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The Average Salary of a High School Athletic Director

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High school athletic directors oversee all the sports and athletic operations at a high school, including taking care of team logistics, hiring coaches and other athletic department staff, and communicating with the media about school athletic programs. Athletic directors typically need at least a bachelor's degree; certain positions require a master's degree in education administration or a similar topic. Athletic directors should be physically fit, have good communication skills and be able to create budgets for athletic programs. Their salaries depend on the school budget, education level and experience.

Basic Salary Information

According to State University, the median salary for all athletic directors, including those at both high schools and colleges, is $77,740. The Online Sports website indicates a salary range of $25,000 to $70,000 for high school athletic directors, and Education Portal reports a $48,000 median salary for athletic directors. High school athletic director salaries depend largely on the school location and overall faculty budget, as well as the credibility and emphasis the school puts on its athletic department.

Education and Training

Aspiring athletic directors should earn a bachelor's degree and possibly a master's degree in an athletic field, such as physical education, sports medicine or another related field. They should also have an education background, taking some teaching or human development courses, and should consider earning a teaching certificate in their state. Athletic directors should also have experience in sports, either as an athlete or coach. High school athletic directors with master's degrees and additional certification typically are paid salaries on the higher end of the national salary range — sometimes as high as $100,000 at a well-funded school, according to Women Sports Jobs.


In addition to annual salaries, athletic directors at high schools typically receive a number of benefits. Benefits might include paid time off, extra time off during summer when school isn't in session, health insurance and possibly 401k retirement savings plans. Certain schools may pay annual bonuses as well, based on performance.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for high school education administrators in general, including athletic directors, is average, with a 9 percent growth in job opportunities predicted between 2008 and 2018. A higher growth rate of 12 percent is predicted for athletic directors at elementary schools and preschools, though a lower growth rate of 2 percent is predicted for athletic directors at postsecondary schools and colleges.


Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.

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