discussion boards, email, and video conferencing.
The master’s in coaching program at Xavier runs on a two-year cohort cycle with start dates in January and June of each year. Students in this degree take classes such as sports safety, risk management and injury prevention, sport leadership and team building, and coaching ethics and philosophy. With the exception of two residency face-to-face engagements on-campus or another accepted facility by the program, students take the program entirely online.
Xavier University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
25Kent State University
Kent State University in Ohio offers a master’s of education in curriculum & instruction with a concentration in physical education teacher education. The master’s of education with a focus on physical education highlights K-12 education and licensure in Ohio. The guidelines for the program follow the Beginning Teacher Standards set by the Society of Health and Physical Educators.
The master’s in coaching degree includes 42 total credits of online and hands-on learning. The program focuses on both elementary and secondary school education through a student teaching experience and practicum seminar. To complete the degree, students take three credits of a research requirement, three credits of a curriculum requirement, and 36 credit hours of licensure coursework. Courses include development and analysis of invasion games, net games or fielding/targeting games; assessment of learning in physical education and sport; and fundamental movement, gymnastics and dance.
If applicants hold a BA/BS in an area other than physical education, admissions requires 10 prerequisite courses prior to entry. Applicants should review the list of required courses to fulfill these requirements. For consideration, applicants need to submit transcripts with a 3.0 GPA, a career statement, professional references, and a resume.
Kent State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
26 Central Washington University
Central Washington University in Ellensburg offers a master of science in health and physical education to educators hoping to enhance their teaching methods and knowledge in physical education. CWU’s cohort program accepts students every other year.
Students complete a total of 45 credits in coursework that reflects their career interests. The program launch takes two weeks and helps students establish support, networking, and collegiate relationships. The program highlights subject matter focused on technology in health, physical education, and sports programs. Nearing the end of the program, students complete a culminating project/thesis course. Individual courses include issues in health, physical education, and sports programs; research methods in health and physical education; and statistical applications in health and physical education.
Applicants need to submit a 3.0 or higher during the last 60 credits of an undergraduate degree. Additional materials include GRE or GMAT scores and physical education teaching certification. Preference is given to students with prior teaching experience. Admissions may consider students who do not meet these qualifications. All online students pay the same tuition rates.
Central Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
27 Greenville University
Greenville College has been offering a Christ-centered education for more than 150 years. The school currently offers a master of arts in coaching for teachers and coaches looking to expand their skills and methods in sports and recreation.
Greenville promotes interaction with colleagues and community through discussion and study. The master’s in coaching online degree at Greenville highlights performance, philosophy, and leadership that helps foster the careers growth of coaches and sports organizers. This program in particular assists coaches with improving player performance, understanding sports administration, and leading staff and players. This flexible online program runs in an 8-week format. Students study courses that focus on enhancing sports performance techniques, scouting practices, and management strategies. Courses in the program include basics such as foundations of graduate studies in education and sport skill analysis. Students complete the program upon finishing a capstone research project.
Applicants should submit a resume, undergraduate transcripts with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample that highlights past coaching experience. Students who graduate from Greenville University with a bachelor’s automatically qualify for a 10% tuition break for graduate work.
Greenville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
28University of North Georgia
The University of North Georgia in Dahlonega offers a master of science with a major in kinesiology online to students already in possession of a similar undergraduate degree in physical education or health. The graduate degree provides educators with advanced studies in sports and recreation. The program does not, however, offer certification in physical education. Generally, students will already possess teaching certification prior to program entrance.
Students take 12 hours of credit in research and measurement evaluation classes and 15 credits in either exercise science or health and physical education. The total program credit hours for completion equals 30. Students also finish a three-hour action research project in a focus subject area. Students can start this master’s in coaching online program at the beginning of any semester.
Applicants need to submit a 2.75 or higher GPA transcript in undergraduate studies and either a GRE score of 301 or higher or a 391 or less on the MAT. Students who have a cumulative 3.0 or higher are exempt from test score submissions. Some programs at UGA only admit students for certain terms; therefore, applicants should check with admissions on which term their anticipated program begins.
The University of North Georgia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
29 Valdosta State University
Valdosta boasts widely recognized research programs, internship opportunities, semester options abroad, small classes, and faculty. Located in Georgia, the school offers a master of education in health and physical education to students hoping to bolster their credentials as coaches and sports organizers.
Students in this degree take classes such as assessment and technology in physical education, human kinetics, and PE for exceptional learners. The master’s in coaching program operates on a cohort system that launches each June. Graduate programs at Valdosta State University require completion of a thesis project, and the school provides students with online resources for graduate students such as online writing assistance, online orientation sessions, and new student guides.
Teachers with level-4 certification in Georgia or other approved states can apply to this program. Teachers can apply for a level-5 certification post-program completion. Prior to graduation, the program requires students to develop a portfolio in addition to completing a teacher assessment. Any grades below a “C” average do not count toward graduation.
Students submit three professional references and a personal statement for consideration.
Valdosta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
30 Emporia State University
Emporia State University in Kansas offers a master of science in health, physical education, and recreation to students looking to advance in their careers as coaches or sports leaders. The program began in 1996 and currently provides students a flexible learning option that enables them to maintain their work and family lives.
