Online Master's Programs in Coaching

Updated on: 12/13/2018

Master's in coaching online degrees provide leadership skills and advanced knowledge for learners of all kinds. An online master's in coaching increases career prospects and earning potential. Degree holders can move to managerial and administrative roles with higher salaries.

Master's in coaching programs focus on sports and athletic administration, business training and executive management, or psychology and life counseling. Working professionals can pursue a master's in coaching online to move ahead in their field, and online programs offer flexible schedules that allow learners to work full time.

What to Know About Online Master's in Coaching Coursework

A master's in coaching online gives students access to leadership skills and techniques to enhance the performance of others. Students study psychology, philosophy and ethics, and motivation while participating in experiential learning activities and projects. Through advanced coursework on group dynamics, organizational behavior, and strategic leadership, students gain expertise that help improve individual and group performance.

Online coaching programs include 30 to 55 credit hours that students can complete in as few as five semesters. Unlike on-campus programs, online coursework provides master's in coaching students opportunities to complete degree requirements on their own schedules while working full time. Many programs include cohort models, bringing together groups of students who progress through the degree together and work collectively throughout the program. Cohort-based programs may take longer to complete because they often involve synchronous coursework. These cohort-based online master's in coaching degrees typically take two years to complete.

What's the Difference Between a Master's in Coaching and an MBA in Coaching?

A master's in coaching includes content applicable to various situations, including business, athletics, and individual counseling. The curriculum explores the interactions of individuals and groups as they work to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to boost overall performance. Motivational techniques and leadership theories give learners a holistic framework useful in both corporate settings and on the sports field.

A master's in business administration with an emphasis in coaching focuses on building businesses through organizational development, innovation, and change. An MBA in coaching program teaches students leadership and managerial skills to help promote individual and team performance.

What Common Courses are Offered in a Master's in Coaching Program?

Master's in coaching programs include core coursework that provides learners with information on leadership, personal relationships, and group dynamics. Many programs include courses that give students the opportunity to tailor their degree to meet personal and professional goals. Classes in these programs may include:

Group Dynamics

Group dynamics courses explore theories and methods of how people come together in social, professional, and cultural contexts. These classes may include psychology, anthropology, and history to give learners a broad understanding of groups. Coursework includes information on leadership within a group and how to effectively build teams.

Developing Leader Effectiveness

These courses focus on theories, methods, and tools used to effectively develop leadership skills and apply them in different situations. Students study psychological aspects of leadership, organizational structures, and leading through innovation and change. Learners develop self-awareness and receive feedback as they apply course information to real-world scenarios.

Human Growth and Development

Human growth and development classes show students how individuals change throughout their lifespans and interact with others in the process. By concentrating on individuals, their psychological processes, and the influences that affect development, coursework provides learners with theories, research, and strategies for coaching others.

Improving Individual and Group Performance

Classes on improving performance provide learners with skills to effectively motivate, encourage, and make recommendations to individuals and teams in the interest of promoting personal and situational growth. Learners study psychology, sociology, and managerial techniques to better understand human performance and how to promote continuous improvement.

Ethics in Coaching

Ethics classes assess the role of morality, regulations, and standards when dealing with individuals and groups. Topics including confidentiality, diversity, and value systems as students explore theories and practices of ethics. Students look closely at the relationship between leaders and others, and at how ethics dictate and influence those roles.

What Specializations are Available in a Master's in Coaching Program?

Online coaching master's degrees allow students to earn a degree that fits their interests and goals. Degree specializations build upon common core classes to give learners advanced information on niche areas of the field.

Human Services Coaching

A master's degree in human services coaching emphasizes the role of counseling in helping others make changes in their lives. Human services coaching degrees include coursework on psychology and sociology while exploring human behavior and reactions in real-world situations. Through classes on theory and methods of human service practices, learners develop the skills needed to build confidence and promote positive attitudes among individual and group clients.

Athletic Coaching Administration

Athletic coaching administration master's degrees give learners tools to promote character development, ethical behavior, positive change, and teamwork. These programs combine coursework on philosophies of sport and leadership to give coaches advanced skills in instructing and guiding athletes and athletic professionals on and off the field.

Leadership and Executive Coaching

A master's degree in leadership and executive coaching includes classes on human behavior and business, training learners to bring about positive growth and change in organizations. Students learn about the challenges and opportunities that face business professionals while developing competencies to facilitate communication, mentorship, and innovation.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Master's in coaching online degrees may include comprehensive exams, final projects, or capstone coursework at the end of the program. Many programs include more than one of these options. Exams require learners to synthesize knowledge and skills from the coursework within the degree while capstone coursework may focus on research and producing a scholarly paper and presentation based on a specific project or task.

Most coaching master's degrees bring students together for group projects, giving them opportunities to work together on a specific issue or problem in the field. Projects promote collaboration and cooperation among learners, allowing them to use the skills they acquired along the way.

How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Coaching Program?

When choosing a master's in coaching online program, you should look at several factors, including accreditation. Colleges and universities in the U.S. are accredited by regional or national accreditation organizations and associations approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the ED. National accreditation typically goes to vocational, technical, and career-based programs, while regional accreditation indicates that a program is more research-focused and academically rigorous. Many online schools boast national accreditation, but programs offered through regionally accredited institutions carry the most weight.

