By University of Phoenix
Coaches help student-athletes improve their performance in a range of competitive sports. Whether leading students in rec-league soccer or preparing football players to play in the NCAA, coaches instruct, teach and inspire.
But how do you become a high school teacher who can coach, and do you need a college degree? Coaches are often teachers who take on coaching duties, including after school hours. This means most coaches need some higher education but not necessarily all need it.
If you are interested in becoming a high school coach, consider starting as a teacher. You can then consider a coaching role and start growing your experience leading youth athletes. Here’s what you need to know.
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Every school and district has its own policies regarding who can work as a high school coach. Some schools require coaches to also be full-time teachers with a teaching degree or certificate, and follow the same hiring process as any other educator.
There are some exceptions for niche roles within the school. A high school might have an athletic director on staff who works as part of the administration team. This person usually manages the budget for sports and guides the teachers who also work as coaches.
There are multiple similarities between teachers and coaches in high school. Both teach skills to high school students, for example, while preparing them for life after graduation.
While teachers, generally speaking, may focus on an array of subjects, like English, history or math, teachers who choose to be coaches typically specialize in health and physical education during their teaching hours.
Work history also plays a role in qualifying for a high school coaching role. Coaches rely on several important skills when working effectively with students. These are:
High school coaches also need a deep understanding of the sports they oversee in order to lead their teams.
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Not all schools have the budget to hire full-time coaches. Instead, they offer extra pay to educators who are willing to step into coaching roles. Because many high school sports teams meet after school, these teachers need to work longer hours than other teachers.
While a high school might have a dedicated coach for a major sport like basketball or football, few institutions have the money to finance coaches for every single sport the school offers. This means you might have a better chance at a coaching role if you already work as a PE teacher or other educator first.
Teachers’ salaries are a great place to start when looking for average pay for a high school coach. As of May 2021, the salary for high school teachers ranged between $46,090 and $100,310 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, this salary varies by state, district and other factors.
Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
Many professional coaches have to follow the same path as K-12 teachers, who must earn education and certification credentials. Many schools prefer to hire teachers or administrators for coaching roles because those employees already know how the education environment works.
If high school coaching is your ideal outcome, here are a few steps you can take.
Most states require at least a bachelor’s degree to work at a K-12 school. Consider completing this degree if you haven’t already and think about what kind of degree program would help you lead a classroom effectively.
After you secure a bachelor’s degree, check your state licensure requirements for teaching. You may need a certain number of field hours to pass a test to receive your certification. Some states expect you to renew this certification every few years.
Many districts have additional requirements for teachers and coaches before they are ready to work at a school, including fingerprinting and background checks. Seek out CPR certification and other first-aid training that could prepare you to work with athletes as well as for classroom emergencies.
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While a bachelor’s degree in education is the program most aligned with the duties of a high school coach, other bachelor’s degree programs can be sufficient if you are trying to earn a state teaching license. You do not necessarily need a teaching degree to become a teacher.
Keep in mind that each state has its own requirements for coaching, so brush up on local requirements to see what applies to you. And, if you don’t currently work in a high school but would like to coach someday, you can potentially:
Multiple paths lead to working as a high school coach, which can be incredibly rewarding as you teach students the tools to succeed on and off the field. However, you can further this impact by working with all students as a teacher. Consider entering the teaching field if you are passionate about helping the next generation of young adults navigate their time in high school.
While University of Phoenix does not have a direct degree or certificate that can lead to a position as a high school sports coach, it does offer education degrees that prepare graduates for teaching positions.
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