LEWISTON — In the midst of hosting the Avista/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series, Lewis-Clark State College administrators announced on Thursday the college has been notified of final approvals to launch its graduate certificate in Sport Coaching this fall.

The college has received approval from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) to offer a 12-credit online graduate program in Sport Coaching. This will be the second post-graduate offering in the college’s 128-year history. In April, the NWCCU gave LC State approval to offer a graduate certificate in Nursing Management & Leadership, also beginning this fall.

“We’re very excited about this new certificate in Sport Coaching and the doors it will help open for our students – including many of our student-athletes – who aspire to be coaches,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “Being fully online, we’re also confident it will bring opportunities for advancement for those already in this growing profession, from recreation league coaches to high school and college-level, no matter where they live.”

The certificate program, which is structured so that students can transfer seamlessly to master’s programs at LC State’s sister institutions, consists of four three-credit courses and has been aligned with the National Standards for Sports Coaches. The four kinesiology courses are Applied Sports Psychology, Sport Coaching Practicum, Coaching Competitive Ethics and Applied Sport Physiology.

“The Graduate Sport Coaching Certificate will prepare students with both the technical and tactical knowledge, leadership skills, and decision-making abilities to effectively train athletes physically and mentally while adhering to best practices in competitive ethics,” said Fred Chilson, dean for the School of Professional Studies & Graduate Studies at LC State. “The curriculum is aligned with the National Standards for Sport Coaches and will provide students with principles relative to best coaching practices that can be applied at any level of sport. Each student will complete a required coaching practicum to align course work with current coaching practice.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment of coaches is expected to grow by 12% over the next decade, much higher than the average for all occupations (4%). Increasing high school enrollment, expansion of small college opportunities, and increasing sport participation by women are all contributing factors in this projection. Job prospects in the coaching field will remain competitive and coaches may seek additional training/education with this certificate to improve their chances of employment.

In March of 2020, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a bill that officially amended Idaho Code to allow LC State to offer graduate-level coursework. 

A three-person NWCCU panel reviewed LC State’s proposal and unanimously recommended approval because “evidence was provided that showed that the program has been carefully developed incorporating ideas from on- and off-campus,” Ronald Larsen, senior vice president with NWCCU, wrote in the notification letter.

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