If you choose to study physical education, you'll learn how to mold the
athletes of the future, and how to teach people to take better care of their
There is a huge variety of jobs in the physical education field. There
are teaching positions, child-care opportunities and jobs in health clubs.
Many physical education degrees are offered under a school's education
department, though some schools offer them under their departments of sport
studies or kinesiology (the study of human movement, especially as it
relates to sports).
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, all states require public
school teachers to have a license granted by that state before they can teach.
Requirements for licensing vary, but usually include a bachelor's degree and
completion of an approved teacher training program. Some states may require
a master's degree in some cases.
Teachers with specialized training in another area (for example, a degree
in kinesiology) may be eligible for certification with only a certificate
or diploma. Contact your state's teacher licensing body for details.
Physical education has become much more competitive and scientific today
than in past years, according to Frederick Mueller, chair of physical education
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Our program is very science-based," he says, adding that potential
students should concentrate on chemistry, biology and anatomy classes
But Mueller also points out that students should not exclude other activities
in junior high and high school. Involvement in sports, student government
and community projects all help show a sense of leadership and commitment.
Courses vary between schools, but there is obviously an emphasis on sports
"In our program, students will have core courses in kinesiology,
which will prepare them to think critically, improve their writing and define
their personal strengths and weaknesses," says Russell Smelley. He is a kinesiology
professor at California's Westmont College.
"The variety of options in the major include teaching, outdoor education,
recreation and graduate school preparation."
Elizabeth Fell Kelly is program director of the physical education transfer
program at Monroe Community College in New York state. She says her students
take courses in sports medicine, athletic training, sport psychology and
Students also complete an internship in a field related to physical
Besides tuition and books, students may have to pay equipment fees.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Teachers
-- