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How Much Does a High School Coach Make?

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For the Love of the Game, Coaches Teach and Inspire

High school coaches teach and motivate young athletes, supervise practices and advise players during competition. Some coaches specialize in a single sport, while others coach different sports according to the season. A number of factors contribute to a wide variation in salary. On average, athletic coaches make $39,143 per year. Certified teachers who coach earn more. The national median salary for high school teachers is $58,030, meaning that half earn more and half earn less. Coaches can put in long hours during a season, so consider the impact on your family before seeking a position.

Job Duties

Coaches hold tryouts for a sport before the season begins. Depending on the sport, the coach assigns students to positions. Coaches design and supervise practice strategies and routines. They may work with students before or after school and on weekends, and they must travel to different locations with teams for competition. If the coach is also a high school teacher, as many are, the work week during the sports season can be 50 to 60 hours, or more. There can be considerable stress in coaching, especially on game day.

Education Requirements

Coaches must have a thorough knowledge of the rules and requirements for a sport, which they acquire through study and their own participation. Although there is no formal education requirement, many coaches have at least a bachelor's degree in physical education, sports science, exercise physiology or a related field. Coaching is often a part-time position at a high school, combined with other teaching duties. In that case, the coach must have a degree in the content area taught as well as state certification as a teacher.

Coaches typically undergo background and drug tests, and they must be certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Requirements vary from state to state; the hiring school will help guide a new coach through the necessary steps for employment.

Coaches can voluntarily certify through the National High School Coaches Association. The certification program includes instruction in sports law, first aid, ethics, sports science and coaching fundamentals. Though not a requirement, the certification may be an important credential in the job search.

Salary Variations

Salaries depend on the school and the sport. In Texas, for example, fans take high school football very seriously and the coaches' compensation reflects it. While the average high school teacher in the state makes $55,000 a year, each of the top 10 high school football coaches makes more than $124,000 per year, even topping the salaries of some school administrators. Football is generally the most lucrative coaching field; coaches for other sports typically earn less.

Job Outlook

With population growth and increased popularity of coached sports for young men and young women, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 6 percent more coaching positions over the next decade.