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Coaches and Scouts

At a Glance

  • May coach several sports or coach one full time
  • Often travel to games and sporting events
  • May work nights and weekends
  • Work indoors and outdoors (depends on sport)
  • Education and training requirements vary by employer
  • Many coaches are former athletes
  • May need a license

Career summary

Coaches teach and motivate players in individual and team sports. Scouts seek out athletes for a team or sport.

#No comparable wois occ

# review 3/25/19 lh


Coaches of non-professional sports often work for schools or recreation programs. They teach individual and team sports, using their knowledge of sports techniques and players' abilities. They organize and lead indoor and outdoor games and tournaments. In addition, they plan, organize, and run practice sessions. They explain and enforce safety rules. Some coaches help referee games. Other coaches give advice about how to treat injuries.

Many coaches are also in charge of equipment. They select and order equipment and supplies. They issue it to players and store it between games. Coaches also teach and monitor the use of training equipment.

Coaches who work with children and youth may plan physical education programs. Their goal is to help children develop new physical and social skills.

At the college level, coaches' duties vary by the size of the school and the popularity of the sport. In small schools, one person may coach several sports. At large colleges and universities, coaching a single sport is a full-time job. These coaches have duties similar to coaches of professional sports teams. Both may supervise assistant coaches in addition to their other duties. They may also be in charge of monitoring eligibility for student athletes. 

Professional coaches observe athletes to determine where they need improvement. They also plan game strategy by evaluating the abilities of their own team and the opposing team. Coaches instruct and motivate their athletes. They correct technique with individual players. They demonstrate techniques and game strategies to the team. In addition, coaches plan and direct conditioning programs to help athletes reach their peak performance.


Athletic scouts determine athletes' potential for college or professional sports. Most scouts recruit for professional sports, but it is also common for recruiters to scout high schools for college players.

Scouts observe and analyze athletes' performance. They also review game records and statistics and evaluate athletes' skills. They discuss or recommend trading or hiring players. In college sports, scouts may arrange and offer incentives to play, such as athletic scholarships. In professional sports, scouts negotiate contracts with athletes or their agents. They also prepare reports about individual athletes and future recruitment.

Scouts may work for:

Some scouts work as freelance scouts. They hide their identity from potential recruits while they evaluate them. It is important for college and university scouts to follow NCAA regulations about recruiting players.

Related careers

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to coaches and scouts.

Common work activities

Coaches and scouts perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, coaches and scouts:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Coaches and scouts frequently:

It is important for coaches and scouts to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for coaches and scouts to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Coaches and scouts need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a coach or scout, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most coaches and scouts have a bachelor's degree. However, the education and training required to coach depends on your employer. The sport you coach or teach and your level of responsibility also determine the training you need. Some entry-level jobs only require experience in the sport. Some coaching and scouting jobs require a great deal of education and experience. Coaches often must be certified according to the school district's policies.

College and professional coaches usually have a bachelor's degree, and some have a master's degree. In addition, most have many years of experience playing and then coaching their sport. Most have worked their way up through the coaching ranks.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in exercise science, nutrition and fitness, physical education, or sports medicine. Some universities also offer degree programs in sports marketing.

Work experience

You can begin by helping to coach a children's team. Many opportunities for volunteering exist in children's leagues.

No matter which sport you wish to coach or scout for, nothing is better preparation than expertise in the sport. Most coaches and scouts first played the sport. Being able to show someone the right moves and explain the reason for them is valuable. Knowing what skills are needed for a sport helps the scout find the best athlete.

On-the-job training

Most entry-level jobs for coaches are as assistant coaches. Coaches start in lower-level leagues or smaller schools. As they gain knowledge and experience, they often move up in level or school size. It usually takes several years as an assistant and a winning record before you can apply for head coaching jobs.

