What is a Master’s in Coaching Degree?
Students 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 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 learn how to manage and improve sports programs. A specialization in kinesiology teaches students how to promote physical strength and endurance.
Some programs require distance learners to complete a practicum wherein students coach at a local facility under a supervisor.
Online Master’s in Coaching Programs
Online master’s in coaching degrees allow learners to complete coursework on a flexible schedule. Students working full time can complete classes at a convenient pace while maintaining personal and professional responsibilities. Part-time and full-time students enjoy access to lectures, assignments, and assessments through an electronic platform.
Asynchronous programs provide classes in a flexible, non-sequential format, which is ideal for part-time learners. In synchronous programs, typically offered with a cohort model, students progress through coursework at the same pace as their peers. Both asynchronous and synchronous programs include 2–3 years of coursework. In accelerated degrees, learners may graduate in 12–18 months.
Coaching degrees often include practicum or internship requirements. Current coaching professionals can complete internships at their current place of work, applying degree knowledge to practical experiences. Learners new to the coaching field may work in sports settings, business organizations, or counseling settings. Programs with thesis options prepare students for graduate study. Students develop a research question, acquire and assess data, and report findings under the supervision of a faculty advisor.
The Advantages of a Master’s Degree in Coaching
A bachelor’s in coaching degree prepares students to work as athletic coaches in elementary, middle, and high schools. Master’s in coaching online programs develop managerial skills applicable to coaching careers and athletic administration professions. Students learn how to motivate and work with individuals, groups, and teams. Earning a master’s in coaching online also provides learners with opportunities to participate in practical learning experiences, applying theoretical and technical degree content to real-world experiences.
A master’s in coaching builds executive leadership and motivational skills for business professionals, education and vocational counselors, and caregivers. With a graduate degree in coaching, learners advance to administrative and leadership positions or work in an entrepreneurial role as a life coach. A master’s in coaching also gives learners the tools and capabilities to pursue doctoral study in organizational leadership, coaching education, sports management, and related disciplines.
Choosing an Online Coaching Graduate Degree Program
When choosing an online coaching graduate degree, students should consider factors such as cost, school size, program length, and degree requirements. Degree length varies by credits, internship requirements, and options for thesis or research projects.
In-state schools often offer more affordable options to students than out-of-state schools, although many colleges and universities provide flat-fee tuition for online learners regardless of residency. Students with previous coursework should explore prospective schools’ transfer policies.
Accreditation for Online Coaching Master’s Degrees
Colleges and universities maintain regional or national accreditation through a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). As a government agency, the ED establishes educational policies for colleges and universities. An industry group, CHEA includes more than 3,000 member institutions. Both the ED and CHEA cooperate with accrediting bodies to ensure schools’ compliance with national educational standards. Accrediting bodies work with colleges and universities to maintain academic standards through voluntary oversight and accountability.
Regional accreditation indicates an institution offers a rigorous, research-based program, while nationally accredited schools provide vocational and technical programs. Nonprofit schools usually hold regional accreditation. Programs and departments within a school may hold programmatic accreditation through a professional or specialized agency. Online master’s in coaching programs may hold accreditation through bodies like the International Coaching Federation.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master in Coaching Degree Program?
Degrees in coaching include 30–36 credit hours of coursework. Students complete online master’s in coaching programs in 1–3 years depending on part- or full-time status. Accelerated degrees allow students to enroll in multiple classes at a time, while traditional programs may offer only one or two classes each term.
Additional factors that influence the length of a degree include whether or not the program provides synchronous or asynchronous coursework. Learners in a synchronous program who miss a class offered on a specific timetable may extend their degree until the course becomes available again. Internship and practical requirements also affect the length of a program.
Whether students complete a degree on a full-time or part-time schedule can influence tuition costs, with many schools offering lower tuition for students enrolled full time. Programs with per-credit tuition, however, cost the same for all learners.
Courses in an Online Master’s in Coaching Program
- Strategic Leadership: Strategic leadership coursework introduces students to theories and techniques of leadership while teaching learners how to analyze, assess, and apply principles of strategy to lead organizations and teams. Students study strategic initiatives, issues facing leadership development, and how to align resources with organizational and team goals.
- Ethical and Professional Principles of Coaching: Ethical and professional principles of coaching classes emphasize ethical guidelines for coaching individuals and groups. Learners explore record keeping, dual relationships, and dynamics of coaching. Coursework also focuses on preventing, managing, and addressing ethical dilemmas.
- Evaluation in Coaching: These classes provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to acquire data and improve athletic and programmatic performance. Learners explore evaluation techniques and tools used in coaching individuals and groups. Students use case studies to apply evaluation methods and practices.
- Sport Coaching Methodology: In this class, students study theories and practices of sport team development and individual athlete coaching. Students learn techniques for coaching in a sports context and how to develop success among athletes.
- Coaching with Technology: Coaching with technology introduces coaches to tools and trends in coaching, such as data collection technology and instructional online resources. Students learn how to incorporate diagnostic equipment, tablets, handheld devices, and other technological tools in coaching.
What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Coaching?
Coaches with experience and education enjoy diverse career options. The professions below represent common career paths for graduates.
With a bachelor’s degree, individuals can coach at elementary, middle, or high schools, while a master’s in coaching allows coaches to work in collegiate or organizational settings. An athletic coach provides instruction, guidance, and motivation to athletes on physical performance, strategy, and team cohesion. Athletic coaches work with parents, teachers, and other education professionals to strengthen student performance. Athletic coaches also attend workshops, oversee budgets, engage with local communities, and supervise assistants and team managers.
Athletic directors work at schools, colleges, and universities or within organizations to plan and oversee athletic events. Athletic directors work with coaches, parents, and administrators to schedule events, manage facilities and equipment, and coordinate budgets. Athletic directors also monitor compliance with school, state, and government regulations while upholding standards for academic performance, sportsmanship, and ethical behavior.
Coaching Professional Organizations
The NCAA provides a list of coaching associations for coaches at the collegiate level. Coaches from Division I and Division II classes can access links to their specific sport. The NCAA also provides a platform for Division III coaches. Each sport website includes membership information, professional development resources, and event information.
The ICF advances coaching by promoting high standards and ethical excellence in the field. Members gain access to business development, lifelong learning, and networking opportunities. Coaches participate in ICF’s conferences, development series, and convergence activities each year. ICF also offers credentials to coaches with requisite experience and training.
IAPLC promotes, supports, and inspires life coaches through certifications, trainings, and career guidance. Members fall into 15 categories based on credentials and experience, creating networks of life coaches who enjoy the association’s publications, telesummits, and giveaways.
Designed to promote the field of corporate executive coaching, ACEC integrates organizational and transformative coaching competencies into educational and training programs. ACEC and the MEECO Leadership Institute examine tools, research, and techniques within corporate executive coaching through conferences and university partnerships. Members receive access to MEECO TV, webinars, research publications, and mentorship opportunities.
PCA partners with 3,500 schools and youth sports groups to provide online and live workshops, courses, and publications. PCA also provides resources for leaders, coaches, parents, and athletes to build truthful, constructive, and supportive sporting environments.