High school athletic directors earn good salaries in their capacity as leader of the school’s athletic program. The job is demanding and rewarding, and the director has a broad range of responsibilities tied to her level of earning and compensation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, athletic directors fall within the category of high school administrators with an average salary of $90,200 in 2011.
Significant Disparity from State to State:
Interestingly, there is a significant range in salaries of directors from state to state. While Texas leads the way in number of administrators, it has a relatively low annual mean wage of $77,440; West Virginia has the lowest at $64,130. New Jersey and New York are on the opposite end of the spectrum averaging $120,130 and $118,570, respectively. Other factors, such as your qualifications, degrees and performance can move you up the scale. Entry level salaries are typically in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
An athletic director's specific responsibilities include preparing and executing the school’s athletic budget, hiring coaches and managing and reporting on the success of teams, which includes travel preparation. They must ensure that participating students meet all academic standards required in order to represent their schools. Directors must deal with problems or conflicts that arise between student and coaches. They also build relationships within their communities that further the interests of the programs, including sponsors and media.
Experience and Reputation are Key Assets:
Athletic directors are often former coaches who have demonstrated success and leadership within their districts. Many are former athletes who have learned strong communication and leadership skills through their own sports experiences. ADs typically have an undergraduate degree in education and complement this with a master's in sport management or other comparable degree or certifications. Qualifications such as a master's degree often entitle them to higher levels of compensation.
Recent Trends Include Budget Cuts:
There is a recent and ongoing trend in education to cut the budgets of athletic programs in the face of difficult economic times and a refocusing of many schools on core educational competencies such as literacy. In some case, this has impacted the compensation of athletic directors. However, it has had a greater impact on the amount of resources and programs offered at high schools. Some athletic directors are involved in fundraising activities to further support their students.