Explore a Career in Coaching! Is It the Right Career Path for You?

Are you contemplating putting some of your leadership and teaching skills to work with a career in coaching? When you explore a career in coaching there are many variables to consider. Understanding these variables is key to choosing the best path for you. Consider the following four questions as you explore a career in coaching.

Questions to answer when you explore a career in coaching 

Which level should I pursue? – There are several options to carefully consider. Each coaching level has its own set of pros and cons, understanding the differences is an important part of exploration. From High School to Professional the options are vast.

While compensation at a Junior or Community College is generally lower it may offer improved lifestyle and better job security than Division I college programs. Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) versus Football Championship Subdivision (FCS); Divisions II and III, each offer a different set of opportunities and constraints. Professional ranks are highlighted by positions in the NFL, yet there are positions and experience to be gained in the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues.


What experience do I need to get my first position? – Even when you have playing experience, most coaching jobs will require coaching experience. Yes, your professional playing experience is important, however, every great player does not make a great coach. How can you get coaching experience if you do not have any?

There are several ways to get experience; volunteer opportunities are plentiful, graduate assistantships or internships might be an option and the NFL Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship is another example. Speak with your AthLife advisor for assistance in finding coaching opportunities.


What is most important to me? – This is a question of life values. Take time to honestly answer this question. It is an important decision-making step. Concepts like stability, stress, status, compensation, leisure time, family time and autonomy are the focus. They are just a few of the values that need to be considered when pursuing a career in any profession. Coaching can be an all-consuming occupation for months at a time. It is crucial to know what is important to you and to find a work-life balance that is acceptable to you and your family.


Do you possess the credentials necessary to get the job you want?  If you plan on coaching at the high school level and plan on teaching too, a teacher certification or credential is required. Coaching at the four-year college level will require a bachelor’s degree and perhaps a master’s degree is a plus. At the Junior College and Professional level, a bachelor’s degree is not required.

If you aren’t sure how to explore a career in coaching, you can work with your Athlife advisor to determine next steps. Those steps might include a values assessment, informational interviews and/or educational planning.