Career Choice: Coaches and Scouts

Career Choice: Coaches and Scouts
  • Type: Career Type
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    The next superstar could come about because you spotted and nurtured him or her while he or she was still young.


Scouts and coaches have a way of finding and bringing out the talents of young men and women, individuals that have a passion for their sport and can spot a budding star. Yes, it is a career field that can be studied while in college, although possessing innate talent to guide people can go a long way too.


Coaches and scouts are categorized together by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with much overlap in these two professions. Coaches may scout for players and full-time scouts may have coached as well.

While scouts are on the look out for talent, coaches take that talent and work to bring the best out of their charges. This means directing, motivating, encouraging and instructing players, by organizing practice sessions and working one-on-one or in small groups with these players.

Coaches evaluate athlete’s skills and develop a fitness regimen to help them achieve their goals. Coaches may develop an individualized athletic program for each athlete, laying out goals he or she wants them to accomplish. These professionals discuss nutrition, personal health, exercise and conditioning goals, and keep players up on current rules and changes.


Besides having intimate knowledge of the game that they are coaching or scouting for, coaches and scouts often have a bachelor’s degree although college is typically not required for many entry-level positions. That degree may be in Physical Education or Health Science, or in some other field. The BLS states that roughly two-thirds of coaches have at least a bachelor’s degree with the remaining number reflecting those with an associate degree or no degree.


The average pay for coaches and scouts was $28,360 per year in 2012 according to the BLS. Quite easily the multi-million dollar salaries of stand out coaches such as a Dean Smith can obscure what these professionals make, but many coaches and scouts labor for love, not wages. Some work part-time, holding down teaching positions when not training players or looking for emerging talent.

Salaries for coaches in the 10th percentile came in at $17,200 per year in 2012. For those in the 25th and 50th percentiles, annual pay averaged $19,200 and $28,400, respectively according to the BLS. Pay for those in the 75th percentile was $44,900 per year and for those in the 90th percentile, the average was $65,900 pear year.

The top three states for coach and scout pay were Arkansas at $45,800 per year, Maryland at $41,700 and West Virginia at $41,400. On the bottom end of the pay spectrum was Maine, where salaries averaged just $18,100 per year, while Iowa came in at $18,800 and Kansas at $19,200.

Job Outlook

If you want to coach and are willing to put in long hours including nights and weekends, your job prospects are quite good. Indeed, the BLS forecasts that demand for both coaches and scouts will climb, rising by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020. That’s more than twice the rate for all jobs although opportunities are certain to vary depending on the sport.


Summary Report for: 27-2022.00 – Coaches and Scouts

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Coaches and Scouts

See AlsoCareer Choice: Police Patrol Officers


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Categories: Career Planning