People often think of a degree in physical education as a stepping stone while progressing towards a career in physical education as a school teacher. While people with degrees in physical education often do find work as teachers, there are a myriad of other career paths that a degree in physical education can lead to.
These career paths encompass a variety of different obligations, duties, skills, and training, but they all rely on a knowledge of health and a desire to work with people. With that in mind, here’s a list of five career and job options for people with a degree in physical education.
- Fitness Trainer
While this career isn’t as far of a departure as others down the list, it still isn’t the career most people consider while in, or graduating from, a physical education program. Fitness trainers and instructors typically lead, instruct, and motivate people in physical activities. This can include cardiovascular activities, strength training, and stretching. Fitness trainers provide instruction in individual sessions as well as group classes. This career can lead to becoming a fitness director, who oversees the fitness-related aspects of a gym or health club.
It’s easy to see how a degree in physical education can lead to a career in coaching amateur and professional athletes. In fact, most middle and high school physical education teachers spend time coaching extracurricular activities in addition to performing their other obligations. Coaches teach athletes skills they need to succeed at athletic competition, and often have a role in scouting talent as well. Coaches prepare, organize, and conduct practices, provide direction and encouragement, instruct athletes on proper techniques, strategies, sportsmanship, and rules, plus they analyze team strengths and weaknesses.
- Athletic Trainer
Some people confuse athletic trainers and fitness trainers. While fitness trainers guide individuals and groups through exercises, athletic trainers specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating muscle and bone injuries. Athletic trainers often apply protective devices like, braces, bandages, and tape, recognize and evaluate injuries, and provide first aid and emergency care. They also develop rehabilitation programs for athletes, plan programs to prevent injury and illness in athletes, and keep records and reports on injuries. Athletic trainers work with everybody from young children, to soldiers and professional athletes and are often the first healthcare provider on-site when an injury occurs. They are an integral part of any professional or recreational team.
- Camp Director
Like all recreation workers, camp directors design and lead leisure activities for groups in recreation facilities. In either overnight or day camps, these professionals supervise camp counselors, plan activities and programs, and complete administrative tasks needed to maintain the camp. Being a summer camp director is even an option for physical education teachers looking for a way to make money during their summer break.
Although being a referee may not be your dream job, it is a career option for people who just love sports. Additionally, there are often part-time opportunities at night, or on the weekends, as a referee for people with physical education degrees working in other fields. Referees preside over competitive athletic events in order to keep the standards of play. They decide penalties for infractions according to the rules of the game. They are also responsible for duties such as inspecting sports equipment and keeping track of starting and stoppage times.