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Master's Degrees in Physical Education

With a master's degree in physical education, you'll have the know-how to give kids healthy habits for a lifetime. Read on to see what your degree options are. Get details about online learning, prerequisites and common classes.

What Kind of Master's Degree in Physical Education Can I Earn?

You can earn a Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) in Physical Education, depending on the school you choose. Most programs offer two tracks; one is for practicing teachers who wish to expand their skills or earn professional development credit for career advancement. The other is for students who still need teacher certification. You can complete these 30-36 credit programs in about two years, depending on your certification needs and whether you choose to study full or part time.

Degree Options Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Education
Online Availability Programs can be completed online for certified teachers, but fieldwork in school settings is typically required
Prerequisites A bachelor's degree and possibly standardized test scores and a minimum undergraduate GPA; some programs may require teaching certification
Common Courses Motor-skills acquisition, human development, psychology of physical education, biomechanics, learner assessment in physical education
Median Salary (2018)$60,320 (for high school teachers)*
Job Outlook (2018-28)4% growth (for all high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Programs for certified teachers are commonly available online and can occasionally be found for beginning teachers as well. You can access instruction at your convenience through online learning management systems and class websites, most often in the form of video lectures and assigned readings. Communication with your professors and peers takes place via e-mail, discussion boards and online chat sessions.

Keep in mind that coursework and projects often involve direct interaction with children in an educational setting. If you are a practicing teacher, you'll easily be able to apply your learning to your own classroom. If you're new to teaching, you'll need to arrange access to classes at local elementary and secondary schools in order to complete degree requirements.

What Do I Need to Apply?

If you're a practicing teacher seeking professional development, you should have experience in teaching physical education in a school setting. If you are a beginning teacher who needs to become certified, it helps to have an undergraduate degree in physical education, kinesiology or another related area. In both cases, you will need to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores and have an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75-3.0 or better.

What Will I Study?

As a physical education teacher, you need teaching skills and knowledge of human physiology. The curriculum combines the study of physical education teaching methods, best practices, and curriculum design with courses on human development, health and motor-skills acquisition. The following courses are commonly offered in both online and campus-based programs:

  • Learner assessment in physical education
  • Psychology of physical education
  • Developing gymnastics and dance content
  • Developing game content
  • Human growth and development
  • Biomechanics for exercise
  • Motor learning
  • Methods and materials in teaching fitness

You may be able to specialize in a variety of areas, such as athletic administration, sports psychology, health education or adapted physical education. Beginning teachers may also have requirements for field experience, internships or exams, depending on state requirements for teacher certification.