Sports coach

Sport and leisure

Career outlook for sports coach

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help people to reach their full sporting potential and take part safely in their chosen sport.

Your work would depend on who you are coaching, and the type of sport you are coaching. You could coach anyone, from beginners to international professionals.

If you were working with schools and community groups you would:

  • Plan fun, engaging coaching activities, sessions and programmes in a safe environment
  • Give feedback on performance and help to improve technique
  • Work with young people, schools, community groups and sports organisations to promote the sport

Working with young people involved in competitive sport, you would:

  • Design training programmes
  • Work on developing more advanced techniques
  • Develop teamwork skills
  • Give support at events and competitions
  • Keep performance records
  • Give advice on how lifestyle choices can affect performance

When coaching at national or international level you would:

  • Design innovative training programmes
  • Check on the physical and mental condition of the people you coach
  • Help people do their very best in competitions
  • Work with experts such as sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and programme managers
  • Mentor other coaches
  • Market and promote your coaching services, if you are self-employed

Working conditions


Coaches often work in the evenings and at weekends, especially during competitions. If you are coaching at a high level, you would usually work long hours. There are lots of opportunities for coaches to work part-time.


You could work in a variety of places, including schools, health centres, private health clubs and sports clubs. For some sports you would spend a lot of your time outside in all weather conditions.


Competitions can take place all over the UK and sometimes abroad, which could mean that you spend some time away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Coaching
  • Taking responsibility
  • Negotiating
  • Motivating others
  • Mentoring
  • Developing a plan
  • Verbal communication
  • Building relationships
  • Creative
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are many routes into this career. Coaching qualifications are more important than academic qualifications.

You could get coaching qualifications and experience through: 

  • Scottish Vocational Qualifications
  • UKCC accredited qualifications
  • A Modern Apprenticeship in Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing (SCQF Level 7)
  • An HNC/HND (SCQF Level 7/8)
  • A degree (SCQF Level 9/10)

Your coaching qualification would need to be recognised by the governing body for your sport.

Some sport and fitness courses ask for no formal qualifications. However, most will ask for National 4/5 qualifications. Some courses also require a fitness test. 

Courses at HNC/HND or degree level require Highers. You'll need at least three Highers at B for entry to a degree. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Physical education
  • Science subjects, in particular, biology

You will also need

You'll need to be physically fit and have practical experience and skill in your chosen sport. You'll also need experience motivating others to improve their performance and play at their best. You could start gaining experience by assisting another coach. 

You'll need to know the rules of the national governing body of your chosen sport.

Most roles will require membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

Many coaching jobs require you to have a First Aid certificate.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show fitness and sporting skills such as Sports Leaders UK Award or Skills for Work Sports & Recreation (SCQF level 4/5).