Why This Matters

  • SPORTS INDUSTRY WORTH $614 BILLION BY 2022

    Thanks to rapid urbanization and emerging markets growth around the world, the global sports industry is expected to grow by 5.9% within the next few years, creating an opportunity-rich field for new graduates.

  • DEMAND FOR COACHES AND SCOUTS RISING 11%

    As participation in high school and college athletics increases, the need for more coaches and scouts is growing as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30,500 new jobs in this field by 2028.

  • 5,900 NEW ATHLETIC TRAINER JOBS EXPECTED

    Another fast-growing occupation related to coaching and athletics is that of an athletic trainer. These positions are increasingly in-demand in school sports programs, as well as fitness centers and hospitals.

Our Research

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 are confirmations of the quality of the programs and their home institutions.

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

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, cost, faculty, outcomes, and reputation. Then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in coaching program will provide affordable, quality preparation for your future career. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 70 hours to write this article
  • 175 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 333 education programs we compared

The Top 40 Online Master’s in Coaching

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Coaching is a bachelor’s-level entry field, meaning an undergraduate degree is typically the minimum level of education needed to obtain jobs in the field. A master’s degree is best suited for individuals who are looking to enter coaching from a different educational or professional background. It can also provide you with more in-depth knowledge of leadership techniques, human physical development, kinesiology, and exercise science.

Knowledge of the particular sport you plan to coach is essential. Most coaches gain this knowledge through playing the sport themselves. Before pursuing a master’s in coaching degree, consider your experience, and if you have adequate expertise in a sport to be an effective coach.

Coaches in public schools must adhere to the regulations set forth by the state’s high school athletic association. These regulations may include certification, and training in areas like first aid and CPR. You can find out more about your state’s coaching requirements through the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Working with athletes in a real-world setting is a key component of coaching education. Even if programs deliver the bulk of their coursework online, you may still be expected to participate in experiential learning courses. Review the program’s curriculum carefully to confirm what the in-person expectations are, and make arrangements to accommodate them in your schedule.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Coaching programs:

  • How are courses in this program delivered? Distance learning programs are usually delivered through synchronous or asynchronous classes. In synchronous classes, students are required to attend classes remotely at set times throughout the term. In asynchronous classes, students can access lessons and assignments on their own schedule. Determine which type of delivery method works best for you when researching online programs.
  • Does this program offer the specialization that I want? Many master’s in coaching programs offer students the opportunity to focus on a particular area related to coaching, such as athletics administration, coaching pedagogy, or human performance. If you are interested in developing a specialization, be sure to select a program that offers coursework in your area of interest.

As you research programs, review their application requirements and deadlines, and start collecting the necessary admissions materials. You can find out this information online, or by contacting the school’s admissions department directly.

Also consider how you will finance your degree. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers any tuition benefits. You should also research scholarships, assistantships and loans.