Most working students who complete this program do so in two years; some full-time students complete the program in one year. The program does not offer teacher certification, and student have up to seven years to complete the program. Coursework covers the history of sports and athlete development, legal and practical issues involved with coaching, and the use of contemporary techniques to maximize athlete success. Students study classes such as advanced exercise physiology, ethics in sport, and design and assessment.
Applicants need a 2.5 or higher and a 2.75 during the last 60 hours of their undergraduate degree. Students not in possession of a BA/BS in physical education or related major complete 12 credits of prerequisites in order to enter the program. Admissions accepts up to nine hours of transfer credits with a “B” grade or higher.
Emporia State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia offers a master of science in health and physical education. Students complete 33 total credit hours of study in core concepts like health education, human nutrition, and principles of teaching physical education.
Students select one of two tracks. The program offers track A to students already in possession of physical or health education licensure curriculum that enhances their knowledge of the field. The program offers track B to students in possession of teaching licensure outside of the physical or health space credentials to gain physical education licensure. Students seeking teaching licensure in physical education should work with an advisor on their curriculum to reach this goal.
As part of the program, students attend an internship at a school or adult community center. Students can choose a location for their placement. Students also create a grant proposal for a program initiative. Students pursuing this graduate degree fill positions as college athletic coaches, K-12 physical education teachers, community health directors, and more.
Applicants to this graduate program need a minimum 2.75 GPA or a GRE minimum mean score on at least two out of three parts of the exam. Applicants should also submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a 500-word personal essay.
Longwood University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Concordia University-Irvine in California offers a master’s in coaching and athletic administration to students in the coaching and athletics space. Students select either master of science or master of arts emphasis.
Both choices at Concordia constitute 20 units of core courses and 16 units of electives, putting the graduate credits at 36 total. Students complete a capstone project prior to graduation that allows students to apply what they have learned throughout the program in a real environment and document the experience in a portfolio. Students take classes such as principles of coaching & leadership, ethics and sport, and research methods & analysis. Concordia also offers a faster way to complete coursework for students who have time for 3-day, on-location intensives. The intensive series compress a semester’s worth of content into a 3-day period.
Concordia-Irvine operates on a four-term program; students study and participate in the same amount of coursework, but over an 11-week period, enabling them to move at a faster pace. Students at Concordia start their classes at any time and often go through the program while working. For communication and team support, students interact with others in the program through class discussions and assignments.
Concordia University Irvine is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
33Jackson State University
Jackson State University in Mississippi offers a master of science in education in physical education online that covers all aspects of sports, including physical education, adapted PE, dance, physiology, and athletic administration. The focus lies with teaching in schools, community colleges, and community centers. Because most students work and have families, the program enables learning flexibility through its online platform. Students can choose from 100% online or hybrid courses that combine in-class and online learning sequences.
Students in this program complete 36 semester credit hours prior to graduation and study subjects such as elementary statistics, methods of educational research, and curriculum methods. With the help of an assigned advisor, students decide among several course selections, including elective courses.
Applicants need a 3.0 or higher for admission. Students submit writing samples; a portfolio featuring their teaching and community experience, memberships, certifications, and coaching record; and three letters of recommendation. Upon review of these materials, admissions will require an interview concentrating on whether the applicant’s goals match the school’s expertise.
Jackson State University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
34 Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University in Portales offers students an online master of science in physical education with an emphasis in sports administration. Students can study 100% online or take a blended format with some courses meeting in-person. The program is designed for students who need flexibility from during their time in school. Out-of-state students receive the same tuition rate as students who live in the state.
To complete the program, students listen to pre-recorded lectures, work on projects, conduct presentations, read assigned material, and take exams. Online students receive advising and support from school faculty through email and phone. To ensure student success, ENMU offers students access to the online writing center, tutoring services, library materials and online databases, and an online librarian.
To graduate with this master’s in coaching online degree, students complete either a thesis option or a comprehensive exam. Students take the exam online or present and defend their thesis through online media technology. Applicants to ENMU’s graduate program submit GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and undergraduate transcripts. Students are also required to take a writing exam.
Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
35 East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University in Johnson City offers a 100% online MS in sport science and coach education that prepares students for both leadership coaching and strength and conditioning coaching positions. The focus of the program lies with science, education, and research aimed at preventing injury and assisting athlete’s success. The program emphasizes the importance of sports in the development of local communities.
Students in this program take classes such as instrumentation in exercise and sport science, sport conditioning, and sport physiology. The master’s program works in concert with the ETSU Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education to enable students to gain practical knowledge working inside of coaching clinics and community sporting activities. Instructors at ETSU offer coursework in both asynchronous and synchronous format. Students taking asynchronous courses can access the material at any time, and students in synchronous classes must attend lectures and work on projects in accordance with the instructor’s schedule.
Applicants for this program need a 3.0 GPA or higher from an undergraduate degree focused on physical education, exercise science, or a related field. Students submit GRE scores, transcripts, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.
