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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Once you have a master’s in coaching, you are qualified for several jobs, including being an athletic coach or scout (median salary $38,970 per year), fitness trainer (median salary $40,700 per year), and high school gym teacher (median salary $61,820 per year).

While exact costs may vary, such an online graduate program typically costs between $12,000 and $16,000 in total tuition. Most programs can be completed in two years or less, so it may not take long for you to realize your educational ambitions and jump into a new career.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Coaching Program

Choose your area of study

Most online master’s in coaching programs are very straightforward, with the courses designed to prepare you for a career in athletics coaching and training. Therefore, there may not be separate areas of study with your particular online program.

But some programs offer unique concentrations you may be interested in, including physical education, sports administration, sports coaching, and leadership coaching. As with other graduate programs, choosing a concentration you are most interested in may better prepare you for a vocational career. And it’s always good to check the coursework involved with a program to know what you are getting into.

Research schools and programs

There are many different online master’s in coaching programs to choose from, so it’s important to be selective in your search for the right program.

You should make a budget ahead of time and focus on schools where the overall costs don’t exceed that budget. And if you have an idea of what you’d like to do with your degree, you should consider online programs with the concentration you’ll need to prepare for your career. Finally, if you know where you would like to work after graduation, it could help with your future networking to choose a school where the physical campus is close to where you hope to work.

Prepare for tests and applications

When researching online master’s in coaching programs, check whether you must submit GRE test scores. Though most programs don’t require it, it is still mandatory at some schools. It can take up to three months to study for the GRE and up to 15 days to get your results, so getting started ASAP is essential if you need to submit test scores. If no test scores are required, you should focus on completing your application(s) before any priority deadlines close for your chosen school(s).

Select your program

A little research can help you narrow your choices to a few different schools. Exactly how you select a program largely depends on your ultimate goals. For example, if you have a specific career in mind, you should concentrate on programs with a high job placement rate and good networking opportunities. If you are more interested in getting the most rigorous education, try to find a program with professors who are respected leaders in their fields. Finally, don’t be afraid to make practical choices, including finding affordable programs where you can work at your own pace as needed.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Graduate school can be expensive, but here’s some good news: getting a master’s will be cheaper than getting a bachelor’s, and online programs are much more affordable than in-person programs.

Whatever the cost, we recommend you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ahead of time to access available federal loans. It’s also worth exploring if you qualify for special scholarships or graduate student aid. Finally, if you can afford it, saving money ahead of time is wise, which can help you reduce any post-graduation debt or even eliminate it entirely.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Coaching Programs

Best Online Master's in Coaching Degree Programs

University of South Florida

Michigan State University

Ball State University

West Virginia University

University of Arkansas

Emporia State University

Georgia Southern University

Ohio University

University of Idaho

University of Southern Mississippi

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Azusa Pacific University

University of Florida

Western Michigan University

Jacksonville State University

Drexel University

National University

Pittsburg State University

University of Denver

University of Missouri

Greenville University

SUNY Brockport

University of Northern Colorado

ECU College of Health and Human Performance

Valdosta State University

Xavier University

SUNY Cortland

Concordia University Irvine

East Tennessee State University

Western Kentucky University

Canisius College

Jackson State University

Southwest Minnesota State University

Longwood University

Fresno Pacific University

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How We Rank Schools

Our research focused on master’s-level programs in coaching and related fields. This list features several different types of degrees, including Master of Science (MS), Master of Education (M.Ed), and Master of Arts (MA).

Our list only includes programs offered by schools that have regional accreditation. Several programs also have programmatic accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). These accreditations confirm the quality of the programs and their home institutions.

All of the programs on our list are delivered entirely or primarily online. Some programs are offered in a hybrid format, allowing students to combine online and in-person courses to complete their degree requirements.

We evaluated each program based on flexibility, cost, faculty, outcomes, and reputation. Then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Coaching Program?

Any good online master’s in coaching program will help you master many skills, including practical training in strength conditioning, sports safety, and avoiding and managing sports injuries. But such programs also usually include health-adjacent training in nutrition, management-related administrative, and coaching-related sports tactics training. While this can be a lot for the average student, the diversity of the skills you will master in this graduate program will help prepare you for a similarly diverse range of careers.

If you are focusing on school full-time, most programs can be completed in 24 months, but those only attending part-time may take longer (up to 36 months). In some cases, accelerated programs may be available, which you can complete in as little as 12 months. Remember that while most online programs don’t require in-person interactions, some may require you to complete coaching activities in your local community.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in coaching program

  • Principles and Practices of Effective Coaching. This course prepares you for a future career in athletics training. Toward this end, it concentrates on both the practical aspects of problem-solving (on the field and off) and the pedagogical principles needed to teach, coach, and manage young people.
  • Ethics in Sport. This course prepares you to understand, navigate, and implement ethical values consistently, ensuring fair play and, above all else, safety.
  • Theories of Strength and Conditioning. On the most practical level, Theories of Strength and Conditioning prepares you to successfully complete the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Exam. More broadly, it helps you learn about strength and conditioning theory and practice to implement your own programs that foster a culture of healthy athletics among those you teach.
  • Sports Safety and Injury Management for Coaches. This course also has a practical goal: to help you successfully get certified in American Red Cross Sport Safety Training and First Aid for Coaches. More broadly, this course enables you to recognize emergencies as they unfold and how to get those involved the care they need. Such future situations will ideally be rare as this course emphasizes injury prevention just as much as it emphasizes treatment and rehabilitation.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Coaching Degree?

Career outlook

An online master’s degree in coaching offers a comprehensive education in the principles and practices of coaching, equipping graduates with the skills to empower individuals and teams to reach their full potential. This versatile degree opens doors to various career opportunities across different fields where coaching and leadership development are highly valued. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of coaching and scouting is growing faster than the economy as a whole, with the need for 25,300 individuals to enter the industry in the next decade to meet demand. The median annual salary for coaches and scouts is $44,890, with those in the top ten percent earning more than $93,590.

Career paths

The career outlook for individuals with a master’s degree in coaching is highly promising. As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of effective coaching and leadership development, the demand for skilled coaches is on the rise. This growth is driven by the need for organizations to enhance employee performance, foster leadership skills, and improve team dynamics. Coaches are sought after in fields such as sports, education, healthcare, and personal development. The adaptability of coaching skills allows graduates to explore diverse career paths. Here are some options to consider:

  • Recruiting coordinator — identifies and recruits talented athletes for college or professional teams
  • Health and wellness coach — helps clients set and achieve health-related goals such as weight management, fitness, or stress reduction
  • Team coach — works with sports teams, corporate teams, or other groups to improve collaboration, communication, and performance
  • Youth sports director — organizes and oversees youth sports programs
  • Sports performance analyst — uses data and video analysis to assess team and player performance

Leadership Coach

Earning Potential: $45,000-$200,000+ annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in coaching or related field, coaching certification (optional)

A leadership coach guides individuals, typically leaders and executives, in enhancing their leadership skills and effectiveness. They assess current leadership capabilities, collaborate to set specific goals, and develop personalized action plans. Coaches provide constructive feedback, encourage self-reflection, and help clients improve communication, decision-making, and interpersonal skills. They hold clients accountable for progress, boost confidence, and address leadership challenges. Leadership coaches facilitate behavior changes, enhancing leadership presence and supporting clients in achieving their objectives. Ultimately, they empower individuals to become more influential, capable, and successful leaders in their organizations and careers.

Sports Coach

Earning Potential: $24,910-$93,590 annually

Education Required: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in coaching or related field

A sports coach is responsible for guiding and developing athletes or sports teams to achieve their best performance. They design and implement training programs, focusing on skill development, conditioning, and strategy. Coaches analyze game footage to provide tactical guidance and offer constructive feedback to athletes. They motivate and inspire, instill discipline and teamwork, and help athletes overcome challenges and setbacks. Coaches also prioritize safety and injury prevention, ensuring the well-being of their athletes. Whether in team sports or individual disciplines, their role is to nurture talent, foster growth, and maximize the potential of athletes in pursuit of athletic excellence.

Life Coach

Earning Potential: $30,000-$150,000+ annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in coaching or related field, life coaching certification

A life coach assists individuals in identifying and achieving personal and professional goals, enhancing their overall well-being. Life coaches provide guidance, support, and motivation to help clients clarify their aspirations and overcome obstacles. They use active listening, questioning, and positive reinforcement to foster self-awareness and personal growth. Life coaches address various areas, including career, relationships, health, and personal development. Their role is to empower clients to make informed decisions, overcome challenges, and lead more fulfilling lives by tapping into their strengths and realizing their full potential.

Online Master’s in Coaching Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in coaching degree program?

Most online master’s in coaching programs will not require you to submit GRE scores, but it’s important to verify beforehand whether this is the case. To simplify things, we highly recommend contacting the admissions counselor(s) at your chosen school(s). Such counselors can answer your questions and verify any special application requirements, including where to send your transcripts, whether letters of recommendation are required, and the priority application deadline.

How much does an online master’s in coaching degree cost?

Most online master’s in coaching degrees cost between $12,000 and $16,000 at public schools. Private school programs are available with much higher costs, including some that cost over $30,000. Regardless of where you enroll, your overall costs will be lower because you don’t have to pay for things like room and board associated with an in-person program. Generally, the primary difference between online and in-person programs is that the online curriculum includes less hands-on training. However, some programs mitigate this by requiring you to complete coaching and physical education opportunities in your local community.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in coaching degree?

Most online master’s in coaching degree programs are designed to be completed within 24 months, the same as most in-person counterparts. That assumes you attend school full-time, with part-time students often needing as much as 36 months to complete the program. Accelerated programs may help you meet required coursework in as little as 12 months.

As with any other online program, we encourage you to consider your current schedule (including any work requirements you may have) and select a program that best suits your needs.

Is an online master’s in coaching degree worth it?

Earning an online master’s degree in coaching can be worthwhile for individuals passionate about guiding and empowering others to reach their potential. This degree equips graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in coaching roles across diverse industries. Whether out on the sports field or in the corporate boardroom, coaches play a pivotal role in guiding individuals to become their best selves.

Coaching salaries vary widely based on location, industry, and expertise. According to, an executive coach makes a median salary of $106,720 annually.

Online programs offer increased flexibility over on-campus programs, allowing students to attend classes at their convenience. This makes them particularly appealing to adult learners who have multiple personal and professional commitments. Online learners may also save money, as they will have fewer transportation costs and won’t need to pay for on-campus housing.

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