Sports coaches, instructors and officials are involved in coaching, training and instruction of a sports team or of individual sportspeople, and officiating at sporting events.

Where sports coaches, instructors and officials are employed

There are limited full-time positions for professional sports coaches. Coaches are employed by sporting clubs and associations, government agencies, government-funded centres (such as the Australian Institute of Sport, state, territory or regional institutes or academies of sport), holiday resorts and centres specialising in particular sports (such as horse-riding schools), swimming centres, health clubs, community institutions and educational institutions (schools and tertiary, for example).

In some sports, coaches may be self-employed in a sports training centre that they own or lease. Many sports coaches also work on a voluntary basis.

There are a number of sports that have coaching development officers who are responsible for coordinating the many part-time and voluntary coaches who contribute to the sport.

Job opportunities depend on the number of people playing various sports, corporate sponsorship and media coverage of sporting events, the performance of Australian sporting teams and individuals and the level of community interest/involvement in these performances. Other factors include the acceptance of sports as part of a healthy lifestyle, the amount of money available to sporting clubs, the effectiveness of sports promotion, as well as the trend towards professionalism in many sports, including football, basketball, baseball, netball, hockey and soccer.


Full-time sports coaches, instructors and officials in South Australia generally earn less than $600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Sports coach, instructor and offical

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 329 people employed full-time as sports coaches, instructors and officials in South Australia compared with 257 in 2006.

How to become one

You can work as a sports coach without formal qualifications. However, entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a background in the specific sport and/or have qualifications in a relevant discipline. You may like to consider a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in sport coaching or sport development. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become a sports coach through a traineeship in sport coaching. Entry requirements may vary but employers generally require year 10. For more information see traineeships

Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

See courses related to this occupation.

Alternatively, you can become a sports coach by completing a degree in sports coaching, exercise and sports science, sport management or human movement. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry or physics are normally required.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning  and Teaching (QILT).

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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