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Physical Education Major Requirements and Curriculum

A bachelor's degree in education with a focus on physical education is required for individuals who aspire to teach physical education in grades K-12. Licensing is required, the first step for which is gaining an undergraduate degree.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in physical education gain both the theoretical knowledge of health sciences and teaching, as well as the practical skills necessary to become a gym teacher in an elementary, middle or secondary school.

Many universities offer physical education undergraduate programs and most require that students complete a supervised internship at a local school. All 50 states require that physical education teachers become licensed, and an undergraduate degree is the first requirement for gaining licensure.


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  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
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Physical Education Major

Before declaring a physical education major, students must first gain acceptance to a 4-year university, which usually requires the completion of a high school education and standardized tests, such as ACT or SAT. Some universities also require that physical education teachers pass a physical examination in order to stay active in the major.

In addition to courses covering general education and teaching methods, students complete courses related to exercise, health science and nutrition. Some examples include:

  • Personal health
  • Drugs and health
  • Teaching skillful movement and methods in physical education
  • Kinesiology and physiology of exercise
  • Outdoor education
  • Sport and recreation law

Popular Career Options

Most physical education majors go on to earn a teaching degree and licensure for their particular state to gain employment as physical education teachers. Other popular career choices may include:

  • Football coach
  • Track and field coach
  • Assistant principal
  • High school administrator
  • Professional association chairperson
  • Health sciences teacher

To become a physical education teacher, you must first enroll in an undergraduate degree program and then major in physical education. After completing the relevant internships and program requirements, physical education teachers must become licensed in order to work in all states in the country.

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