In addition to national and regional accreditation, coaching programs may hold programmatic accreditation through a group recognized by CHEA and the ED. Check all of these possibilities when you investigate potential master's in coaching online degrees. If a program does not hold accreditation, you should not attend that school.

You may also want to look at specific faculty as you decide which program to choose; many programs boast faculty that specialize in coaching.

Career Opportunities With a Master's in Coaching Degree

Online master's degrees in coaching give learners the tools and skills to take on leadership and administrative roles in athletic organizations, corporations, and human support services. Athletic professionals who want to better manage groups of athletes, students, and colleges find a master's degree useful as they progress in their careers. Athletic coaches may, however, need additional certifications and licensure.

Business and life coaches may also need additional credentials after studying the fundamentals of coaching. Many life coaches work as unlicensed counselors but can also earn certifications through life coaching organizations and associations. Similarly, business professionals who work in development, innovation, and change enjoy access to certifications that build their expertise in the field.

Rehabilitation Counselor

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies life coaches as rehabilitation counselors, but life coaches often do not hold a counseling license. To become a rehabilitation counselor, life coaches need state licensure. Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals experiencing physical, mental, emotional, or social difficulties to help them function effectively and efficiently in daily interactions and in their careers. Rehabilitation counselors evaluate client and patient needs, develop rehabilitation plans, and work with other health professionals.

Median Salary: $34,860 per year

Currently Employed: 119,300

Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +13%

Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists work in businesses and organizations to assess training needs and implement plans to better inform and prepare employees for their positions. Training and development specialists provide trainings in individual and groups settings, develop manuals and instructions, implement changes as needed, and monitor employee success.

Median Salary: $60,360 per year

Currently Employed: 282,800

Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +11%

Professional Coach

Some professional coaches work with school-aged, college, amateur, and/or professional athletes organizing practices and games. Coaches provide motivation, encouragement, and training while instructing athletes on rules, guidelines, techniques, and sportsmanship. They also recruit, scout, offer incentives, and keep records about performance. Coaches mentor players, working closely with individuals and groups alike. Some coaches work with non-athletic teams.

Median Salary: $32,270 per year

Currently Employed: 276,100

Expected Job Growth in next 10 years: +13%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

What's the Expected Job Growth for Coaching Careers?

According to the BLS, the coaching careers listed above are projected to see above-average growth from 2016 to 2026. Thousands of coaching positions will be added to the job market over the next decade. The in-depth training a graduate degree in coaching provides places learners in an ideal position to excel in leadership, managerial, and administrative roles.

Professional Organizations for Careers in Coaching

Members of professional coaching organizations enjoy access to networking opportunities, continuing education resources, and career services information. Through online webinars and training programs, coaches can advance their careers while working with like-minded professionals. Organizations and associations also provide job listings, research publications, and industry updates to members.

  • International Coach Federation

    The ICF promotes industry standards, offering certifications and building networks of coaches around the world. The ICF accredits coach training programs according to its core competencies and code of conduct and provides mentor alliances to coaching professionals.

  • International Association of Coaching

    The IAC advances coaching mastery and excellence through regulations and standards designed to encourage innovation, leadership, and continued growth within the field. The IAC offers membership, certification, and chapter development in addition to networking resources.

  • The National Career Development Association

    The NCDA promotes diversity, advocacy, and quality among career development practitioners and educators through professional development, training programs, and information updates. Members of NCDA can take part in career development conferences, receive field-specific discounts, and network with other professionals.

  • World Association of Business Coaches

    As the first international organization of business coaches, the WABC seeks to advance the profession of business coaching by differentiating it from other types of coaching and providing practitioners with resources, networks, and updates. The WABC offers several certifications to individual and corporate members.

  • American Coaching Association

    The ACA provides resources to help coaches plan better, achieve goals with increased efficiency, and understand the important role coaches play. With an emphasis on ADD coaching, the ACA also offers coaching information to the public.

How to Pay for a Master's in Coaching Degree

Funding for a master's in coaching online degree can come from governmental, private, and other public sources. When you apply to a master's program, fill out a Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Research additional financial aid options available through specific schools, departments, organizations, and associations as well.

Federal Financial Aid

By submitting a FAFSA, you automatically provide information about your financial background to funding resources at the federal, state, and university level. The FAFSA assesses your financial need and provides you with opportunities for loans, grants, and scholarships. This aid may include work-study programs, allowing you to work on-campus with payment subsidized by the government.

American Association of University Women, Selected Professions Scholarships

Women pursuing master's degrees in business can apply for an AAUW Selected Professions Scholarship. The AAUW provides funding applicable to the second year of a graduate degree for women of color. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and enrolled in a full-time program.

Association on American Indian Affairs, Sequoyah Graduate Scholarship

The AAIA offers a scholarship for Native American graduate students pursuing any area of study. The Sequoyah Graduate Scholarship provides assistance for one year of graduate study with an award of $1,500. The award does not automatically renew, but students can re-apply for sequential years of support.

Professional Christian Coaching and Counseling Academy Scholarships

As a faith-based organization, the PCCCA provides funding for students enrolled at their institution who pursue training in counseling, Christian coaching, or people-helping vocations. Students can request financial support contingent upon their individual needs. Learners should submit letters of support, a statement of commitment, and other relevant documentation.