How to Become an Athletic Director

Athletic directors have stable and fulfilling careers in the field of sports and sports management. Primarily employed by colleges and universities, athletic directors create programs that will help their students excel.

What Is an Athletic Director?

An athletic director is usually employed by a school of higher learning, but they occasionally work at private schools, high schools and middle schools. Athletic directors are responsible for creating the athletic programs that the students will participate in, as well as additional programs for more gifted students. Athletic directors are usually very highly paid, especially in schools that have an emphasis on their sports program.

Athletic directors need to be extraordinarily well-organized, as they will often need to maintain and promote multiple events and programs. They also need to be up to date on their knowledge about sports curriculums across the nation and have a good overview of sports news.

Athletic directors usually have to be personable and will often need to deal directly with a coach. Being able to forge good relationships with the best coaches in the industry is a very valuable skill for an athletic director to have.

What Does an Athletic Director Do?

Athletic directors have responsibilities beyond that of a coach. They need to manage the funds of the athletic department and they may need to create the programs. Some athletic directors will work very closely with the coaches to ensure that everything is done correctly for their sports teams, while other athletic directors may simply need to create an overview of the program for the coaches to use as a guide.

Directors that are in high-profile schools such as those that excel at college football will have larger amounts of responsibility. These athletics directors will often have a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to the expectations of the school.

The athletics director won’t usually be as involved in the sports teams of the school as the coaches. Today, coaches take on many of the functions that were traditionally associated with athletic directors.

How Do You Become an Athletic Director?

Athletic directors usually have a Bachelor’s Degree in education or physical education. Those with a degree in a field unrelated to education may need to have special training involving education theory and the education of students, though they will have a fairly broad scope.

An athletic director may be someone who was previously involved in the athletics industry, such as an athletic trainer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists athletic trainer as a field that requires very little experience but has significant opportunities for growth.

Getting a Master’s Degree can also be a superb way for someone to obtain a position as an athletic director. Athletic directors need to be driven and motivated, and need to show the ability to lead. They also need to be very confident in their skills, as they must manage coaches that are sometimes of an exceptionally high pay grade and great importance.

How Do You Advance as an Athletic Director?

Athletic directors can advance by moving into universities and colleges that have greater prestige. This can usually be done by showing that they can successfully manage the budget and curriculum of their program in a way that increases the coach and the team’s capacity to learn and to succeed.

Athletic directors that can consistently show these results may be able to develop their career further. As noted by O*Net Online, athletic directors need to be extremely enterprising and realistic. They need to be able to take a project and complete it successfully.

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