Through a bachelor's degree program in physical education, students explore methods for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They also learn how to create personalized wellness plans, focusing on proper nutrition and exercise. Due to the hands-on experience required, there are no online bachelor's degree programs in physical education. These programs primarily train aspiring teachers, but graduates can also become fitness instructors or coaches. Courses cover fitness and health as well as teaching methods.
These programs require four years of full-time study to complete. Students are required to take general education courses, and they must complete a teacher education program that includes courses in educational assessment, special education, the psychology of learning, and child development. Students get experience in classroom management and in teaching through practice in real classrooms and a student teaching internship. Some may also require on-campus competency exams. Physical education courses may include exercise physiology, kinesiology, team sports, motivation, health education and first aid.
Graduates of these programs who wish to teach in a public school will need a license. In most states, licensing requirements include earning a bachelor's degree, completing an approved teacher education program and passing competency examinations.
After earning a bachelor's degree, graduates might consider pursuing an online master's degree program in physical education, such as a Master of Education. These programs can be found in fully online formats that don't require campus visits.
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Bachelor of Science in Physical Education Program Information
Online degree programs in physical education are usually not available at the bachelor's level, though individual courses may be available in a distance learning format. However, through the on-campus program, students learn healthy lifestyle techniques for themselves and for others. They learn skills for exercising without causing pain or injury. This degree program requires that students have at least a high school diploma or the GED equivalent.
Degree Information and Requirements
Usually, the bachelor's degree program in physical education takes four or five years to complete. Both online and on-campus students often participate in physical and health-related activities, including regular workouts or intramural sports. Because these programs typically prepare students for instructional leadership roles, completion of multiple teaching experiences is often required.
List of Common Bachelor's-Level Physical Education Courses
In addition to physical education courses, students must also take basic general education courses.
Human Body Systems
Through this course, students become familiar with the major systems of the body, including the skeletal, vascular and muscular systems.
Human Movement and Kinesiology
Students taking this course learn about the natural movements of the human body and ways to strengthen regular muscle motion through exercise. They also learn how unnatural movements lead to injury.
Health and Fitness
This course teaches students the basics of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They learn about factors that can affect wellness, such as genetics, nutritional intake and regular exercise.
Students learn specific coaching methods and techniques for sports or fitness instruction. They also learn to assess others' health and create balanced fitness plans based on weight, age and dietary regimen.
Career Information for Graduates
In addition to becoming physical education teachers, graduates of a bachelor's program may also find careers as coaches, athletic trainers or personal trainers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), all of these careers require at least a bachelor's degree, though some may require additional certification for career advancement. The BLS states that the mean annual salary in 2015 for athletic trainers was $46,940, while coaches and fitness trainers and instructors earned $40,050 and $40,970, respectively. As of October 2016, physical education teachers earn a median annual salary of $41,994 according to PayScale.com.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals who would like to continue their education can pursue a master's degree in physical education entirely online. Other related degree programs in health and fitness are also available, which can lead to advanced career opportunities in a wider variety of fields, such as physical therapy or sports medicine. Certification and licensure may also be available in some fields.
There are currently no fully online programs available for a bachelor's in physical education due to the hands-on nature of the program; however, the master's program for physical education can be found fully online. At the bachelor's level, some on-campus programs may offer a few courses online but otherwise require in-person work.