The purpose of this study was to identify the number and type of higher education institution’s (HEI) coach education programs (CEP) within the USA and survey CEP coordinators regarding curricular practices and program challenges. Researchers conducted an online search to collect information about the type of program, field experiences, and accreditation status of HEI’s CEP. As a follow-up, program coordinators were requested to participate in an online survey including information about curricular content, practical experiences, alignment with standards, and program challenges. Three hundred and eight HEI offered CEP, most were minor programs. Fifty nine percent of these programs offered field experiences and only 4% were NCACE accredited. Sixty two program coordinators completed the online survey. Seventy four percent of these programs offered a field experience, 72% had additional practical experiences incorporated into coursework, and 45% of programs definitely aligned with the National Standards of Sport Coaches while 9% definitely aligned with the International Sport Coaching Framework. Program coordinators also indicated five challenge areas related to academic setting, student learning, community perceptions, marketing, standards and accreditation. Overall, an increased number of HEI offer CEP providing some evidence that coaching is advancing as a profession within the USA; however, this study identifies areas of improvement and challenges facing programs.
Lori A. Gano-Overway is with the Department of Health and Human Sciences, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA. Kristen Dieffenbach is with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.
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