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Putting Your Diploma to Use: What You Can Do With a Physical Education Degree

A physical education degree is a great option if you enjoy being active and teaching others about health. After graduating with this type of degree, you’ll be eligible for a number of jobs across the country! Let’s take a look at just what you can do with this type of education.

Elementary Education Jobs

All elementary schools provide children with physical education time, which can include learning how to play sports, playing physically active games, doing exercises, tumbling, and more. When you major in physical education, you can choose whether you’d like to specialize in elementary or secondary education, and if you’re interested in working with younger children, elementary is definitely the way to go!

Physical education in elementary schools may also include classroom learning in the health field at some schools, and you might also have other duties, such as supervising recess, administering national physical fitness tests, and coaching school sports teams. Working at a public school requires you to have a teaching certificate, and in some states, this might be a requirement for private and religious schools as well.

Secondary Education Jobs

At the junior high and high school level, students have more advanced physical education classes. At the secondary level, you’ll do less game-playing and focus more on learning about and playing sports, honing physical skills, and building stamina. Most physical education teachers also help teach health classes, depending on the size of the school where you work, which may cover topics such as growth, first aid, and anatomy. Again, you need a teaching certificate if you want to work at a public school, and depending on your state, you might also need a certificate to teach at a private or religious school – and in any case, most employers want to see that you have this certification.

Other Physical Education Jobs

While most people who graduate with a degree in physical education choose to teach either elementary or secondary students, there are other options as well. You could specialize in physical education for special education students, for example, working with students who may have disabilities. You could also work teaching classes in a gym or other health care facility, and you can also work as a coach or in another health leadership position.

You might also be interested in teaching health at the elementary or secondary level. Many coaches and physical education teachers opt to teach both PE and health, depending on the school. However, some schools hire full-time health educators that teach students how to develop healthy eating habits, in addition to the following, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Assess the needs of the people they serve
  • Develop programs and events to teach people about health topics
  • Create and distribute health-related posters, pamphlets, and other educational materials
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and materials
  • Help people find health services or information
  • Supervise staff who implement health education programs
  • Collect and analyze data to learn about their audience and improve programs
  • Advocate for improved health resources and policies

The Best Online Physical Education Degrees

Argosy University
Sports Exercise Psychology (MA)
Argosy University's MA in Sports Exercise Psychology features courses in Managing Personal Health, Healthy Eating Habits, Exercise Science Terminology, Fitness Anatomy and Physiology, Flexibility Training and Injury Prevention, and Stress Management Techniques. This distance learning program gives you the skills to work in fitness and health fields.
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University of the Rockies
Org Development - Sports, Fitness, and Wellness (PhD)
The University of the Rockies offers students a transformative PhD in Organizational Development and Leadership - Sports, Fitness, and Wellness Management program. The program features specializations in Wellness & Fitness, Training & Injury, Sport Psychology, and Rehab Science. Graduates are prepared for national certification exams and work throughout the health industry.
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University of Nebraska at Kearney
Education - Physical Edu (MA)
The MA of Education in Physical Education at University of Nebraska at Kearney will give you the skills you need to inspire others to become physically fit. Most students finish the program within two years. Courses teach how to design conditioning and personal training programs, nutrition menus, and offer fitness assessments.
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