Human Capital, Formal Qualifications, and Income of Elite Sport Coaches

Pamela Wicker
Johannes Orlowski
and Christoph Breuer

This study examines the effect of various formal qualifications on the income of elite sport coaches in less commercialized sports. Elite sport coaches (i.e., coaches who are at least partially funded by the federal government) were surveyed online (n=186). Altogether, they reported 65 different formal qualifications that could be summarized into eleven categories. The regression results show that only a university degree in sport sciences has a significant positive effect on monthly net income, while various coaching licenses, diplomas, certificates, and formations are insignificant. From the perspective of human capital theory, the findings indicate that schooling and learning on the job are more relevant than further activities that increase the knowledge base. Coaches seeking higher income should invest in a university degree in sport sciences. Sport officials and policy makers should reconsider why the various formal qualifications provided, promoted, and requested by sport associations are not reflected in coaching salaries.