How to Become a Wrestling Coach

Wrestling is a unique sport that helps people build mental and physical toughness. As a wrestling fan, you may be interested in pursuing a career as a coach in the industry to help support that culture and work in the sport you love. If you’re interested in discovering how to become a wrestling coach, here’s what you need to know to get started.

Wrestling Coaches: How to Get Started

There are a few decisions you’ll need to make as you start thinking about how to become a certified wrestling coach. 

First, you’ll have to decide whether you have enough education and experience to search for a job immediately. About 67% of wrestling coaches have bachelor’s degrees. You don’t need one to get this job, but it may help. And you’ll need an extensive wrestling background to have the right skill set to coach for it.

Once you’re confident you have the proper education and experience, the next step is figuring out which type of wrestling coaching job you want. High school and college wrestling coaches are the two main options here, and we’ll take an in-depth look at each career path.

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High School Wrestling Coaches

There are more than 260,000 high school wrestlers in the U.S., and they all need coaches. That means your best chance of becoming a professional wrestling coach may be to start coaching at the high school level.

Types of Jobs

At the high school level, you can either be a head wrestling coach or an assistant wrestling coach. This is one of the first decisions you make as you think about becoming a high school wrestling coach.

Head coaches are responsible for leading the team as it prepares for match days and works to improve. They spend a lot of time planning training regiments, working with individual players, and looking at the big picture. The average high school wrestling head coach earns $44,700 annually.

Assistant wrestling coaches typically are only employed part-time and paid hourly, and many of them earn a little over $20 per hour. These wrestling coaches focus more on implementing the big picture strategies that the head coach comes up with, and they’ll spend more time with individual wrestlers working on different skills.

Skills and Experience

  • Previous high-level wrestling experience
  • Previous experience coaching wrestling in high school or college (working with your college wrestling team as a graduate assistant is a great way to get this)
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to multitask

Education and Certifications

As covered previously, having a bachelor’s degree can be helpful, but you don’t need one. Majoring in physical fitness or sports medicine will be your best option.

USA Wrestling is the sport’s main governing body. You can get a certification that helps with your job hunt from them just by paying a small fee and completing the training. You’ll want the bronze training package so that you can work with students in the high school age range.

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College Wrestling Coaches

There are about 12,00 college wrestlers in the United States, which means there are fewer opportunities to coach at this level. But you can do it with the proper training and experience.

Types of Jobs

As you think about how to become a college wrestling coach, your options will typically come down to being either a head coach or an assistant coach again. Schools also often hire graduate assistants to help with some basic wrestling coaching tasks. But these positions are reserved for students and typically pay minimum wage or close to it.

Head coaches focus more on strategy and high-level goal-setting. In contrast, assistant coaches spend more time implementing those tactics and working with individual wrestlers to improve their skills.

The average college wrestling coach earns between $40,000 and $70,000. Location and experience play the most significant role in determining a coach’s salary. 

That being said, the top college wrestling coaches earn hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly. For example, Iowa’s Tom Brands is set to make $700,000 in 2024-2025 alone.

Skills and Experience

  • High-level wrestling experience
  • Strong background in coaching
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong motivational capabilities
  • Ability to plan strategically at a high level

Education and Certifications

The qualifications you need to become a college wrestling coach are essentially the same as what you would need to coach at the high school level but more in-depth.

For example, outside of rare exceptions, you need a bachelor’s degree to coach at the college level, whereas it’s only useful at the high school level. Additionally, you may want to earn a higher-level certification from USA Wrestling. The governing body offers Silver and Gold certifications, which could help you stand out from other coaching candidates.

And, of course, high-level wrestling experience is almost always a must at this level. The more impressive your career as a wrestler was, the easier it will often be for you to find a job as a college coach.

Top 5 States for Wrestling Jobs

Finding a job as a wrestling coach may be easier if you look in the right places. With that in mind, here’s a list of the top states for finding a wrestling coaching job and the average salary for coaches there:

  1. Connecticut: 180 jobs, $54,197 average annual salary
  2. Arizona: 307 jobs, $52,508 average annual salary
  3. New Jersey: 144 jobs, $59,582 average annual salary
  4. Minnesota: 224 jobs, $49,599 average annual salary
  5. Massachusetts: 166 jobs, $54,020 average annual salary

Starting Your Coaching Career

A big part of starting your career as a wrestling coach is finding the right job opportunity and applying for it quickly. JobsInSports.com makes that easier by maintaining an up-to-date list of every wrestling coaching job opportunity in the United States.

You can create an account with us today to find the best wrestling coach job opportunities in your area and start applying immediately.