One of the best bachelor’s in coaching degrees will catapult you to the fulfilling career in sports that you’ve always imagined.
Do you want to learn how to run a drill and build the camaraderie in your team? Or how about rising in the ranks in the sports department you dream of joining? Coaching degrees have countless benefits. They provide the many tools required to join and empower any sports team, no matter your role. And nowhere can you learn these tools quicker than the 10 Best Bachelor’s in Coaching programs.
Coaching is as founded in theory as any subject you may learn in university. Sure, there are some natural coaches, but even natural coaches can benefit from formal education, not to mention the utility of a university degree. Let’s get back to the theory of coaching for a minute. Psychology is a science, and so is kinesiology. These complex subjects make up a significant portion of coaching programs.
In the 10 Best Bachelor’s in Coaching programs, you can learn the many subjects that will maximize your effectiveness as a coach. So if coaching is your dream or your launch point to chase your dreams, what are you waiting for?
What Is a Coaching Degree?
Coaching comprises dozens of techniques and teaching areas. It’s one of the most dynamic jobs out there. As a coach, you must motivate and harness the potential of your team, but you also must plan logistics. And as much as you may want to focus on running strength exercises, you also have to focus on the administrative aspect of coaching.
It’s challenging to pick up each of these skills in the field. But it’s far easier in a structured setting, and that’s what a bachelor’s in coaching degree provides. Each program is unique, but coaching students can take classes like Sport & Exercise Psychology, Coaching Dynamics, and Administration and Organization in Sport and Recreation.
Requirements to join different coaching programs also vary. At the bare minimum, you want to make sure you have the following:
- A 2.5 GPA or higher (although some schools may grant exceptions) Other schools only admit students with a 3.0 or higher GPA
- SAT or ACT scores
- At least one letter of recommendation
- Strong writing skills to prove your worth in an entrance essay
Careers for Coaching Majors
Graduates from coaching programs have access to dozens of careers. Many are coaches, participating in everything from little league baseball to minor league hockey to professional football. And while some people choose hands-on coaching opportunities, others harness their coaching abilities to become administrators in athletic departments.
Many coaching graduates also become scouts. The scouting profession requires a unique skill set. Mainly, you have to be able to recognize a player’s on-field abilities. Thus, you must be knowledgeable in the sport for which you’re scouting. But you also have to understand a player’s attitude and potential, which are skills developed in coaching programs.
Schooling is critical for coaches, and going to a master’s or doctoral program can increase your salary and abilities as a coach. As important as going to school, though, is your knowledge of the game. Coaching programs teach you the science and techniques of coaching, but the expertise of a sport can only be gained through hands-on experience.
Coaching Salary Potential
As a coach or administrator in a sports department, your profession should be driven by your love of the game at least as much as the money you earn. Coaching jobs won’t leave you broke, but they aren’t likely to help you accumulate a hefty retirement fund, either. But if you’re doing it right, your desire to coach will give you all of the satisfaction you need. And if you excel enough, you can become the next Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, or John Calipari.
The following statistics, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will give you an idea of the average income of a few coaching-related professions:
- Public and private university coaches and scouts earn an average of $46,180 per year. Some make a lot more, but they form a small minority of coaches.
- Elementary, middle, and high school coaches and scouts earn an average of $29,960 per year.
- Recreational league coaches earn an average of $37,320 per year.
What Are the Best Coaching Degrees?
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Mississippi State University
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By our standards, Mississippi State University has the best physical education and coaching program in the United States. It’s well-designed, affordable, and filled with faculty who know precisely what they’re doing. This program caters to students who wish to become a physical education teacher. It’s designed to prepare you for the Praxis exam and decades of success as a teacher.
Some courses that make up the curriculum are Evaluating Learning, Methods of Elementary PE, and the Psychology & Education of Exceptional Children and Youth. These classes focus on the frameworks and science of coaching, but other courses like Coaching Sports concentrate more on the teaching of sports.
Students have a few requirements that follow their curriculum. They must pass the Praxis I exam by the end of their Freshman year, gain admission into teacher education by junior year, and pass the Praxis II exam before student teaching in the senior year. These requirements keep students on track for a successful university experience and the tools to organize their lives beyond school.
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Are you a Christian-minded sports enthusiast who wants to find a program that bridges coaching and God? And do you want to learn how to mix the two as a coach? If so, Liberty University is your best option. The school is founded on a biblical worldview, but it also has one of the best sports coaching degrees in the nation.
Some Christian-focused classes are Evangelism and the Christian Life, Introduction to Biblical Worldview, Old Testament Survey, and New Testament Survey. These courses will inform and expand your Christian understanding, giving you the knowledge to teach this material to others.
Several of the coaching courses are Motor Learning, Introduction to Coaching, Coaching Dynamics, and Communication in Sport. All of the best coaching programs—secular and religious—offer these classes. But Liberty University sets a high standard for its faculty and students, making Liberty University a model for similar programs across the nation.
University of Northern Colorado
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The University of Northern Colorado offers an excellent Bachelor of Science in sports coaching degree. No matter your sports interest or preferred age range of your teams, the University of Colorado will impart the knowledge required to flourish as a coach in any context. This program is unique because it provides field experience with highly esteemed faculty, many of whom double as accomplished coaches.
While aspiring sports coaches should have an intermediate or advanced understanding of the sport they wish to coach, UNCO also offers several electives for teaching a dozen different sports. From volleyball to tennis to swimming and track, the well-rounded curriculum provides opportunities for all types of coaches.
Besides sport-specific classes, enrolled students at UNCO take courses like Advanced First Aid Kit and CPR, Fitness Management, Teaching Diverse Populations, and Principles of Coaching. These classes are appropriate whether you want to teach Pop Warner football or professionals.
