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Athletic Director: Job Description and Career Information

Athletic directors must have at least a bachelor's degree, but often a master's degree is required. People interested in becoming athletic directors may need experience as a coach or teacher. Some employers may require sports management experience as well.

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Athletic Director Job Description

Athletic directors manage sport programs and departments for colleges, universities and secondary schools. Responsibilities include directing athletic activities, supervising the coordination of athletic events and managing athletic department budgets. Outside of these requirements, athletic directors may also participate in revenue development planning and fundraising. Additionally, these professionals serve as liaisons with sports conference or division administrators, such as those from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Athletic directors may also be in charge of hiring and firing coaches. To do so, these professionals assess current and prospective coaches based on team goals, achievements and other parameters.

Career Information for an Athletic Director

Most schools require athletic directors to have master's degrees in a field like physical education, education administration or sports management. As such, specific coursework and concentrations vary by major. For example, while students in physical education degree programs may take courses on education theory, instructional supervision and kinesiology, those in sports management may focus more on financial, marketing and facility management courses.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies athletic directors under the broader categories of elementary, middle and high school principals and postsecondary (college) education administrators. The BLS reported that jobs for postsecondary education administrators were expected to increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). Employment of elementary, middle and high school principals was expected to increase 10% during the same time frame, according to the BLS.

Salary Information

The BLS noted that the average annual salary for postsecondary education administrators, including college athletic directors, was $99,370 in 2012. In the same year, elementary and secondary education administrators, including high school athletic directors, earned an average salary of $90,800 annually, per BLS reports.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics