Physical Education Certification & Diploma Programs

Learn about physical education degree and certificate programs and get info about teacher certification. Research the potential coursework of these programs and check the employment statistics for teachers.

Essential Information

Students who want to prepare for careers in which they teach physical education might earn bachelor's degrees or post-bachelor's certificates. A 4-year undergraduate program such as the Bachelor of Science in Physical Education could prepare individuals to earn K-12 teacher licensing or physical education certification. Students build sports, exercise and curriculum design skills, as well as teaching methods through a student-teaching experience.

A Post-Bachelorette Certificate in Physical Education program has similarities to a bachelor's degree program. However, it is designed to teach those who have bachelor's degrees in disciplines other than education. In addition to a bachelor's degree, some schools may require coursework in kinesiology for admission. In addition to classroom training, students complete a teaching experience. Certification may be granted through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. A bachelor's degree, a teaching license and professional experience are necessary for certification.

Bachelor's Degrees in Physical Education

Prospective physical education (P.E.) teachers may earn a Bachelor of Science in Education or a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education to prepare for their teacher license or P.E. certification. These programs are designed for those who want to teach physical education within schools to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Students learn how to use exercise, games and sports to build a solid, age-appropriate program for each grade level. Additionally, students gain experience within a classroom, where they teach and assist under a licensed P.E. teacher.

Education Prerequisites

Undergraduate programs usually require a high school diploma for admission. Some schools may require students to complete the general education courses with a satisfactory grade point average prior to being accepted into the education program.

Course Topics

The curricula of P.E. bachelor's degree programs includes coursework in both teaching methodologies and physical fitness activities. Topics covered in a program may include:

  • Sport skills
  • Resistance training
  • First aid and safety
  • P.E. teaching methods
  • Curriculum design
  • Kinesiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that national employment opportunities for all teachers are expected to increase 13% from 2008-2018 ( Despite this fact, the BLS also states there are enough qualified P.E. teachers. In March 2012, reported that most P.E. teachers earned between $23,742 and $61,194.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS indicates that all states require public school teachers to be licensed. In most states, a bachelor's degree in education is required, but there are alternative licensing options for those who earn a bachelor's degree in another subject. Teachers may also choose to advance their education by earning a master's degree in education. The BLS cites some states require teachers to earn a master's degree in order to maintain their license.

Post-Bachelorette Certificate in Physical Education

A post-bachelorette certificate program allows students to qualify for any special state requirements for licensing or to meet requirements for teaching certification. These programs are an option for individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in an area outside education. Similar to bachelor's programs, most certificate programs are designed to prepare one to teach P.E. in grades K-12.

Education Prerequisites

To be admitted into a post-bachelorette certificate program, students need a bachelor's degree. Additionally, standardized test scores may be required. Some schools may also require a resume, letters of recommendation or prior coursework in kinesiology.

Course Topics

The curricula of P.E. certificate programs usually covers teaching methods, general education and physical education topics. Specific topics may include:

  • Methods of teaching games
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Adapted physical education
  • Motor development
  • P.E. evaluation methods
  • Team sports

Certification Information

Teachers may seek professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The NBPTS offers two physical education certifications, early adolescence through young adulthood and early and middle childhood. The NBPTS indicates that their certifications may help with career advancement and meeting continuing education standards (

In order to apply for certification, applicants must meet education and experience requirements. Besides holding a bachelor's degree, the NBPTS states they must have at least three years of experience and be licensed. There are some exceptions to licensure.

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