Written By - Derick de Souza

Edited By Gabriel D.

Review & Contribution By Dr. Florence Beck

For those passionate about coaching sportspersons and athletes, a master’s in coaching online is the right program that can help them make a difference in the lives of athletes and those dreaming of being the best at a particular sport. Pursuing an online coaching master’s can make prospective students the best in the business and give them the expertise to succeed in coaching any individual or team – amateur, college, or professional. This page examines every aspect of a master’s in coaching online degree program and what careers one can pursue after graduating from this degree.

Masters in Coaching Online

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

The best online master’s in coaching programs emphasize the practical application of powerful academic content and provide the tools needed to guide and influence the performance of individuals or teams. This program helps students develop an ethical and effective leadership style and helps athletes prepare to reach their goals while also guiding individual and team performance. Online master’s in coaching degree programs also address areas such as education, management, training, psychology, social sciences, neuro-linguistic modules, neuroscience, and various forms of counseling. Here are some of the best coaching master’s in the United States:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
University of Florida
341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, Florida 32611
National University
9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego, CA, United States, California
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
University of Arkansas
Administration Bldg 425, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
Ball State University
2000 University Ave, Muncie, Indiana 47306
Ohio University
020 Chubb Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
University of Denver
2199 S. University Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80208
University of Nebraska at Kearney
2504 9th Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68849
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2282, Moscow, Idaho 83844
Concordia University
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008
Georgia Southern University
1332 Southern Drive, Statesboro, Georgia 30460
Old Dominion University
5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, Virginia 23529
Greenville University
315 E. College Ave., Greenville, Illinois 62246
University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive # 0001, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406
American Public University System
111 W Congress St, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414
Emporia State University
1 Kellogg Circle, Emporia, Kansas 66801

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

A master’s in coaching online program focuses on preparing professionals who can help others cope with difficult situations in different areas of sport. Coaches teach their students to reach their full potential through hands-on practice and self-motivation. Although coaching does not necessarily teach how to complete a particular task, it uses practical tools and techniques to find unique solutions for learners to achieve their personal or professional goals in sports.

Coaching is also related to other areas such as education, management, training, psychology, social sciences, neuro-linguistic programs, and various forms of counseling. Successful coaches usually learn to apply their knowledge to themselves by first receiving personal coaching. Professional coaching uses multiple communication skills, including repeating, listening, asking, and explaining. Students who complete an athletic coaching education program will learn how to create their own coaching model based on the individual strengths and insights that people possess. Other hands-on skills include creating class schedules, building awareness of people’s strengths and weaknesses, and analytical and emotional skills.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

The master’s in coaching online degrees are nationally recognized, and students become leaders and excellent coaches at all levels upon graduating from this program. The curriculum is targeted at areas of coaching that directly impact an individual or team’s performance and keep in line with national standards. While the curriculum and coursework can differ from university to university and what specialization the student chooses, most will have similar online master’s in coaching courses, some examples of which are:

Philosophy and Ethics in Coaching

Coaching is challenging, and coaches are constantly under pressure to make decisions that impact athletes and teams and sometimes even themselves. The coaching philosophy helps them learn how to interact with the team and athletes. The subject aims to bring beliefs and principles that coaches can follow to achieve their goals.

Preventing Injuries and Sports Safety

Coaches have many responsibilities in grooming athletes and teams. They need to teach specific rules and techniques in a particular sport. Athletic ability, teamwork, and personal responsibilities are also qualities coaches want to convey to athletes. Another vital role of the coach is to prevent injury and keep team members safe on the field. This role entails many responsibilities and risks, as coaches are responsible if athletes are injured during exercise or training under their supervision. Therefore, coaches must take steps to prevent any injury and maintain the safety of athletes in their care.


Conditioning plays an integral part in coaching. Since the number one cause of athletic injury is doing too much too soon, the coach must see that training should start slowly and be considered a process. They need to see that exercises and games should start with a warm-up routine. As athletes improve their skills, the coach can increase their sport-specific warm-up time.

Skills and Tactics

The coach needs to know the best way to maximize the success of an athlete or a team. The team strategy the coach develops depends on the athletes or the team’s skills, and they should be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent. The coach’s responsibility is to ensure that athletes clearly understand the team’s strategy during a match or game. Tactical decisions are always made in the context of a specific game. They can vary from competition to competition due to many factors, such as opponent quality, field conditions, weather conditions, etc. A coach needs to see that the athletes speed up their tactical skills rather than waiting to learn by experience. They must be exposed to information and expertise to enhance their decision-making capabilities. 

Examples of a few other courses students can expect are:

  • Risk Management
  • Organization
  • Preventing Injuries and Sports Safety
  • Nutrition
  • Conditioning
  • Coaching Ethics
  • Philosophy and Ethics in Coaching
  • Skills and Tactics
  • Sports Analysis
  • Research for Coaches
  • Administration
  • Sports Psychology
  • Sport Law
  • Performance and Conditioning for Athletic Coaches
  • Analysis of Sport Performance for Coaches
  • Management and Leadership in Sport

Students will have to also opt for electives, a list of which includes:

  • Contemporary Issues in Athletic Coaching
  • Finance for Sport Coaches
  • Utilizing Technology in Athletic Coaching
  • Performance Recovery: Strategies for Coaches
  • Social Dynamics in Sport Coaching
  • Coaching Athletes with Disabilities
  • Coaching the Elite Athlete

Graduating from a master’s in coaching online program enables individuals to exhibit several skills. Some of them include the ability to:

  • carry out the necessary checks on health and fitness levels;
  • develop strategies for moral leadership that can be implemented in sporting events;
  • evaluate and synthesize evidence-based approaches concerning physiological, sociological, and psychological principles of working with athletes in various sport-related settings;
  • develop and deliver coaching programs that cater to a wide variety of groups and needs;
  • demonstrate a thorough awareness of current and future coaching trends and concerns, as well as their consequences for the coaching profession;
  • examine the impact that behavior has on health, physical fitness, and overall performance;
  • investigate opportunities in health and wellness, as well as coaching; and
  • understand one’s own self and identity as a coach, as well as the influence of culture, values, and ethics on advanced coaching;

Master’s in Coaching Degree Types

There are two types of coaching master’s degrees – the Master of Arts in Coaching and the Master of Science in Coaching. Then there is also a third option – the Master of Education in Coaching.

Master of Arts in Coaching

The Master of Arts or MA coaching online is for students who want the skills and knowledge they will need to build a coaching career that will enable them to make a difference in the lives of athletes and be successful in developing their future sports careers.

Master of Science in Coaching

The Master of Science or MS coaching online provides training in coaching methods through both analytical and independent research. The program teaches students the best strategies to learn and develop their coaching abilities and skills and prepares them to be the best in professional coaching.

Master of Education in Coaching

Another option students can consider for their coaching studies is the Master of Education in Coaching or M.Ed. in Coaching. This degree allows a student to apply different coaching principles and complex techniques in different coaching situations, which are often unpredictable. Students learn to use professional and academic knowledge to implement effective learning in the field of sports coaching and to explore the technical resources available to support the implementation of specific strategies in coaching individuals and teams.

Read more about the similarities and differences between MA vs. MS programs.

Specializations in Master’s in Coaching Programs

The master’s in coaching online is a professional degree for those interested in coaching and training individuals and teams. The online program also prepares for many career areas that are not directly related to coaching, such as sports management or health education. Establishing careers in these areas requires specialization, which enhances one’s employability. Specializations in master’s in coaching programs also help students choose different subjects in coaching that interest them. Some examples of specializations within the domain of coaching are

Coaching and Athletics Administration

The specialization in Coaching and Athletics Administration is designed to provide additional skills to students with a background in educational athletics, such as workout planning, performance improvement, fitness, health promotion, and injury assessment.

