What Training Is Required for a Career in Physical Education?

With the appropriate training in physical education, individuals can find careers as teachers, coaches or athletic trainers. Read on to find out more about the training that is required for a career in physical education. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Physical education careers, including teachers, coaches and athletic trainers, have varying training requirements, but many employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in physical education. Knowledge of many types of sports and experience in coaching can also help for those seeking careers in physical education. Some positions also require licensure or certification.

Important Facts About Becoming a Physical Educator

Programs Accreditation for athletic trainers is offered by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent
Concentrations Health and physical education; physical activity & sport performance
Online Availability Bachelor's and master's degree are fully available online
Median Salary (2018) $47,510 (for athletic trainers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for athletic trainers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Many physical education degree programs include courses in a wide variety of physical activities as well as how the human body works. Course topics can include human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, wellness studies and kinesiology. Students in physical education programs also explore exercise programs, teaching methods and sports management, or they may learn how to officiate team sports, such as softball and football. Physical education (P.E.) programs designed for prospective P.E. teachers also include courses in curriculum design, instruction methods and teaching strategies.

Training and Experience Options

An internship in physical education often provides students with teaching experience, in many cases at an actual school. Internship programs are available through some graduate and undergraduate degree programs or through physical education organizations. One such internship program is available through the National Association for Sport & Physical Education (NASPE), a part of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America, www.shapeamerica.org). Schools, fitness clubs, and community health organizations are examples of institutions that offer physical education internships.

Those seeking careers in physical education can also gain experience by volunteering to work with youths involved in sports. One can prepare for a physical education career by coaching for community sports programs or local community service organizations, such as the YMCA. Even jobs at summer camps might provide experience in overseeing recreational programs.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

Physical education students who plan on entering a teaching career also need to secure state licensure or certification to work in public schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), requirements vary by state but generally include having a bachelor's degree, completing a teacher preparation program and supervised teaching experience, and passing an exam.

Athletic trainers are also required to be licensed in most states. Certification requirements often include graduation from a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)-accredited degree program and passing an exam administered by the Board of Certification, Inc. Some coaches, such as those who work for high school athletic associations, are also required to be certified. Their certification requirements may include having CPR and first aid training or attending sports safety courses.

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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