Physical Education Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for physical education majors. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Career Options for Physical Education Graduates?

Physical education majors can work to develop athletes as well as teach health and fitness to communicates and students. Coaches plan training, assess players abilities and motivate athletes. Having a degree in physical education is helpful because, this career involves assembling physical conditioning programs, teaching proper techniques and keeping records of athletes performances.

Health educators can be PE teachers but they don't only work in schools. A degree in physical education can prepare you for a career where you address the health needs of a community, create community programs that inform people of these needs and help people find more information about related topics. Learn more about employment options for this field in the chart below.

Coaches and Scouts Health Educator
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Instructing, public speaking Social perceptiveness, time management
Job Growth (2014-24) 6%* 12%*
Median Salary (2015) $31,000* $51,960*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education?

A number of colleges have majors in physical education. The bachelor's degree program's primary focus is to instill leadership qualities and promote physical health. After completing this program, you should be able to coach, lead and teach the basics of exercise, sports and health science. Some of the subjects you may study include natural sciences, communication, leadership, kinesiology, motor development and health education.

If you want to be a teacher, make sure that your health and physical education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). These accreditations are in addition to the school's general accreditation.

What Careers Can I Consider with a Bachelor's Degree?

With a bachelor's degree in physical education, and mandatory teaching licensure, you'll be ready for work in a public school. Most likely, you'll have prepared yourself for a career as a health or physical education teacher in K-12. Courses in lifeguard training, conditioning, motor development and first aid will ready you for work with students.

Many physical education teachers supplement their incomes by coaching football, basketball and other sports. Courses in coaching, movement, program organization, planning and instructional strategies will prepare you for a leadership role. You can also pursue a job as a health educator in non-school environments, such as hospitals, non-profit community health centers and local governments.

How Much Can I Earn in These Careers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 the median salary for coaches was $31,000 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, Payscale.com noted in October 2016 that physical education teachers in K-12 schools started at around $28,849 - $51,372, annually. Over time, your salary could increase, as Payscale.com notes that those with experience earned as much as $49,781 as of same month. Health educators made an average of $56,690 as of May 2013, reports the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few careers related to those obtained by physical education graduates include dietitians, epidemiologists and athletic trainers. With a bachelors degree in dietetics, public health nutrition or a related field, dietitians and nutritionists help individuals and communities develop health eating habits, educate people on the effects of different diets and keep up with food research. Epidemiologists help communities by studying the origins and patterns of diseases of injuries, then use their findings to affect public policies. Professionals in this field have a master's degree in public health. Athletic trainers have a similar role as coaches. With a bachelors or masters degree in a related field they organize exercise plans for athletes to prevent and/or treat injuries.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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