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Coach

Coaches identify, train and retain athletes by providing the environment, instruction and mentorship that allows them to reach their potential. Their job titles often reflect their sport (for example, hockey coach, baseball coach, swim coach, figure skating coach). They also may reflect the coach’s position relative to other coaching staff (such as head coach or assistant coach).

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) 
  • 2021 NOC: Coaches (53201) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
DIRECTIVE

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

SOCIAL

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

METHODICAL

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

  • Help athletes identify and pursue attainable goals
  • Construct training environments and develop plans
  • Help athletes develop technical and tactical skills in their sport
  • Communicate with athletes regarding performance and development
  • Analyze athletes’ performances and modify coaching to fit their needs
  • Identify, scout and recruit prospective athletes
  • Stay aware of changing rules, techniques, technology and philosophies in their sport
  • Advise athletes on national standards and regulations that may affect their ability to compete
  • Ensure athletes’ safety at all times
  • Practice and teach high standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct
  • Create a positive environment that helps athletes succeed

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 their athletes’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Analyze what did and didn’t work during competitions (often using videos)
  • Prepare play strategies based on their analyses
  • Help with fundraising
  • Acquire equipment
  • Arrange schedules
  • Choose the team for the coming season
  • Ensure athletes sign and follow code-of-conduct agreements

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

  • Prepare for competitions, tours and events
  • Develop competition strategies and tactics
  • Encourage, motivate and direct the team and individual athletes
  • Keep records of their athletes’ performance, as individuals and a team
  • Keep records of the opposing team’s performance
  • Revise plans and strategies as needed
  • Meet with media representatives

In the off-season, coaches may:

  • Do fundraising and public relations work
  • Review videos of past games and individual performances
  • Make plans for the next season
  • Scout new players or athletes
  • Attend and give clinics
  • Complete all documentation and registration for the following year

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

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Coaching can be a rigorous, high-pressure, demanding occupation. Coaches often face criticism from the 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. In professional sports, it can also depend on box office or gate receipts. In recent years, when a player has been caught using sport enhancements, responsibility has been placed on the coach as well as the player.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Coaches need:

  • Proven trustworthiness and high moral and ethical standards
  • Exceptional leadership ability, including the ability to instil confidence and foster high standards of sportsmanship
  • Excellent communication and teaching skills
  • Listening and interpersonal skills with an ability to make people feel valued
  • Organizing skills
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills

In addition, they should model an active lifestyle and ideally be physically fit. They need to be:

  • Highly motivated
  • Patient
  • Creative as well as logical
  • 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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Coaches

2016 NOC: 5252

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 21 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 03, 2021 and Nov 21, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Values and ethics
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Plan, develop and implement training and practice sessions
Observe and evaluate prospective athletes' skills and performance
Develop, plan and co-ordinate competitive schedules and programs
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Varies

Coaches often are former athletes, especially at the professional level. Other 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 a great deal. Prospective coaches are strongly advised to obtain detailed information from the pertinent provincial sport association or national sport federation.

The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) provides training and certification in 66 different sports. All types of coaches, from first time coaches to head coaches of national teams, can take the program. There are 3 streams and a total of 8 contexts, each with its own coaching requirements. Each sport identifies how many of the 8 contexts pertain to their sport.

Coaches of amateur teams (clubs, provincial, national or international) should become qualified through education and practical experience, and achieve minimum NCCP certification levels. Even volunteer coaches may need to attend specific clinics to earn coaching certification.

Coaches of university or college teams usually need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical education or kinesiology, with an emphasis on coaching. Their responsibilities often include teaching related post-secondary courses.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is not required, as no legislation currently regulates this occupation. However, various national or provincial sporting associations expect coaches to achieve and maintain Registered Coach status of Chartered Professional Coach (ChPC) designation. For details, see the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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 provincial sport associations and national sport federations.

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

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5252: Coaches occupational group, 89.4% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5252: Coaches occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Some volunteer coaches receive an honorarium. Coaches in paid positions often receive salaries based on their history of sporting achievements (as coaches or athletes) and the required certification level. Salaries vary greatly from one sport to another and from one level of sport to another.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Coaches

2016 NOC: 5252
Average Wage
$25.10
Per Hour
Average Salary
$24,889.00
Per Year
Average Hours
17.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.8
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5252 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $25.00 $18.21 $15.00
Overall $17.50 $41.17 $25.10 $22.50
Top $20.00 $60.00 $40.87 $34.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Educational Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
51%
51%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
11%
11%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Physical Education and Recreation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Canadian Sport Institute - Calgary website: csicalgary.ca

Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) website: www.coach.ca

Edmonton Sport Council website: www.edmontonsport.com

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

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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