Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education: Program Overview

Oct 12, 2019

Essential Information

Those with a love of sports and a knack for teaching may find the perfect career in physical education (P.E.). Entrance into bachelor's degrees in physical education usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Many physical education degree programs offer opportunities for student teaching and licensure.

Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education

Bachelor's degree programs can prepare students to become elementary or secondary school P.E. teachers, fitness instructors, athletic coaches or athletic directors. P.E. bachelor's degree programs generally include a student-teaching experience. Future physical education teachers can obtain mandatory licensing by passing a qualifying test and a Praxis examination.

Most bachelor's degree programs in physical education instruct students in the areas of student diversity and growth, classroom management, motivation, instruction and assessment. Students also complete general education requirements. Core courses might include the following:

  • Exercise psychology, anatomy, and physiology
  • Motor skills development and kinesiology
  • Nutrition
  • Injury prevention, first aid, and physically adapted activities
  • Psychomotor skills
  • Physical education teaching methods, organization, and administration

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Job prospects for elementary and middle school teachers in general were expected to grow by 12% from 2018-2028, while high school teaching jobs were predicted to grow 3-4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May 2018, elementary school teachers made an average of $62,200, while high school teachers earned $64,340 (

The BLS also reported that coaching and athletic scouting positions were expected to increase by 11% from 2018-2028 as schools expanded their athletic programs. Coaches and scouts earned a mean annual salary of $43,870 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

In addition to earning a bachelor's degree, aspiring physical education teachers will need to acquire their state licensure. Requirements vary by state, but typically include graduation from an accredited university, work experience in a school setting and passage of a basic competency exam, as well as a Praxis test specific to physical education.

Most states require teachers to amass a certain number of continuing education hours to renew their licensure, and some require teachers to complete a graduate program within a set number of years to be eligible for tenure. Master's degree programs in physical education help teachers advance their instructional skills while keeping current in P.E. curricula. Most offer areas of concentration, such as teaching, athletic administration, sports psychology or adaptive physical education.

Ph.D. programs are typically available through kinesiology programs, which generally offer specializations in areas of adaptive physical education, applied biomechanics, exercise physiology or sports medicine. Ph.D. graduates often find work as researchers or clinicians.

Bachelor's degrees in physical education provide students with the skills to teach physical education in elementary or secondary schools. Also, the degree can prepare students for advanced degrees in physical education which can help them obtain careers at the collegiate level of academia.

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