Physical Education Degree

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Why Earn a Physical Education Degree?

A physical education degree demonstrates that an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to educate others in the proper methods for remaining physically fit. The methods employed cover a broad range of topics, from exercise, to nutrition, to lifestyle and habit. Individuals studying a physical education program will learn to work with individuals and students to promote good health and exercise habits, and as such will encounter topics in their studies to reflect both the teaching and physical aspects of the work performed. Effective instructors will find methods to incorporate education and health into fun activities through insights offered by courses dealing with behavior and psychology.   Additionally, physical education instructors will be educated in the treatment of injuries as well as how to educate students and clients to properly avoid such injuries through preventative measures. Students pursuing a physical education major will obtain a bachelor's degree, with higher level degrees available in related fields of study.


Courses in physical education may include:

  • Teaching Methodology
  • Anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Kinesiology
  • Psychology
  • Organized Sports

Employment Opportunities in Physical Education

An individual graduating with a physical education degree is prepared to work as a gym teacher, personal instructor, or coach. With more experience, opportunities in athletic management or professional sports can arise. Some individuals may pursue post-graduate degrees in occupational or physical therapy. The growth for physical education professions as a whole is expected to increase over the next decade as demand for personal fitness and among the developing and aging population increases. The increased interest in personal health as well as a growing concern regarding overweight youths will place a greater importance on physical education in school and the maintenance of good health and exercise during adulthood.

Key Skills of a Physical Education Teacher

A physical education instructor must be patient, observant, considerate and understanding. Individuals can be sensitive about fitness, particularly those with weight issues, and it is the role of the teacher, trainer or coach to maintain a professional and encouraging atmosphere. Physical education instructors work with a variety of individuals depending on their position, and will cater the regiment offered to meet the needs of their clients, students, or group. An important part of physical education is identifying the needs of individuals and offering support and instruction in promotion of good health while keeping factors such a self esteem in mind. In addition, physical education instructors should be ready to assist immediately if a student or client is harmed during the course of a workout. This is especially true when working with children, where immediate assistance is required.

Career Outlook in Physical Education

The average salary for a physical education degree holder will vary based on the job, position and experience. The median wage for P.E teachers is approximately $44,000 per year, $56,000 for personal trainers and $32,000 for coaches. Salaries tend to be higher in populated areas, particularly in urban centers that have a higher density of potential students or customers. Additionally, experienced individuals will earn more, either through annual raises in salary or through promotion. Individuals who pursue a graduate level education may also receive a higher starting income.

Those interested in a physical education degree may also be interested in physical therapyearly childhood education, and occupational therapy.  For more information about a career in teaching, check out The Single Most Comprehensive Guide to a Teaching Career post on our blog.  Organizations such as ShapeAmerica work hard to provide education and motivation for individuals outside academia.

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Career Summary: Physical education Major




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