Oklahoma State University
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Every university program is unique. Some stand out for an emphasis on real-world experience, while others focus on Christianity as much as coaching. Oklahoma State University stands out for its well-rounded curriculum, focusing on the arts and soft sciences almost as much as coaching. This program is excellent, and given the reputation of OSU sports teams, you can trust the school’s ability to design a sports coaching curriculum.
This Bachelor of Science in sports and coaching science program offers many fantastic courses like Biomechanics, Motor Learning, Applied Anatomy, and Pedagogy of Team Activities. Students must obtain a C or better in each course and a 2.75 GPA or higher to graduate from the program.
OSU students also take about a dozen liberal arts classes. Some of these are American History to 1865, Technical Writing, and Composition I. While these classes may not sound necessary, they teach essential skills and, more importantly, they teach you how to learn.
University of Mary
Bismarck, North Dakota
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The University of Mary’s Bachelor of Science in coaching and sports studies is one of the most dynamic degrees on this list. While other programs specifically cater to aspiring coaches or aspiring sports administrators, this degree suits students who want any involvement in the non-playing side of sports. So whether your interest is in sports programming, coaching, youth administration, or athletic administration, the University of Mary will be a good fit.
Also unique to the University of Mary is its year-round campus. With schooling all year long, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 2.6 years. If you’re itching to get out into the professional world, this program is your best option.
The curriculum of this program is well-balanced, too. Students take classes like Ethics, Survey of Human Anatomy, Human Biology, Coaching Methods, and Medical Terminology. The study plan fosters the development of science-backed coaching theory.
University of Central Florida
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The state schools across Florida are known for their robust sports programs. The University of Central Florida particularly stands out for its expertly-designed, affordable, accessible, and promising Bachelor of Science in sport and athletic coaching program. The program is specific — if your goals lie anywhere outside of coaching, this program is not for you.
If you want to be a coach, though, you can hardly do better than UCF. Some classes students take are Exercise Physiology Anatomy, Coaching Theory, Nutrition and Metabolism in Kinesiology, and Applied Biomechanics.
Admissions for the University of Central Florida are relatively lenient. To join the program, students must graduate high school with a 2.5 GPA or higher, meet the Gordon Rule requirement, have some experience learning a foreign language, and submit application essays. Because the school isn’t heavily competitive, it’s an excellent option for underachievers. But whether you slacked off or not in high school, you will be impressed by UCF’s coaching program.
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Our diets and exercise routines inform how long we live, the activities we can perform, and our capabilities as athletes and non-athletes alike. Life University offers a program slightly different from the others on this list. Rather than focusing on coaching sports, Life University offers a Bachelor of Science in health coaching.
Health coaching is a useful skill for athletic trainers, coaches, sports administrators, corporate health administrators, and more. This program won’t teach you the hands-on tools to teach a sport; if sports are your focus, choose another program on this list. But if you’re interested in the health outcomes that create great athletes, consider this program.
This degree program contains 188 credit hours of classes. The 188 credit hours comprise science, health, health coaching, communication, and social science classes. To graduate from this program, students need a 2.0 GPA, a recommendation for graduation, and at least one year of attending classes at Life University.
West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
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West Virginia University is no stranger to college sports fans. The school consistently puts out A-grade football, baseball, rifling, and basketball teams. With a robust sports program, the school also offers fantastic options for students who wish to become coaches, or otherwise be involved in sports teams. It also provides one of the best programs of any school with a traditional college setting.
The school’s coaching and performance science program is one of the best in the nation. Students at this program choose one of the following three concentrations: coaching and leadership, strength and conditioning, or applied sport science. Notably, West Virginia University offers the only applied sport science concentration in the nation.
Some sample courses for prospective students are Applied Sport Science Statistics, Athletic Coaching Administration, Principles of Leadership, and Sport Specific Strength and Conditioning Techniques. Your exact curriculum will depend on your specialization; this list includes courses from each of the three concentrations.
Western New England University
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Schooling isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some people get their undergraduate degree and get out as fast as they can. Others, though, love learning, and they recognize the value of a graduate degree. For the latter group, Western New England University is for you. The school offers a combined five-year Bachelor and Master of Science degree in sport leadership and coaching.
This program suits students who want to be hands-on coaches and those who wish to lead athletic departments. Prospective students should note that because the program is offered through WNEU’s College of Business, it’s an excellent preparatory degree, especially for those who want to manage and lead teams.
Students in this paired program take classes like Foundations of Leadership Practice; Sport Analytics and Data-Driven Decision Making; and Resource Development and Program Promotion for Sport and Athletic Organizations. As you can see, the curriculum weighs the business aspect of sports more heavily than the coaching aspect. But if sports administration is what you’re looking for, consider Western New England University.
Cortland, New York
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Coaching is an art, skill, and science. Thus, it can be challenging to gain knowledge in all the many facets required of a good coach. Thankfully, SUNY Cortland has wrapped up the necessary skills in an accessible and affordable package. The school’s Bachelor of Science in coaching program focuses on imparting the many frameworks and theories that every coach should know.
SUNY Cortland students enroll in the following classes: Biomechanics, Philosophy of Sport, Social Psychological Aspects of Physical Activity, Ethics in Sport, and more. These classes provide students the foundation to run a drill, but also to analyze their teams’ players and maximize their potential.
The Kinesiology department is SUNY Cortland’s largest department, with 838 students. That means that students have access to many resources, esteemed professors, and interaction with hundreds of motivated peers. Additionally, SUNY Cortland provides several scholarships for students who demonstrate excellence in the field.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out The 15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Fitness and Personal Training and The 15 Best Online Master’s in Health Science!