Physical Education

Physical education is a specialization where students are acquainted with the dynamics of different sporting activities. The specialization also offers knowledge and personal training on health and fitness in sports. It enables students to enhance their talent and skills in their respective fields.


This specialization prepares graduates for leadership roles in the fitness, health, recreation, and wellness industries. It includes scientific study in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and the biophysics of human movement.

Instructional Coaching

In this specialization, professionals work with teachers in regular one-on-one sessions to set goals and identify new teaching strategies to improve performance and student learning. The course teaches students how to deploy research-based strategies to ensure their target audience learns the most effective, up-to-date techniques in practice.

Sport Management

This specialization will help students learn how to overview the business aspect of a sports organization using the latest strategies and technologies. This specialization program prepares students to use critical thinking and skills to solve real-life problems in the sports profession.

Accreditation for Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

Accreditation assures students that a program or institution delivers quality education. Accreditation is accessed by agencies that oversee the academic and administrative quality of schools, educational institutions, and programs and ensure quality standards are continuously met. While some universities may not offer a programmatically accredited master’s in coaching online degree, the institution as a whole may be accredited by one of the following authorized accrediting bodies:

Some universities offer accredited master’s in coaching online – where the degree program is specifically accredited. These may be accredited by independent bodies such as:

  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)[1] – The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) promotes fairness and excellence in educator preparation by ensuring quality and supporting continuous improvement to improve P-12 student learning through evidence-based accreditation.
  • National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE)[2] – The National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) is the leading authority on coaching education in the United States. NCACE provides accreditation and national recognition to sports organizations and schools that train coaches at all levels of competition.
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)[3] – The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) is a non-profit organization that serves the public and the sporting profession by establishing and enforcing accreditation standards that promote quality outcomes, continuous improvement, innovation, and diversity in athletic training education.

Find out why accreditation is critical to higher education from the Accreditation Guide.

Timeline for graduation from Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

The length of the online master’s in coaching program may vary by university and may also depend upon the course selection and structure of the program. Some universities allow students to study at their own pace, leading to late graduation. Graduation times are shorter for those who choose to learn full-time over part-time. Some universities offer flexibility for employed individuals and allow them to put in fewer hours per week to complete the program, resulting in an extended duration. Typically, online master’s in coaching programs are two years and require students to complete between 30 to 36 credits. Part-time students may need 2 to 4 years to complete the degree program.

Master’s in Coaching Online Programs Admission Requirements

Applying for a master’s in coaching online program usually requires a bachelor’s degree from a reputed accredited institution. Some institutions or universities may prefer candidates with a background in physical education or with coaching experience. Admission usually does not require a standardized test score, but applicants are often expected to meet certain GPA requirements. 

Common admission requirements for a coaching master’s across most universities are:

Additionally, some universities may require proof of language fluency for non-native speakers of English. This requirement is waived for those students who have completed any bachelor’s or master’s degree in the U.S.

No GRE Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

Most colleges in the United States require a GRE score to enroll in a master’s degree program. While this is also usually the case for coaching master’s programs, colleges have increasingly done away with this requirement in recent years. Therefore, depending on the university and the program structure, it is possible for students to apply for a master’s in coaching no GRE program, provided they meet other prescribed admissions criteria. A couple of examples of such programs are:

  • Ohio University – offers a Master’s in Coaching Education Online that does not require a GRE score.
  • Western Michigan University – offers a Master of Arts in Sports Coaching that does not require a GRE score.

Accelerated Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

It is common for a university to offer a master’s in coaching that can be completed in less than two years. Students can reduce the completion time by choosing a fast-track program or using credit transfers. Some universities offer accelerated online master’s in coaching to help applicants complete the program faster than the usual two-year schedule. Here are some examples of universities offering an accelerated online master’s in coaching:

  1. Adams State University – Colorado – Adams State University offers an accelerated online master’s in coaching and has a wide range of courses that provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become high-profile coaches.
  2. Louisiana State University – Louisiana State University offers an accelerated online master in science in coaching program where the student can complete the course in one year.
  3. Angelo State University – Angelo State University offers affordable online accelerated master’s in coaching. Any student who has an undergraduate degree in kinesiology, athlete training, sports science, or a sports-related field can apply.

Free Coaching Courses Online

Many universities and online learning portals offer free master’s in coaching courses. Although these free courses do not grant a degree, they help students get information and understand what to expect when enrolling in a master’s in coaching program. These courses can also help with examinations and gaining additional insights into coaching and sports. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Science of Training Young Athletes[4]
    This course is filled with useful sports science knowledge that gives parents and youth coaches the pediatric sports science insights they need to successfully retain young athletes and help them reach their full sporting potential while preventing overtraining and injuries. 
  2. Sports Safety & Risk Management[5]
    This course highlights how safety must be a core value of athletic culture and a requirement for a healthy lifestyle. Learners will gain knowledge of five rules that encourage sports safety and five rules that address risks in sports.
  3. Exploring Sport Coaching and Psychology[6]
    This course examines the impact of coaching and psychology through the eyes of successful athletes and teams. Emphasis is on the coaching methods employed with youth and adults and insights and counsel from experts in related fields.

How to Pay for Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

Online master’s in coaching programs are readily available throughout the United States but are often expensive to pursue. Students need to plan their budget for boarding, stationery, transport, food, etc., alongside tuition fees. However, students who opt for online programs have a lesser burden on expenditure, not having to factor in such components in their budget. Nevertheless, they need to pay tuition fees increasing every year and costing thousands of dollars. Fortunately, financial aid provided by universities, the Federal Government, and other sources often ease the cost burden to a large extent. Listed below are a few sources of such financial aid for students to consider:


Scholarships, often awarded by universities, religious institutions, bursaries, individuals, etc., are payments made to assist students’ education. There are various types of scholarships, the most common being merit-based scholarships. Students who have an excellent academic record are eligible for merit-based scholarships. (Read about  Scholarship Scams to avoid being scammed online.)


Grants are a form of financial assistance given to students on a case-to-case basis, depending on their financial needs. Grants usually are need-based and can cover all education costs in addition to tuition fees.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are provided against a stipend or a partial fee waiver for students who work part-time in the same institution as assisting faculty or students in teaching, projects, or workshops.

Student loans

A student loan or education loan is a sum of money a student borrows from banks or financial institutions to fund their education-related expenses, which covers the cost of tuition, books, educational supplies, and living expenses while the borrower is in the process of pursuing a degree. Education loans have a low rate of interest as compared to other loans. The student has the flexibility to repay the loan after completing the program. However, loans are sanctioned based on the student’s eligibility criteria, and missed repayments have serious ramifications.


Students can apply for aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which most may be eligible for. More information on FAFA is available here.

To know all the ways one can fund a college education, read the Best Guide to Financial Aid.

Scholarships for Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

Scholarships are awards that need not be repaid and are usually given to students who have an excellent academic record or have excelled in other areas such as sports. Ethic groups and specific communities and religious organizations, and even online master’s in coaching schools, give out scholarships to their members who are students. Here is a scholarship example coaching master’s students can explore:

NSCA Foundation Scholarships[7]

The National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation (NSCAF) offers scholarships to those in educational and research pursuits that enhance the practical application of strength and conditioning. Prospective candidates must be a member of the NSCA when applying.

Award Amount: Varies 

Application Deadline: October 15, annually

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Coaching Online Graduates

One of the biggest aspects of American culture is sports; it has become a passion for students to become athletes or very successful coaches. With so many national and international clubs and organizations nationwide looking for individuals passionate about coaching, sports science, and physical fitness, graduates of online master’s in coaching can easily become employable with high salaries. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is a predicted increase of 9%  in employment for coaching jobs between 2022 and 2032[8].