East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
36 Bellevue University
Bellevue University in Nebraska offers an online master’s degree in leadership and coaching focused on leadership theories, advanced organizational behavior, team dynamics, and strategic leadership.
Students complete 36 credit hours in the master’s in coaching program online through a study of major requirements, executive courses, and internship courses. Classes include leadership theories and research, social psychology of leadership, and leading change in organizations.
Bellevue offers its students a career services program to help them prepare for interviews and to guide them through resume writing and job searches. The university also assists military members with their higher education goals. Bellevue provides students with tutoring services, test centers, and a writer’s resource center to help students with paper writing.
Applicants to the program need an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher for admission. Students already in possession of a master’s may apply without undergraduate transcripts. Letters of recommendation and a personal essay may also be requested for admission into the program. Bellevue offers the same flat tuition rates for students living inside of and outside of the state.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
37Chicago State University
Chicago State University offers a master of science in education in physical education for grades K-12. Students choose between a research thesis option and a non-thesis option that requires student teaching. While the master’s in coaching degree does not lead to teacher certification, the program explores the nature of teaching health and physical education in more depth.
Students need to complete a minimum of 24 credits in physical education or a related field prior to entry. The program accepts a maximum of six credits for transfer students. Some course prerequisites or their equivalents include kinesiology, measurement and evaluation, and physiology of exercise.
Full-time students average nine credit hours a semester. Students take classes under topic umbrellas such as research methods in physical education and sport, workshops in outdoor education, and applied biomechanics. To graduate, students must complete 34 credits in addition to developing an electronic portfolio and taking a comprehensive exam. The CSU website offers ongoing online information sessions for prospective students.
Chicago State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
38 Jacksonville State University
Founded in 1883, Jacksonville State University in Alabama offers a master of science in education in physical education with a concentration in teacher education. This master’s in coaching program online caters to students hoping to teach physical education at the K-12 level. Applicants to the program need Class B teacher certification in physical education prior to entry. Graduation from this program provides teachers an Alabama Class A certification in physical education P-12.
The program takes two years to complete on average. Students take between 30 and 33 credit hours to complete the program. Classes include applied exercise physiology, research in wellness & sport studies, and sociology of sport. The program requires students to pass a comprehensive exit exam in order to graduate.
Transfer students must fill out a transfer credit form with the JSU admissions office. Applicants to the program need to provide professional references, GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores, copies of teaching certifications, and undergraduate transcripts. Applicants must also undergo a background check and complete a verification of educational experience form. Online graduate students pay the same tuition rates as in-state traditional graduate students. Additional fees for proctor-run tests may occur for some classes.
Jacksonville State University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
39 Adams State University
Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado offers a master of arts in coaching, the least expensive master’s coaching degree online in the country according to the website. The program enables coaches to become more advanced in coaching methods and practice in order to provide them with additional career options. Adams State University is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and has more recently been awarded millions in federal grants for academic improvements to buildings and programs.
For the degree, students take classes like strategic management & leadership, strength & conditioning, conduct field-based research, and practicums. The program takes two years to complete for a total of 36 credit hours of work. The master’s in coaching department works in concert with local K-12 schools, parks, and physical therapy clinics to offers students practical experiences.
Applicants can apply online by submitting two letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, and a letter of intent that the college uses as a writing assessment. In addition to the above, admissions requires a GPA of a 3.0 during the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Applicants without a relatable undergraduate degree may need to fulfill additional prerequisite requirements.
Adams State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
40Southwest Minnesota State University
Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota offers a master of science in physical education: coaching of sport online. The coaching curriculum caters to students seeking flexibility and affordability from their education and matches the standards set by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NAPSE).
Courses include sport safety and injury prevention, advanced practicum in coaching, and psychology of athletic performance. Students complete mostly project-based curriculum and two coaching practicums; they also create a portfolio documenting their experiences. The school offers all courses fully online. Southwest Minnesota State University also provides students with several support resources, including a writing center, counseling services, and proctored test centers. Students complete 34 graduate credit hours to graduate.
Learners apply online and must possess a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA in a BA/BS in order to enter the master of science in physical education program. Additional requirements include all undergraduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal essay outlining how the program can help applicants meet their career goals.
Southwest Minnesota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Online Master’s in Coaching Careers
Coaches with experience and education have several career options available to them. The professions below represent some of the paths students can take after earning a master’s degree.
- Athletic Trainer: Athletic trainers work with athletes and the general public to prevent injury. They assess injuries, apply remedies such as bandages and braces, and occasionally handle emergency situations until medical professionals take over.
- Median Annual Salary: $45,630
- Projected Growth Rate: 22%
- Nutritionist: Nutritionists working in athletic departments ensure that their athletes eat healthy foods. They hold educational seminars with athletes and instruct them about proper nutrition. Other responsibilities include keeping track of athletes’ overall health and making personalized recommendations.
- Median Annual Salary: $58,920
- Projected Growth Rate: 14%
- High School Teacher: Many high school teachers work as coaches for their school teams. Depending on your state, your master’s in coaching may automatically qualify you for licensure as a physical education teacher.
- Median Annual Salary: $58,030
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics