Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Of the 184,280 coaches for all sports, 32,660 coaches worked at the college level in May 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of these coaches concentrate on teaching track and field, providing instruction on individual athletic events like running, long jump, pole vault and javelin. Their salaries typically do not exceed $55,000 as of May 2010.
Classification and Typical Pay
The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies track coaches in the general "Coaches and Scouts" category. This means that the duties of track coaches are similar to other sports coaches and that salaries for track coaches also are similar to the salaries for coaches of other sports. According to data from May 2010, track and other coaches earned $49,140 per year in colleges, universities and professional schools. Under a standard 40-hour workweek, this breaks down to $23.63. However, hourly rates likely are higher because of the fact that every sport, including track and field, is seasonal, meaning that a track and field coach may not work the entire year.
According to the bureau, coaches and scouts, including track and field coaches at the college level, earned $16,380 per year in the 10th percentile in May 2010. In the 90th percentile, pay was $63,720. However, additional data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association indicates that a very small percentage of all college coaches -- less than 200 out of "tens of thousands" -- in all three NCAA divisions make more than $1 million per year. Usually, these kinds of salaries are given to basketball and football coaches, but track and field coaches also can earn this type of pay if the college's track program is good and established enough to attract the attention of outside sponsors like television stations or shoe companies. The NCAA notes that it cannot legally cap the salary any coach earns.
Compensation by Region
The best-paying area for all coaches, including those who teach college track, was the District of Columbia as of May 2010, says the bureau. This region had an average compensation of $53,480 per year. Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida and Georgia also were top-paying regions with pay between $45,810 and $49,360, which demonstrates that the Gulf region is a hot spot for coaches. The lowest pay, $19,290 per year, was in the territory of Puerto Rico. Other low-paying regions included Maine, Kansas, Idaho and Iowa, which had pay between $23,070 and $25,800.
Some college track coaches in very small colleges do not teach track exclusively. They may teach track and other sports, for example, or they may teach track because they are the professor who teaches a subject -- for instance, nutrition -- most closely related to fitness. In these circumstances, track coaches may earn salaries representative of their primary subject, or which take into consideration the additional training the track coach provides for other sports. In general, teaching at a larger college means a higher salary. Additionally, track coaches at the college level may hold either assistant or head coach positions. Head coaches make more than assistant coaches, although the exact differential depends on the institution.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.