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Best 20 Online Master’s in Coaching in 2021

April 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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There are more than a dozen online master’s in coaching programs available to students all over the country. These programs enable students to earn their advanced degrees while still working a full-time job. 

Why Earn An Online Master’s in Coaching?

Sports coaching is a profession there’s always going to be a need for. In fact, sports coaches will see a 12% increase in job opportunities between now and the end of 2029. Considering the expected growth for most other careers is only 4%, this amounts to a significant increase. Coaches with an advanced degree automatically have more job opportunities open to them.

We’ve put together a list of online master’s in coaching programs and ranked them based on tuition and total online enrollment. In both categories, the lowest is the best. Unless otherwise mentioned, each program takes two years to complete. This is our list of the top 10 best online master’s in coaching

Best 20 Online Master’s in Coaching Programs 

1. Greenville University (100 points)

  • Tuition: $3,927 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 33
  • Total Online Enrollment: 236

The online master’s in Coaching from Greenville University lets students earn a Master of Arts in Education: Coaching. Graduates of this program are qualified to work as Athletic Coaches or Directors. They can also work as Athletic Administrators for the high school or college of their choice. Other career possibilities earning this degree opens up include scouts, private sports instructors, and recruiters. 

2. Xavier University (100 points)

  • Tuition: $4,275 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 823

The Master of Education in Coaching Education and Athlete Development program at Xavier University is taught based on a model created by the Director of Coaching for the school. The model is referred to as the Integrated Coaching and Sport Education and meets the standards set by the National Council for the Accreditation of Coaching Education and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. 

It should be noted that completing this program does not give graduates a license to practice in any state in America. 

3. The University of Central Missouri (100 points)

  • Tuition: $2,778 (2.5 year program)
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 1,412

The Master of Education program at The University of Central Missouri lets students earn a degree in Positive Coaching and Athletic Leadership. The university’s College of Education belongs to the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, making it a great place for students to study. The program is ideal for Athletic/Performance Coaches, Athletes, Educators, and even eSports coaches. 

4. Southwest Minnesota State University (100 points)

  • Tuition: $4,131 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 471

The Master of Education program at Southwest Minnesota State University offers a Master in Science in Physical Education: Coaching of Sport. Courses for this program were created to comply with the National Association of Coach and Physical Education NASPE) standards.

Students participate in practicum experiences and project-based learning while enrolled in this program. They also create a portfolio that reflects their knowledge of the standards the NAPSE expects.  

5.  Adams State University (100 points)

  • Tuition: $4,068 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 1,427

The online master’s in coaching program at Adams State University contributed to it being named as one Top Performer in Social Mobility, by US News & World Report. Completing the Master of Science program prepares graduates to work in a variety of settings that include professional, recreational, intercollegiate, and interscholastic. 

6. West Virginia University (90 points)

  • Tuition: $4,605 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: $2,577

College Choice named West Virginia University‘s Master of Science in Sport Coaching program the #3 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Coaching Degrees and the #9 Best Online Master’s in Coaching Degrees. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings named West Virginia University in the top 1.5% of the world’s best universities. 

The curriculum for this program was created to comply with the International Council for Coaching Excellence’s International Sport Coaching Framework. While students don’t complete a thesis as part of the program, they practice analyzing information that will help them improve the outcomes of their coaching efforts. 

7. Concordia University-Irvine (90 points)

  • Tuition: $6,660 per semester (15-month program)
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 1,956

As the top online graduate program for coaching, Concordia University Irvine‘s Master of Science in Coaching & Athletics Administration degree is extremely valuable to its graduates. The program has been so successful that the university recently expanded it and now offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Coaching And Exercise Sciences. However, the Coaching & Athletics Administration degree is recommended for students who already work as athletic administrators or coaches. 

Students even have the option of earning either a Master of Science or a Master of Art. This type of flexibility is not seen in similar programs at many other universities. The flexibility isn’t the only thing that makes this program unique and valuable. Benefits of enrolling in this program include an online clinic, National Conference Courses, and the Coach’s Playbook. 

8. University of Southern Mississippi (90 points)

  • Tuition: $4,446 – $4,816 per semester 
  • Credit Hours: 36-39
  • Total Online Enrollment: 2,539

The Master of Science in Sport Coaching Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi is considered to be among the country’s best programs for coaching education. Students enrolled in the program can choose the thesis or non-thesis option. Those who opt out of writing a thesis are required to complete a practicum in order to graduate.

Students that have graduated from this program have gone on to work as assistant, or strength and conditioning coaches, kids fitness coaches, youth sports instructors, college scouts, and athletic performance coaches.

9.  University of Northern Colorado (90 points)

  • Tuition: $5,800 per semester (18-month program)
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: $1,652

The University of Northern Colorado had an online master’s in coaching program before most other universities did. The university leads the sports education industry throughout the U.S. Their program model is now used by many other universities, to offer their students degrees in coaching. 

While the Master of Arts in Sports Coaching program is taught completely online, students must use their own coaching job to complete an action research project in order to earn their degree. The project requires students to test a concept or technique they learned about in the program, at their job. They then analyze the concept or technique and report their findings.

10. Florida State University (90 points)

  • Tuition: $3,330 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 2,738

Florida State University‘s Master’s in Athletic Coaching is a program that was designed by coaches based on their experience and their research in the field. It prepares its graduates to work as personal trainers, sports development officers, and performance coaches. 

11. Point Park University (90 points)

  • Tuition: $5,550 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 860

There are four universities in Pennsylvania that offer programs in coaching. But Point Park University is the only one that runs courses approved by Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association(PIAA.) The PIAA approved courses in Point Park University’s Master of Education in Athletic Coaching program are Safety and Physical Conditioning of Athletes II and The Art and Science of Athletic Coaching. 

Every course included in the program fulfills the requirements of Pennsylvania teachers’ Act 48. Students who graduate from this program can coach students of all ages, from Kindergarten through college. They can also work for professional sports teams or travel sports programs and clubs. 

12. East Tennessee State University (80 points)

  • Tuition: $6,759 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 2,060

The Master of Science in Sport Science Coach Education program at East Tennessee State University is a part of the ETSU Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education (CESSCE.) Because of this, students enrolled in the program have the ability to participate in coach clinics, activities in the sports community, and continuing education. The purpose of the CESSCE is to improve the understanding of how sports help shape the world’s population. It provides students with opportunities to perform specialized research as part of the program. 

13.  University of Denver (80 points)

  • Tuition: $8,395 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 1,604

The Master of Art in Sports Coaching program at the University of Denver is supported by the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Education Recognition Program, labeling it as an Applied Graduate Studies Program. 

Students enrolled in the Master of Arts program can attend online workshops, conferences, and clinics. 

14. Rider University (80 points)

  • Tuition: $8,730 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 349

The Rider University Master of Arts in Athletic Leadership offers a specialization in Coaching. This requires students to complete classes such as Developing a Philosophy of Coaching, Fundamentals of Athletic Training and Wellness, and Concepts and Principles of Coaching.

15. University of Florida Gainesville (70 points)

  • Tuition: $5,265 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 36
  • Total Online Enrollment: 4,766

Students at the University of Florida Gainesville can earn the Online Master of Science in Sport Management with a specialization in High-Performance Coaching. This degree prepares graduates to coach for high schools and colleges or professional sports teams. It is best suited to students who want to work as a head coach, administrator, or strength and conditioning coordinator. 

16. Ball State University (70 points)

  • Tuition: $2,694 per semester (18-month program)
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 5,037

According to the U.S. News & World Report, the Master of Arts in Athletic Coaching Education degree at Ball State University helped the school land in the top 20 Best online programs for veterans. Bell State University was the first to offer athletic education degrees online, starting in 2002. Students that have graduated from this program have gone on to coach in events like the Missouri Valley and Mid-American Conferences. 

17. Ohio University (70 points)

  • Tuition: $2,004 per semester 
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 7,975

In 2020, Ohio University overhauled its online Masters of Coaching Education program. The program has received national recognition for its ability to help coaching students become competitive in the field. The standards all sports coaches are held to were used to design the program’s curriculum. 

18. Northcentral University (60 points)

  • Tuition: $7,450 per semester (1.5 year program)
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: 10,535

The online Master of Education in Athletic Coaching program at Northcentral University is taught by faculty who have earned doctorates in the same field of study. Faculty serves as mentors for the students, and students can get one-on-one face time with their professors whenever they need it. 

19. Michigan State University (40 points)

  • Tuition: $6,735 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 30
  • Total Online Enrollment: unknown

Michigan State University is ranked # 4 in online graduate programs in education, by the U.S. News & World Report. Its Master of Science in Sport Coaching and Leadership program requires students to spend one semester completing a practicum in order to refine their coaching skills. The goal of the program is to help its students become more assertive throughout their careers. 

20.  Drexel University (40 points)

  • Tuition: $11,328 per semester
  • Credit Hours: 45
  • Total Online Enrollment: 4,687

The Master of Science in Sport Coaching Leadership program at Drexel University is ideal for coaches of any sport. The courses a student takes are tailored to the sport they already coach or want to in the future. Though the program is completely online, students have the option to participate in an international residency that lasts from seven to 10 days.

Students can also choose to attend one of the program’s many sport coaching webinars. 

If you are still struggling to choose an online master’s in coaching program, our Degree Finder can help you make the decision. 

How We Rank Programs

We took online graduate tuition rates from each school’s website and total online enrollment from the web. Most schools on the list charge the same for online tuition as in-state tuition, though some have separate rates for online tuition. Tuition per semester was calculated based on the standard two-year program length, with a few notable exceptions. 

After sorting by tuition rates and then by total online enrollment we assigned points to each school. Schools get a maximum of 50 points per category. We add these two scores together to get a program’s final ranking on the list.

For more options check out our Sports Management degree programs.

See An Incorrect Ranking?

We strive to rank each school correctly. If you work for one of the schools on the list and feel we made an error in our rankings, please contact us. We will promptly fix the mistake. 

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