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Best Career Change For A Sports Coach

Becoming A Teacher

Scott Fikes
Scott Fikes on June 7, 2023

You’ve been in a leadership position your entire coaching career. Yet, if it’s time to transition, you don’t need to venture far from your coaching abilities to continue inspiring and guiding others.

Changing from coaching to teaching is a natural progression with a lot of potential for personal and professional growth. Just as a coach guides individual athletes to reach their full potential, a teacher empowers students to excel academically and develop essential life skills. 

Both roles require exceptional communication, leadership and motivational abilities. By embracing the transition from the sports field to the classroom, coaches can leverage their expertise, passion and commitment to make a lasting impact on the lives of young learners, shaping not only their academic success but also their character and future prospects. 

Here are 4 reasons why the best career change for a sports coach is to become a teacher:

  1. You have highly-sought after transferable skills
  2. You impact and influence students
  3. You have a passion for learning
  4. You want long-term career stability


You Have Highly-Sought After Transferable Skills



Sports coaching and teaching share many transferable skills that make the transition between the two jobs smooth. These transferable skills include:career change for a sports coach

  • The ability to adapt to changing circumstances 
  • Collaboration skills
  • Heightened communication skills
  • Compassion
  • Assessment skills
  • Excellent ability to listen
  • Creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Patience and perseverance
  • Professional work ethic
  • Trustworthiness

Let’s dive further into a few of these important skills. Communication is one of the most important skills to have as an educator. Coaches must master this skill as well since they convey instructions, provide constructive feedback and establish rapport with athletes. Teachers must also engage students while explaining complex concepts and fostering a supportive learning environment. 

Leadership is another skill coaches possess in abundance. They are adept at motivating and guiding athletes, setting goals and creating a culture of teamwork. In the teaching profession, leadership skills are equally crucial. Teachers must lead their classrooms, manage student behavior and inspire a sense of discipline and responsibility. 

Finally, coaches collaborate with other coaches, trainers and support staff to develop strategies and nurture athlete development as part of a team. Similarly, teachers must work within a collaborative framework, working with colleagues, administrators and parents to enhance the educational experience for students. 


You Impact And Influence Students



Motivation and inspiration are core components of coaching. This ability to motivate and inspire others is highly valuable in teaching, where educators play a vital role in igniting students’ passion for learning, overcoming challenges and achieving academic success. 

While coaches have a natural inclination toward making a difference in the lives of others, the same can be said for teachers. As a teacher, coaches can shape the minds and futures of students by fostering critical thinking and nurturing their personal growth. 

Not only do teachers play a vital role in shaping students’ academic success, but they also create a safe and inclusive environment where people feel valued and supported. Teachers, like coaches, often serve as mentors and role models. They nurture self-esteem and confidence while encouraging students to explore their strengths and overcome their challenges.

Both a sports coach and a teacher have a significant influence on shaping students’ characters and values. They impart moral and ethical principles and promote empathy among their teammates or classmates.

One key way you can impact the individuals you lead in both professions is by preparing them for future success. Both coaches and teachers equip students with essential life skills, from problem-solving to collaboration and adaptability. Both professions encourage students to set ambitious goals and help empower students to navigate any roadblocks that may come up along the way.


You Have A Passion For Learning



As a sports coach, you have a passion for continuous learning and improvement. Transitioning into teaching provides an avenue to channel that passioncareer change for a sports coach into a different realm. By becoming a teacher, coaches can indulge their intellectual curiosity, explore new areas of interest and inspire students to develop their own love for learning. 

As a teacher, there are several opportunities to expand your expertise. One of the requirements of maintaining your Texas teacher certification is that you fulfill continuing education requirements. Completion of these professional development and educational activities are required in order to renew your teaching credential.

You can also earn a multiple subject teaching credential, which permits you to teach in multiple subject areas or even grade levels. Many educators choose to take several content tests in order to become certified in complementary subject areas, such as Physical Education (Grades EC-12) and Health (Grades EC-12). 

Other Texas teaching credential program interns choose to pair the Core Subjects exam with specialty areas like special education, a foreign language exam, speech or reading specialist.

You can even continue your passion for the coaching field by taking on new challenges as a coach at the middle school or high school levels. Many secondary schools have sports teams that need coaches, allowing you to teach during the day and return to your coaching roots after school. 


You Want Long-Term Career Stability



The reality for sports coaches is that career stability isn’t always guaranteed. Sports coaching careers are often influenced by factors like team performance and changing market demands. On the other hand, teaching offers more long-term career stability, especially in areas where there is a high demand for educators. 

Like many states, Texas has been working to recruit educators into the field to help offset a significant shortage of qualified teachers in recent years. 

During the 2021-22 school year, the state experienced a 11.57% attrition from the previous year. That number is up from the 9.34% rate during the 2020-21 school year, and the highest experienced in the last 15 years.

There are seven areas that have experienced a higher need. The TEA submits an annual list of teacher shortage areas to the U.S. Department of Education. If the Department of Education approves this list, a certified teacher with certain types of student loans may qualify for partial loan forgiveness, deferment or cancellation. 

For the 2022-23 school year, the U.S. Department of Education approved these seven shortage areas for Texas school districts:

  1. Bilingual/English as a Second Language - Elementary and Secondary Levels
  2. Special Education - Elementary and Secondary Levels
  3. Career and Technical Education - Secondary Level
  4. Technology Applications and Computer Science - Elementary and Secondary Levels
  5. English Language Arts and Reading - Elementary and Secondary Levels
  6. Mathematics - Secondary Level
  7. Science - Secondary Level

Coaches who transition into teaching, particularly in one of these above areas, can find stability and security in a profession that offers consistent employment opportunities, benefits and the potential for professional growth through continuing education.


How To Transition From A Sports Coach To A Teacher



If you have already earned your bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, one of the most efficient ways to earn your online teaching credential is by enrolling in an educator preparation program. Also known as an alternative teacher certification program, an EPP provides a pathway to earn a certification in just four to six months in Texas.  

The Texas Administrative Code mandates that in order to enroll in an EPP, an individual must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript or in the last 60 semester hours of courses completed
  • Be at least in the final semester of a bachelor’s degree program (in which you must provide a copy of your final semester schedule of classes, a letter from an academic advisor indicating you are eligible for graduation and an official transcript through the previous semester)

An approved educator preparation program provides interns with 300 hours of training. Texas Administrative Code does permit prior degrees, military service, paid work experience and specific training to count toward these hours in some cases.

Of these 300 hours, 30 hours must take place in a mentor-observed classroom teaching time. The preparation program you choose is very important because a program’s teacher advisors will work closely with you to ensure you are ready to teach. ECAP has former principals, vice principals and teachers who have extensive experience to help you through this process. 

You will also need to pass the appropriate certification exams that we mentioned above, including content exams and the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities, which “is designed to assess whether a test taker has the requisite knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess,” according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Suppose you’re considering leaving your position as a head coach full-time and pursuing a career as a teacher. In that case, school districts across Texas need you to bring your hands-on experience and passion for making a lasting impact on students’ lives from the field to the classroom.


texas teacher

Topics: Becoming A Teacher

Written by Scott Fikes

Scott is the Deputy Executive Director and Program Consultant. Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from Texas Woman's University and a Master of Education from Texas Woman's University. Scott has extensive experience in both the classroom and as an administrator in districts in North Texas.

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