Students who complete a coaching online master’s can land work as an assistant coach or senior coach with national and international clubs, sporting organizations, or educational institutions. Apart from coaching sportspersons on the field, they can work in administrative and leadership roles and also be part of the recreational sports industry. Listed below are a few typical roles master’s in coaching graduates take up after graduation, along with their annual median salary (December 2023) as reported by Salary.com:

  1. Personal Trainer$67,012
    Clients who prefer one-on-one sessions prefer a personal trainer. Personal trainers help clients exercise using specific workout routines and plans. They provide personalized health, diet, and exercise advice as well.
  2. Sports Performance Coach$36,214
    Sports Performance Coaches are professional coaches for athletes, sports teams, corporate teams, university teams, or school groups and work closely with them to improve their performance. They play an essential role in encouraging people to participate in sporting activities. A sports performance coach aims to enhance skills by identifying, planning, and implementing training programs.
  3. Sports Therapist – $83,190
    Sports Therapists specialize in sports and exercise-related injuries. They advise on how to avoid injury in the first place. They are trained to conduct fitness tests on people involved in sports or exercise and specialize in providing emergency aid in a sports environment. Sports Therapists also help clients develop strategies to avoid serious injuries while engaging in sporting activities.
  4. Fitness Instructor – $46,186
    Fitness Instructors are generally personal trainers who conduct training and fitness programs for individuals and groups. They assign clients to exercise routines and weight loss programs based on their needs and monitor their progress, helping them to reach the client’s goals.
  5. Gym Manager – $44,676
    Gym Managers are responsible for managing all activities, facilities, and fitness equipment within the center. They are responsible for hiring fitness trainers and ensuring members enjoy their workout sessions in a safe environment.
  6. Athletic Coach – $51,694
    Athletic Coaches are responsible for conducting workouts and training sessions for individuals and teams. They also monitor individual and team progress to optimize the best possible performance in competitive sports.

Here are a few other examples of career titles and average annual remuneration that online master’s in coaching graduates can expect:

Certifications and Licensing for Coaching Graduates

A master’s in coaching online helps students build confidence in clients, recognize talents, and add quality and strength to their coaching career. Generally, a master’s in coaching is sufficient for starting a coaching job, as most graduates will not require additional certification or licensing. However, those who wish to teach in schools may require undergoing some educational training and certification.

Additional Resources for Coaching Professionals

A coach should always have new ideas and strategies to compete in the sports industry. Additionally, research and analysis play an important role in being a successful coach. Therefore, adding extra resources for enhancing knowledge in coaching is always an advantage. Here are some excellent resources for online masters in coaching students and working professionals:

  1. Sports Coach America  – Sports Coach America is a resource for sports coaches that assists them when faced with a professional or personal life transition and helps improve their skills in leading a team or sports program.
  2. National Federation of State High School Coaches Association (NFHSCA) – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHSCA) sets competition and playing rules for high school sports teams nationwide. More than 18,500 high schools and 11 million students participate in sporting programs, thanks to the organization and its member associations. Members are eligible for state, sectional, and national honors, insurance coverage, and an online learning center with sports-specific coaching courses.
  3. i9 Sports – i9 Sports provides training and a variety of sport-specific skill videos, ideas, strategies, and skills needed to compete in and win any game. i9 Sports offers extra resources coaches need to be experts, whether on or off the field. 
  4. Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America – SHAPE America is a vast resource for coaches to connect with professional coaches who conduct much-needed research and teach future coaching professionals.
  5. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) – The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is a professional organization that aims to advance the strength and conditioning profession. It has over 45,000 members and trained professionals. Publications, continuing education webinars, career assistance, scholarship and grant applications, and savings on products, services, and events are all available to members.

FAQs About Master’s in Coaching Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a master’s in coaching degree?

A master’s in coaching degree uses effective tools and techniques to find unique solutions for students to achieve their personal or professional goals in sports training and coaching. Master’s in coaching online degree programs have various courses in diversified areas such as education, athletic training, psychology, neuroscience, neuro-linguistic programming, social sciences, and counseling.

Do I need to be an athlete to get a master’s in coaching degree?

What can I do with a master’s in coaching degree?

Is a coaching master’s degree worth it?

What is the difference between athletic coaching and sports coaching?

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