How Much do Athletic Directors Earn?

An athletic director is an administrative official at a college or university, who oversees one or more athletics programs at the school. Some larger institutions with more prestigious athletics clubs have multiple athletics directors; they may have one per club, as well as an overall administrator managing the entire athletics program. Somewhat less commonly, prominent high schools and other secondary education institutions in the United States will also have one or more athletic directors.

The duties of an athletic director are wide-ranging, and vary somewhat from one institution to another, but they generally include management of all aspects of a school’s athletics program. With this kind of broad responsibility on their shoulders, it’s only fair that many potential candidates for the position are wondering: just how much does an athletic director earn?

What Are the Academic Prerequisites for Athletic Director?

A wide range of skills are drawn upon by the athletics director during the discharge of their responsibilities day-to-day. Strong marketing, analytical and communications skills are required, along with organizational and logistical skills; it’s the full management package. As such, sports management degree programs are favored for athletic directors, with major universities usually requiring an MBA or higher. A sports marketing degree may also meet all the prerequisites of the position, although it isn’t as ideally suited. An institution that might require a Bachelor’s degree in sports management, for example, is likely to prefer a Master’s degree in sports marketing.

An Athletic Director’s Responsibilities are Wide-Ranging

For starters, the AD is invariably the man or woman in charge of hiring coaches for a school’s various athletic clubs. In an institution with multiple club-specific directors, this may be at the discretion of the individual club’s AD, or it might fall under the purview of an overall administrative professional. The AD coordinates with coaches to schedule practices, and works with their counterparts in other schools to arrange game times. Athletics directors are the individuals most likely to be collaborating with conferences, leagues, and other larger organizations within the world of college and university sports programs. Simultaneously, the athletic director needs to be someone who is knowledgeable enough to provide a wide range of guidance to coaches and athletes.

How Much Does an Athletics Director Earn?

The earnings of an athletic director in the United States vary quite a bit, but are significantly more than the average professional compensation of approximately $54,000 per year. At the high school level, those schools with athletic directors typically pay an average that’s in excess of $90,000 per year, thanks to the resources and prestige that an athletic program of this repute draws to a school. Many of these schools are fully or partially private in funding, and rely significantly on attracting positive press. Collegiate sports pays an average of $110,000 per year, but varies widely across a broader range than that of high school clubs. A college or university athletic director will earn a significant amount of his or her salary based on performance.

An athletic director at a high school or other secondary educational institution averages slightly more than $90,000 each year, before taxes. This reflects the broad spectrum of responsibilities placed on the AD’s shoulders, as well as the resources that such a prestigious athletics program brings to its school. At institutions dedicated to post-secondary education, the athletic director’s salary is much more highly dependent upon performance. The average gross is approximately $110,000. This varies far more widely than the average for a high school AD, however, within a range, that runs from about $85,000 to almost $150,000.

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