Top Schools for Physical Education

Jul 24, 2018

Learn about degree programs in physical education, which typically focus on the instruction of fitness and health. Find out about the academic options at four of the top schools as well as information about other universities that provide training for physical education teachers. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Information
  • 0:57 University of Virginia
  • 1:59 University of Texas at Austin
  • 2:36 University of Kentucky
  • 3:22 California State University
  • 3:57 Top Physical Education…

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Video Transcript

School Information

Physical education programs prepare students who aspire to become PE teachers for state certification. Schools that offer undergraduate and graduate physical education programs include the University of Virginia, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Kentucky, and California State University.

Degree programs in physical education may be targeted towards this specific field of study or can include instruction in health, kinesiology, and exercise science. We've profiled four schools with undergraduate and graduate physical education programs that can help aspiring public school PE teachers prepare for state certification. These schools are all highly rated by U.S. News & World Report.

University of Virginia

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia in Charlottesville among the top 25 schools for education programs. University of Virginia also tied for second among the top public schools for 2017. Students interested in PE can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Education in Kinesiology. A combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Teaching in Kinesiology program allows for a specialization in health and physical education.

The University of Virginia also offers a post-graduate Master of Education in Kinesiology. A Master of Kinesiology in Pedagogy program is also available. Students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology program who specialize in pedagogy, adapted physical education, or exercise physiology have the opportunity to participate in research.

University of Texas at Austin

U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Texas at Austin's education program tenth in the nation for 2016. The school was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as 18th in top public schools for 2017. PE students at the University of Texas can earn a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. The school also offers a Master of Science and a Master of Education in Health Behavior and Health Education. All three of the programs can help students prepare for careers as physical education instructors.

University of Kentucky

U.S. News & World Report ranked University of Kentucky in Lexington 63rd among the nation's top public schools for 2017. The University of Kentucky is a land-grant university that offers bachelor's degree programs in kinesiology, health promotion, and exercise science, as well as a teacher certification program for aspiring PE instructors. The school is home to the Pediatric Exercise Physiology Lab. Graduate programs include a Master of Science in Kinesiology and Health Promotion with an emphasis on teaching or coaching. Students can also earn a Doctor of Education with a specialization in physical education.

California State University

California State University at Northridge (CSUN) offers instruction in adapted physical education for special needs children. CSUN was ranked 20th among the nations' top public schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. The school offers a bachelor's degree in kinesiology with a specialization in physical education, as well as a master's degree in kinesiology with a focus in pedagogy in physical education. A graduate-level physical education teaching credential is also available.

Top Physical Education Programs

Other top schools that offer physical education programs include:

  • Michigan State University in East Lansing offers combined coursework in kinesiology and physical education.
  • At Ohio State University in Columbus, extra-curricular activities available through the School of Physical Activity & Educational Services include the Physical Education Club.
  • Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania provides students with a small school environment in which to earn a degree in education
  • Texas A&M University in College Station has the Child & Adolescent Health Research Lab.
  • At the University of Delaware in Newark, students acquire teaching experience as early as the freshman year.
  • University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, PA has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education program that offers courses in sports safety training.

Aspiring physical education teachers can compare schools by considering a school's rankings, extracurricular activities, and specialized coursework or areas of emphasis. Students may also consider what teaching experiences and credentials are available.

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