Athletics has become about more than just sports. Nowadays, participants can expect to see their activities treated more like a business than a hobby. With an increased interest in health and wellness, participation in sports is being encouraged by governments, nonprofit organizations, and schools in a bid to get people moving more.
With this increased focus on athletics from the top down, there’s a need for well-educated athletic administrators at all levels.
Coursework is designed to equip you with the tools and knowledge needed to take on leadership roles and positions within top-performing jobs in various sectors. The concentrations and curriculum taught in an MAA program align to these, helping ensure you are able to get the best and most relevant experiences for your ambitions.
A master’s degree in athletic administration can help you find work within more specialized sports and playing levels of your interest, distinguish you as someone looking to pursue better job prospects including management and director positions, and enable you access to professions that you had not previously considered.
You can also network with like-minded individuals during your master’s journey that can help connect you with open positions once you have graduated, or who can introduce you to their network.
Personal satisfaction of earning a degree
In a study, Master of Athletic Administration graduates reported high satisfaction with their program choice.  Earning an MAA can help you in your professional development, whether you wish to go into sports management or school coaching. However, it can also be significantly beneficial in terms of your personal development.
As well as gaining highly transferable, practical skills of organization, research, leadership, and budgetary skills that can be taken straight to the workplace, the completing a demanding postgraduate program can help to improve your communication skills, confidence, self-esteem, and outlook on life.
Return on investment
The salaries that you can expect in leadership roles within athletic administration vary depending on the role and where you end up working. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic directors (who fall into the category of postsecondary education administrators) could expect in 2016 to get an average salary of $90,760. 
According to self-reported data compiled by PayScale.com, the average salary, depending on experience, ranges from $35,134 to $97,065. An assistant athletic director can expect a range from $30,593 to $77,482, depending on experience.  
Those who have about five to 10 years of experience as college athletic directors can expect, according self-reported data compiled by PayScale.com, an average of $69,000. After working for 10 to 20 years, they can expect a median salary of $81,000. If you have been in the role for more than two decades, it is possible to gain average earnings of over $100,000. 
Holding an MAA has the potential to make you an exciting candidate for future employers. Almost 90% of athletics directors hired since 2009 hold an advanced degree, with the most common in sports administration and education. 
The degree shows you have managed to reach a certain level of higher education recognized by an accredited institution and have the foundational knowledge required to begin a role in sports administration. It shows a commitment to your desire to reach higher leadership roles and demonstrates you have research-based, analytical, and practical skills that can be useful to an employer.
There is a wide range of employment opportunity in the field of athletics. Some positions that MAA grads often pursue include:
Each institution will put together its own program with a variety of courses in athletic administration. When looking at the curriculum, it’s important to think about your career goals and what you hope to achieve and learn through your academic work.
It is also key to consider what you are interested in and what you enjoy studying. Some of the typical core courses that you can expect to take include:
If you have already worked within athletic administration or you have a very specific career goal in mind, you may be interested in taking a specific electives or a specialization as part of your MS in Athletic Administration.
In terms of electives, you may look at studying topics such as:
Below are some of the specializations that may be offered, based on an analysis of a range of programs:
A Master of Athletic Administration degree is intended to prepare coaches and athletic professionals to become athletic directors or administrators. The program provides the tools to become a successful leader in sports administration by developing essential knowledge of business management, coaching, the team, and the athletes.
A Master of Athletic Administration degree is developed for coaches at all levels or athletic department professionals looking to become athletic directors or administrators.
Tuition costs vary by institution. The average program costs range from $15,000 to $26,000. Costs can also change depending on a student’s state of residency and that of the institution.
For the most part, those pursuing a Master of Athletic Administration are looking to advance in their careers as administrators. The main objective is usually to become an athletic director.
The primary focus of a Master of Athletic Administration is to develop the student in areas that will directly enhance business, leadership skills, and overall understanding of an athletic department at an interscholastic level. The goal is to provide the graduate with a lasting and successful career as an athletic administrator.
Accreditation: What accreditations does the program and university hold?
Support Network: What support systems are in place to keep you connected with fellow students and faculty?
Delivery Method: How flexible is the program, and is it fully online, on-campus, or a hybrid?
Learning Experiences: Will the program offer real-world athletic experiences?
Affordability: Can I afford the program?
On-Campus Requirements: Are there any requirements for me to attend on-campus workshops or sessions?
Reputation: Does the school and program have a good reputation and ranking?
Faculty Experience: Are there faculty with a broad array of athletic field and coaching experience?
It is important have a clear understanding of the different programs available in your desired field of study. Below are a couple of degrees that sound similar, but are not the same as a Master of Athletic Administration:
Master of Sport Administration and Leadership: This degree is designed for those interested in a career in the sports field in general, including interscholastic, collegiate, and professional levels. Graduates of this degree usually desire to work in athletic departments or in sports-related events.
Master of Coaching Education: This program is intended to enhance knowledge and understanding of coaching effectiveness, mental preparation in the sport, nutrition and conditioning for athletes, sports ethics, skill analysis, and sports medicine along with other skills. It is geared towards those interested in coaching-related careers at an interscholastic, college, and professional level.
Master of Science in Sports Management: This program equips those pursuing it with knowledge in leadership, ethics, business, communication/public relations, digital media, event planning, and related topics with the objective of having a career in sports. 
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees. The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and class itself. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.
Yes, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to apply for a Master of Athletic Administration.
GPA requirements are not standard, as they will vary by institution. Make sure to research and find out if you meet the minimum GPA requirements of the institution you are interested in.
Usually, a Master of Athletic Administration does not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) entrance exams. Instead, a completed application, a statement, letters of recommendation, and related fieldwork experience will be required. Remember, requirements will vary by institution.
Most programs will require in-field work experience in lieu of testing. The length of work experience and type will vary by institution.
Most Master of Athletic Administration programs will not require a specific bachelor’s degree. However, there might be certain accreditation requirements for the institution where the bachelor’s degree was obtained from.
There are usually no prerequisite course requirements. However, make sure to check on GPA and accreditation requirements for individual institutions.
The core courses of a Master of Athletic Administration usually include subjects such as:
Principals in Athletic Administration
Management and Leadership in Sport
Finance in Athletics
Legal Foundations of Risk Management in Athletics
Facility Design, Management, and Maintenance
Sport Governance and Policy Development
Human Resource Management in Sport Organizations
Ethics in Sports
The typical length of a Master of Athletic Administration is two years. This is an average, as the exact length will vary by the institution.
Most Master of Athletic Administration programs will not require fieldwork or a practicum. They will, however, require current in-field experience upon starting the program.
Yes, many universities offer a Master of Athletic Administration online.
No, your diploma will not indicate whether it was earned online or on-campus. The diploma will disclose the program you completed, the institution, and the date it was completed.
Yes, both an online or campus-based Master of Athletic Administration will have the same value and curriculum.
It is important to research your institution’s accreditation. An institution offering a Master of Athletic Administration should have accreditation from one of the accrediting bodies represented by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC). The accrediting bodies are as follows: 
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
The Higher Learning Commission
Northwest Commision on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission
The institution’s regional accreditation ensures that the institution and its programs meet the highest standards for quality education. However, the institution might also have program-specific accreditation. For instance, some Master of Athletic Administration programs will also have program-specific accreditation such as the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). This will vary by university and is not necessary.
Employers are aware that accrediting bodies hold universities to the highest standards for quality education that is recognized nationwide. A degree from an accredited institution can assure an employer that pertinent academic standards were met.
It is important to research the university you are considering to pursue a Master of Athletic Administration. The U.S. Department of Education is the best source to find an institution’s accrediting bodies. Here you will find a database of all universities and their current accrediting body. 
Graduates of a Master of Athletic Administration program will typically pursue a career as an athletic administrator with an end goal of becoming an athletic director. If the student is already an athletic director, the goal is to enhance knowledge and increase earning potential.
The most common job title graduates of a Master of Athletic Administration have is athletic director. Salaries will vary from state to state and the place of employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which places athletic directors as postsecondary education administrators, the median wage was $88,580 in May 2015. 
Graduates of a Master of Athletic Administration program will typically work in organizations such as schools, universities, or after-school programs/clubs. 
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment growth for postsecondary educators is expected to increase 9% from 2014 to 2024.