Bachelor's Degree Programs in Physical Education

Physical education teachers teach the importance of physical fitness, regular exercise and healthy living to students of all ages. Learn about bachelor's degree programs in physical education and find out career info for phys. ed. teachers. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study to Earn a Physical Education Bachelor's Degree?

Physical education programs prepare you to teach students from kindergarten through high school, though some programs more broadly focus on physical fitness training. During your program, you'll study the fundamentals of exercise and human development, including human anatomy, motor learning and exercise physiology. You'll also be trained as a teacher; this includes the study of classroom management, teaching pedagogy and educational psychology.

As you progress in your studies, you'll have the opportunity to complete student teaching at a local school. This allows you to practice what you're learning in a live setting, while an experienced teacher observes you and offers you feedback. In many cases, you can minor in an area that relates to a career you may be interested beyond school-based physical education; this includes personal training and athletic coaching. Bachelor's degrees in physical education are typically offered through on-campus programs, rather than distance learning programs, due to the hands-on nature of the field.

Key Topics Discussed Classroom management, motor learning, anatomy, educational psychology, exercise physiology
Possible Careers Athletic coach, dance instructor, physical education teacher, athletic director, motor development specialist
Available Advanced Degrees Master's degree in physical education, kinesiology or health science
Median Salary (2018)$39,820 (Fitness Trainers and Instructors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (Fitness Trainers and Instructors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Do With My Degree?

This bachelor's degree program prepares you to become a physical education teacher. If you'd like to teach in a public school, you'll need to earn a teaching license. This credential is required in all states and, can be earned for the grade level with which you'd like to work. For example, you can focus on elementary, middle or high school students. Though licensing requirements vary by state, you'll commonly need to have earned your bachelor's degree, completed student teaching and passed a licensure examination. If you decide to teach in a private school, then licensure is not required, though it may be preferred by some employers.

A bachelor's degree in physical education can also prepare you for other careers. You might work in a school as an athletic director, athletic coach, motor development specialist or dance instructor. Additionally, you can work outside a school setting as a fitness class instructor, personal trainer or recreational program leader.

What Graduate Options Can I Pursue?

There are a multitude of graduate school options relevant to a career in physical education. Many colleges and universities offer master's degree programs in physical education; these programs can provide you with continuing education that may be necessary to retain your teaching license. Alternatively, you can earn graduate degrees in closely related fields, such as kinesiology or athletic training. You could also use your background in physical education as a platform into another health field, such as public health or health services.

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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