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Associate Degree in Physical Education: Program and Course Info

Some community colleges offer associate degree programs in physical education, which can either lead to entry-level positions in fitness training or be transferred to a baccalaureate program in physical education.

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Essential Information

Associate of Science in Physical Education programs are designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of health and fitness principles. The curriculum covers basic human anatomy and body movement, as well as standard exercise routines applicable to fitness training. Some programs also include dietetic and nutritional courses. Many programs at the associate level allow students to select electives in specific sports, such as swimming, wrestling, football, or weight conditioning. Common prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED and applicants are generally expected to be physically fit.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
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Associate of Science in Physical Education

Classroom lectures in physical education cover the science and principles behind exercise physiology and fitness training. Hands-on courses cover step-by-step instructions related to those subjects. Examples of courses include:

  • Analysis of sports and exercise
  • General and exercise psychology
  • Health and nutrition
  • Anatomy and physical assessment
  • Safety practices and CPR training
  • Individual and group fitness instruction

Popular Career Options

Physical education instructors typically require a bachelor's degree to enter academics, though some states may require a graduate-level degree. Other professions may need only an associate degree. Career options open to graduates include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Fitness center manager
  • Recreation director
  • Assistant coach
  • Sports manager
  • Wellness coach
  • Community health educator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that fitness trainers and aerobics instructors made a median yearly salary of $36,160 in 2015. These jobs were predicted to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024.

The BLS also noted that recreation workers made a median salary of $23,320 as of 2015. Employment openings in this field were expected to increase 10% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average.

Continuing Education Information

An associate degree program in physical education can act as suitable preparation for several bachelor's degree majors, including physical education, sports management, and kinesiology. Master's degree programs are also available in each of these subjects, providing more advanced instruction. Students interested in becoming gym teachers at middle, secondary, or postsecondary institutions also require licensure from a State Board of Education. Fitness trainers may require certification from an organization, such as the American Council on Exercise or the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Students interested in physical education can pursue associate's degrees in the field. These programs include hands-on training in fitness techniques, as well as courses in human anatomy and nutrition. Graduates of these programs may find entry-level work in the fitness or recreation fields. They can also go on to pursue bachelor's degrees in physical education, which are required for most aspiring physical education teachers.

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