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Have you contemplated putting some of your leadership and teaching skills to work with a career in coaching? When exploring the occupation of 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.
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 are an important part of exploration. From High School to Professional the options are vast. A Junior College or Community College job might pay extremely well and it may offer more job security than is offered in most 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. The Professional ranks are highlighted by positions in the NFL; and yet there are positions and experience to be gained in the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues.
What experience is required to get my first position? – Even with 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. So how can you get coaching experience if you do not have any? There are many different 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. Taking the time to honestly answer this question is an important decision making step. Concepts like stability, stress, status, compensation, leisure time, family time and autonomy are just a few of the values that need to be considered when pursuing a career in any profession. Because 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 works for 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 is required. If you plan on coaching at the four-year college level, a bachelor’s degree is required and perhaps a master’s degree is a plus, but at the Junior College and Professional level, a bachelor’s degree is not required.
If you aren’t sure how to answer these coaching exploration questions, you can work with your Athlife advisor to determine next steps. Those steps might include a values assessment, informational interviews and/or educational planning.