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Overview of Master Degree Programs for Aspiring Athletic Directors

Majors Overview May 18, 2018

This article talks about master’s degree programs for aspiring athletic directors and their education requirements, coursework, career options, job and wage outlook, and continuing education options.

Master’s Programs for Aspiring Athletic Directors

Students can hone their leadership skills, including conflict resolution, management approaches, decision-making, athlete assessment, and ethics by enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) in Athletic Administration program. They are imparted advanced training in financial management and budgeting in private and public athletic departments while exploring advertising and marketing strategies for funding and athletic events. Coursework delves deeply into legal issues, including the compliance and importance of regulations and rules at all levels. Students learn about monitoring athlete welfare and development, including academic support and training.

In many of these programs students can obtain hands-on experience through internships, and may have to complete a final comprehensive project. Some schools offer these programs in wholly online formats.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria in these 2-year programs typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. While a background in athletics is not compulsory, schools prefer it.


Program coursework may cover a practicum or internship, along with independent research. It covers every aspect of athletic administration, including organization, production, financing, marketing, and coaching. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Public relations in sport and recreation
•Legal issues for sport and recreation
•Event planning
•Sports Facility Management
•Sports Medicine
•Publicity and promotion
•Coaching and leadership principles

Career Options

Athletic directors can seek careers in colleges, high schools, and universities, along with recreation, health and fitness, and professional sports.

Job and Wage Outlook

Coaches and scouts (including athletic directors) are expected to see a 13% job growth, over the 2016-2026 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2013, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $32,270.

Continuing Education Options

Program graduates may pursue continuing education via doctoral degree programs in athletic administration or sports management that could lead to advanced academic or professional positions. Advanced research may be available to doctoral degree students in areas of education, athletics, law and statistics.

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