Online Physical Education Diploma & Certification Programs

Online certificate programs in physical education (PE) are available on the graduate level. These programs are popular with middle and high school physical education teachers looking to enhance their education and career prospects, as well as current and aspiring coaches.

Essential Information

Some online certificate programs in physical education can be completed entirely online, but others have minimal in-person requirements. If the career goal after completing one of these programs is to become a physical education teacher, one would need to become licensed. In addition to a minimum of a bachelor's degree, eligibility requirements for state licensure typically include completion of an approved teacher training program and supervised teaching experience. If the goal is to become a coach, some schools require certification. However, many private schools do not require certification for coaches. If students plan to later earn a master's degree, some or all credits from some certificate programs may be applied toward their master's degree.

Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Physical Education

Physical education teachers at the middle and high school levels work with students to help them develop physical endurance and stamina through exercise, in addition to providing them with a basic knowledge of good nutrition. Online graduate certificate programs in PE are dominated by courses covering theories of physical education and coaching, as well as development and implementation of best practice techniques. A bachelor's degree is generally a prerequisite for such a program.

Program Information and Requirements

Distance-learners are generally able to complete online graduate certificate programs in PE in 6-12 months. These programs are largely self-directed and allow students to work at their own pace. Instructors blend traditional texts with audio and video presentations to give students a well-rounded experience. Online PE students need a computer with high-speed Internet access. Communication with instructors and classmates typically is conducted by e-mail.

List of Online Physical Education Courses at the Graduate Certificate Level

Physical education curricula on the graduate certificate level cover PE research and theories, basic health and nutrition, coaching and contemporary teaching methods.

Coaching Method Basics Course

This course covers the fundamental principles and unique challenges of coaching various team and individual sports for men and women. Topics of special interest include offensive and defensive mental strategy, motivation and scouting.

Nutrition Basics Course

Student get a comprehensive overview of the basics of proper nutrition as it applies to schools and community agencies. Some topics covered include health education, public health issues and nursing education.

Physical Education Curriculum and Special Methods Course

Students look at different variables in society and education that are associated with successful physical education programs. Special attention is paid to current trends in physical education curricula and course construction.

Career Information

Generally, individuals who pursue a graduate certificate in physical education are current middle or high school PE teachers or those looking to launch a coaching career. An August 2010 survey by found that K-12 physical education teachers had an annual salary ranging from $32,914-$50,336. Coaches made significantly less, earning an average median salary of $28,380 per year as of May 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For the decade spanning 2008-2018, the BLS predicted a 15% increase in job opportunities for middle school teachers in general and a nine percent increase for secondary school teachers ( However, physical education was among specialty areas that the BLS noted had an adequate number of qualified teachers.

Better job growth was predicted for coaches and scouts, who were forecast to enjoy a 25% rise in employment from 2008-2018. This growth was partially attributed to anticipated expansion of high school and college athletic programs.

Continuing Education

Requirements for teaching licensure vary from state to state, but generally include a minimum of a bachelor's degree, student teaching experience and passage of one or more exams. PE teachers and coaches interested in furthering their education can seek a master's degree or Ph.D. in physical education or a related field, such as kinesiology.

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