Jobs, Salaries and Career after Masters in Sport and Fitness Management - Updated 2020

2018 median Pay for Sport and Fitness Management

The median annual wage for coaches and scouts was $33,780 in May 2018.


Pay

These scouts collect information on the athlete and help sell his or her talents to potential colleges. At the college level, scouts typically work for scouting organizations or are self-employed. In either case, they help colleges recruit the best high school athletes. Scouts who work at the professional level are typically employed by the team or organization directly. Those people who coach and scout for outdoor sports may be exposed to all weather conditions of the season. In addition, they must travel often to attend sporting events. This is particularly true for those in professional sports. Work Schedules Work hours can vary for coaches and scouts and may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Professional or college coaches may work additional hours during the sport’s season.



Best paying jobs for Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management - Updated 2020


Number of Jobs for Sport and Fitness Management

Number of Jobs in 2018 was 276,100


Education required

Bachelor's degree


Job Outlook for Sport and Fitness Management

Employment of coaches and scouts is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing participation in high school and college sports may boost demand for coaches and scouts.


Job description of Sport and Fitness Management

Coaches teach amateur and professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Scouts look for new players, evaluating their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level. Many coaches also are involved in scouting potential athletes.

Duties

Coaches typically do the following:

  • Plan, organize, and conduct practice sessions
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and opposing teams
  • Plan strategies and choose team members for each game
  • Provide direction, encouragement, and motivation to prepare athletes for games
  • Call plays and make decisions about strategy and player substitutions during games
  • Plan and direct physical conditioning programs that enable athletes to achieve maximum performance
  • Instruct athletes on proper techniques, game strategies, sportsmanship, and the rules of the sport
  • Keep records of athletes’ and opponents’ performances
  • Identify and recruit potential athletes
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

Coaches teach professional and amateur athletes the fundamental skills of individual and team sports. They hold training and practice sessions to improve the athletes’ form, technique, skills, and stamina. Along with refining athletes’ individual skills, coaches are responsible for instilling in their players the importance of good sportsmanship, a competitive spirit, and teamwork.

Many coaches evaluate their opponents to determine game strategies and to establish particular plays to practice. During competition, coaches call specific plays intended to surprise or overpower the opponent, and they may substitute players to achieve optimum team chemistry and success.

Many high school coaches are primarily academic teachers or other school administrators who supplement their income by coaching part time.

Coaches may assign specific drills and correct athletes’ techniques. They may also spend their time working one-on-one with athletes, designing customized training programs for each individual. Coaches may specialize in teaching the skills of an individual sport, such as tennis, golf, or ice skating. Some coaches, such as baseball coaches, may teach individual athletes involved in team sports.

Scouts typically do the following:

  • Read newspapers and other news sources to find athletes to consider
  • Attend games, view videotapes of the athletes’ performances, and study statistics about the athletes to determine their talent and potential
  • Talk to the athlete and the coaches to see if the athlete has what it takes to succeed
  • Report to the coach, manager, or owner of the team for which he or she is scouting
  • Arrange for and offer incentives to prospective players

Scouts evaluate the skills of both amateur and professional athletes. Scouts seek out top athletic candidates for colleges or professional teams and evaluate their likelihood of success at a higher competitive level.


How to become Sport and Fitness Management

Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree. They also must have extensive knowledge of the sport. Coaches typically gain this knowledge through their own experiences playing the sport at some level. Although previous playing experience may be beneficial, it is not required for most scouting jobs.

Education

College and professional coaches usually must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in any subject. However, some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, or sports medicine.

High schools typically hire teachers or administrators at the school for most coaching jobs. If no suitable teacher is found, schools hire a qualified candidate from outside the school. For more information on education requirements for teachers, see the profile on high school teachers. 

Like coaches, scouts must typically have a bachelor’s degree. Some scouts decide to get a degree in business, marketing, sales, or sports management.

Other Experience

College and professional coaching jobs typically require experience playing the sport at some level.

Scouting jobs typically do not require experience playing a sport at the college or professional level, but doing so can be beneficial. Employers look for applicants with a passion for sports and an ability to spot young players who have exceptional athletic ability and skills.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most state high school athletic associations require coaches to be certified or at least complete mandatory education courses.

Certification often requires coaches to be a minimum age (at least 18 years old) and be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Some states also require coaches to attend classes related to sports safety and coaching fundamentals prior to becoming certified. For information about specific state coaching requirements, contact the state’s high school athletic association or visit the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Although most public high school coaches need to meet these state requirements in order to become a coach, certification may not be required for coaching jobs in private schools.

Some schools may require coaches to have a teaching license and complete a background check.

Certification requirements for college coaching positions also vary.

Additional certification may be highly desirable or even required for someone to coach individual sports such as tennis or golf. There are many certifying organizations specific to the various sports, and their requirements vary.

Part-time workers and those in smaller facilities or youth leagues are less likely to need formal education or training and may not need certification.

Advancement

To reach the rank of a professional coach, a candidate usually needs years of coaching experience and a winning record at a college. Some coaches may not have previous coaching experience but are nevertheless hired at the professional level because of their success as an athlete in their sport.

Some college coaches begin their careers as graduate assistants or assistant coaches in order to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become a head coach. Large schools and colleges that compete at the highest levels require a head coach who has had substantial experience at another school or as an assistant coach.

Other college coaches may start out as high school coaches before moving up to the collegiate level.

Scouts may begin working as talent spotters in a particular area or region. They typically advance to become supervising scouts responsible for a whole territory or region.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Because coaches instruct, organize, and motivate athletes, they must have excellent communication skills. They must communicate proper techniques, strategies, and rules of the sport effectively enough that every player on the team understands what he or she has been told.

Decisionmaking skills. Coaches must choose the appropriate players to use at a given position at a given time during a game and must know the proper time to utilize game-managing tools such as timeouts. Coaches and scouts must also be very selective when recruiting players.

Dedication. Coaches must attend daily practices and assist their team and individual athletes in improving their skills and physical conditioning. Coaches must be dedicated to their sport, as it often takes years to become successful.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to relate to athletes helps coaches and scouts foster positive relationships with their current players and recruit potential players.

Leadership skills. Coaches must demonstrate good leadership skills to get the most out of athletes. They must be able to motivate, develop, and direct young athletes.

Resourcefulness. Coaches must find and develop a game plan and strategy that yields the best chances for winning. Coaches often need to create original plays or formations that provide a competitive advantage and confuse opponents.


What people in similar profession do

Job Title What they do How to become one
Health and Physical Education Athletes and sports competitors participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators. No formal educational credential is required for anyone to become an athlete or sports competitor. Athletes must have superior athletic talent and extensive knowledge of their sport. They usually get such knowledge through years of experience at lower levels of competition. Education Although athletes and sports competitors typically have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, no formal educational credential is required for them to enter the occupation.
Sport and Fitness Management Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Scouts look for new players and evaluate their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level. Many coaches also are involved in scouting. Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree. They also must have extensive knowledge of the sport. Coaches typically gain this knowledge through their own experiences playing the sport at some level.
Kinesiology and Exercise Science Exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help patients recover from chronic diseases and improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility. Exercise physiologists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Degree programs include science and health-related courses, such as biology, anatomy, kinesiology, and nutrition, as well as clinical work. Education Exercise physiologists typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. Master’s degree programs also are available.

Job Outlook for other majors in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management

Job Title Number of jobs Median Salary Job outlook
Health and Physical Education 11800 $50650 As fast as average
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 15100 $49270 Faster than average