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Coaches recruit, train, instruct and mentor athletes to produce the best sports performances possible. Their job titles generally reflect their sport (for example, hockey coach, baseball coach, swim coach, figure skating coach) or their position relative to others in an organization (for example, head coach, club coach).

  • Avg. Salary $12,121.00
  • Avg. Wage $19.31
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,300
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Athletic Coach, Educator, Instructor, Professional Coach, Teacher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Coaches (5252.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Coaches (F152) 
  • 2011 NOC: Coaches (5252) 
  • 2016 NOC: Coaches (5252) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Coach is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in co-ordinating information to develop, plan and organize competitive schedules and programs; and in developing game plans and in directing athletes and players during athletic events


Interest in instructing athletes; and in nurturing and developing athletes' potential skills and abilities, and in motivating and preparing athletes and teams for competitive events


Interest in analyzing and evaluating athletic and team performance; and in modifying training programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 19, 2016

Coaches direct athletes' physical and mental training, conduct daily practices and develop strategies for competitions. Their duties and responsibilities vary considerably depending on the sport and level of competition. However, in general, coaches:

  • help athletes identify and pursue realistic goals
  • develop training plans
  • teach skills, plays and tactics
  • scout and recruit prospective athletes
  • keep up with changing rules, techniques, technology and philosophies in their sport
  • analyze athletes' performances and modify coaching programs accordingly
  • ensure the safety of athletes at all times
  • practice and teach high standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct.

During the pre-season, coaches:

  • develop and communicate selection criteria
  • conduct player and parent meetings
  • arrange training camps or pre-season try-outs
  • plan and direct fitness programs for the team and individual players
  • plan and conduct practices
  • analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their athletes and those of the competition (often through the use of videotapes and films)
  • prepare play strategies based on their analyses
  • assist in fund raising
  • acquire equipment (if necessary)
  • arrange schedules
  • choose the team for the coming season
  • ensure athletes sign code of conduct agreements.

During the season, coaches continue to direct fitness programs, conduct daily practices and analyze performance. They also:

  • prepare for competition tours and events
  • direct the game plan and tactics
  • encourage, motivate and direct the team and individual athletes
  • keep records of athlete, team and opposing team performance
  • revise plans and strategies as needed
  • meet with media representatives.

In the off-season, coaches may:

  • do fund raising and public relations work
  • review videos of past games and individual performances
  • make plans for next season
  • scout new players or athletes
  • attend and give clinics.

In some sports, there is no off-season and coaches have year round responsibilities.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Coaching can be a rigorous, high-pressure, demanding occupation. Coaches often face criticism from the general public and media, particularly if their team or one of their athletes performs poorly. The stability of a coaching position often depends on the performance of the team or athlete and, in professional sports, on box office or gate receipts.

Coaches in paid positions often work long, irregular hours and travel extensively. They must work evenings, weekends and holidays which is when most games and competitions take place. Depending on the sport, they may be required to work indoors or outdoors, sometimes in adverse weather conditions.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Coaches need the following characteristics:

  • proven trustworthiness and high moral and ethical standards
  • exceptional leadership ability including the ability to instill confidence and foster high standards of sportsmanship
  • excellent communication and instructional skills
  • good listening and interpersonal skills with an ability to make people feel valued
  • good organizational skills.

In addition, they should be:

  • physically fit and model an active lifestyle
  • highly motivated
  • patient
  • creative as well as logical thinkers
  • confident
  • willing to do the work required to keep up to date.

They should enjoy observing and assessing athletes' skills, working with people and directing the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Coaches often are former athletes, especially at the professional level. Other qualification requirements vary from one sport to another and from one level of a sport to another.

Most sport organizations have a formal screening process for coaches. In general, the preferred qualification is NCCP certification (see below) combined with a bachelor's degree in physical education or kinesiology (for more information, see the Kinesiologist occupational profile). However, preferred qualifications vary considerably and prospective coaches are strongly advised to obtain more detailed information from the appropriate provincial sport association or national sport federation.

The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) provides training and certification in 66 different sports for all types of coaches, from first time coaches to the head coaches of national teams. Each year, over 50,000 coaches take an NCCP workshop. There are three streams and a total of eight contexts, each with its own coaching requirements. Each sport is responsible for identifying how many of the eight contexts are relevant to their sport.

Coaches of amateur teams (clubs, provincial, national or international) should be qualified through education and practical experience, and have achieved minimum NCCP Certification levels. Even unpaid volunteer coaches may be required to attend specific clinics to earn coaching certification.

Coaches of university or college teams usually must have a master's or doctoral (PhD) degree in physical education or kinesiology. Their responsibilities generally include teaching related post-secondary courses.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Most coaches are volunteers. Those in paid positions usually work on a contract basis for:

  • professional sports teams
  • provincial and national amateur sports teams
  • post-secondary schools
  • school boards
  • sport schools at the high school level
  • recreational facilities
  • sport clubs
  • private athletic clubs.

Assistant coaches may become head coaches. Some go on to become general managers of athletic teams. Others take on coaching and general manager responsibilities at the same time. Coaches also may become professional sport scouts, sport program directors or administrators in national sport federations.

If they have a related degree, coaches can become teachers, sport administrators or coaching consultants. Some coaches work in public relations and marketing.

In Alberta, 83% of people employed as coaches work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the F152: Coaches occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 21 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Some volunteer coaches receive an honorarium. Salaries for coaches in paid positions often are based on years of experience and certification level, and vary greatly from one sport to another and from one level of sport to another.

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $25.00 $16.39 $15.00
Overall $15.64 $28.85 $19.31 $16.50
Top $20.00 $60.00 $27.87 $24.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Physical Education and Recreation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Culture and Tourism website:

Canadian Sport Institute - Calgary website:

Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) website:

Edmonton Sport Council website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 08, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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