Scouts often begin their career as assistant coaches. In these positions, coaches learn to evaluate athletes' skills.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

Many coaches and scouts are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most employers look for coaches who have participated in the sport they coach. College and professional coaches usually work their way up through the coaching ranks by showing they can develop winning teams. In this field, experience counts more than education.

In addition, many school coaches are also teachers. High schools often draw first from teachers when looking for a coach. Employers of all types of coaches and scouts prefer applicants who can relate well to and motivate people.

Employers who hire scouts look for candidates with experience evaluating athletes. They also look for people with strong organizational and communication skills.


Some coaches work part time at summer sports camps or at clinics offered on weekends or during holidays.

#Tip based on article on NBC Camps LLC which hires 650 coaches each summer at its sports camps, (Journal of Business, May 31, 2007), 3/12/08, cj.


Coaches who teach in public schools must have a teacher's license in that state. Licenses are not required for teachers in private schools.

For information on teacher certification requirements in Washington, contact:

Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Professional Education and Certification (external link)

Old Capitol Building
PO Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504-7200

#Appended this general contact information since Natl DB licensing statement mentions coaches in public schools must have teaching certificate/license, 3/12/08, cj. Info ok 3/8/10, cj. Contact info ok 2/29/12 & 2/26/14, 3/28/16, 2/19/18 cj. 3/25/19 lh

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.


Coaches and scouts (SOC 27-2022)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,400 $26,300 $35,430 $50,420 $72,970
    Bellingham Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,828 $25,856 $32,498 $50,419 $69,636
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,810 $25,486 $30,536 $44,286 $67,069
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $19,373 $25,886 $42,765 $59,871 $71,589
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,580 $24,916 $28,490 $37,160 $45,848
    Longview Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,655 $26,773 $34,964 $47,905 $64,534
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,795 $26,127 $35,216 $48,897 $64,484
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,830 $25,854 $31,422 $50,664 $78,458
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,831 $27,613 $38,710 $54,921 $77,642
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,881 $26,537 $33,246 $42,197 $57,044
    Vancouver Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $22,153 $26,895 $34,436 $51,427 $79,130
    Walla Walla Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,952 $28,582 $40,238 $62,611 $80,223
    Wenatchee Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $24,851 $25,772 $32,837 $49,169 $68,492
    Yakima Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $25,192 $28,865 $41,249 $64,586 $84,174
United States Hourly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Monthly (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Yearly $18,970 $23,180 $33,780 $52,760 $77,880

(1) Wage estimate is not available.

Wages vary by sport, area of the country, and the worker's level of experience. For coaches, experience and success in competition are the most important factors. Some professional coaches earn over $1 million per year.

Benefits also vary by employer. Full-time coaches and scouts may earn typical benefits. These include vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Those who are self-employed must provide their own insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Coaches and Scouts (SOC 27-2022)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 9,626 17.4% 16.1% 1,711
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 50 16.0% 13.4% 9
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 400 4.5% 8.6% 57
    Benton and Franklin Counties 285 21.1% 15.0% 53
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 283 15.5% 11.9% 48
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 275 17.5% 15.2% 49
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 465 20.2% 14.1% 86
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 478 13.6% 14.6% 80
    King County 4,383 19.3% 19.6% 801
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 126 17.5% 13.8% 22
    Pierce County 1,773 18.0% 15.2% 318
    Snohomish County 613 18.8% 12.4% 111
    Spokane County 1,310 8.8% 13.9% 202
United States 290,100 10.5% 5.2% 47,600

National employment

About 11% of coaches and scouts are self-employed.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for coaches and scouts will be good as high schools add new sports teams. Many smaller colleges are also adding new sport teams. Growing interest in college and professional sports will increase the demand for scouts.

Competition will be strongest at large universities and at the professional level. However, there is more opportunity at small colleges and high schools, especially for women's team coaches. At the high school level, job prospects will be best for people certified to teach.

Other resources

American Kinesiology Association (external link)
1900 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
Society of Health and Physical Educators (external link)
PO Box 225
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters