High school coaches are talented individuals. They develop and teach winning strategies. They demonstrate and promote sportsmanship, team spirit and perseverance. Coaches work long hours, including evenings, weekends and holidays during sporting seasons. In New Jersey, as in other U.S. cities, coaches’ salaries are rarely in line with the time, dedication and skill invested to see their students succeed.
Nationally, coaches at the high school level earn significantly less than coaches at colleges, universities and professional schools. In 2008, coaches in secondary schools earned a median income of $22,309, while coaches at the post-secondary level earned a median income of $39,550 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Coaches in the highest 10 percent of the pay scale earned more than $60,000 a year, while those in the lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,000.
New Jersey Salary
Data Universe publishes salary information for coaches employed in New Jersey school districts. A coach with a bachelor's degree and 2 years of experience draws an annual salary of $53,100 while a coach with 33 years of experience and a master's degree earns over $90,000 a year. In the Jackson Township school district, years of experience and education level does not dictate salary, according to information published on the Data Universe website. An analysis of three coaches’ salaries employed at Jackson Liberty High School demonstrates this assumption. All three coaches have master's degrees. The lowest paid of the three has 4 years of experience and earns $54,993 annually. The highest paid coach earns $75,875 annually and has 5 years of experience. The coach with the most experience, 11 years, earns just $63 more than the lowest paid coach and $20,819 less than the highest paid coach.
The average salaries for high school coaches in the five largest cities in New Jersey are fairly consistent, according to data compiled by Indeed. As of September 2011, the average coach’s salary in Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth and Edison is $46,000. Coaches working in Paterson, New Jersey earn $1,000 more than their counterparts in the other four largest New Jersey cities. Coaches working in New Jersey’s smallest city, Millburn, also earn $1,000 more, on average, than coaches working in four of the state’s largest cities.
The BLS predicts job prospects for coaches will increase by 23 percent in the decade between 2008 and 2018. During this time, more coaches will be needed to staff new schools and to fill the positions of retiring coaches. The best employment prospects will be for coaches who teach academic subjects as well as train athletes.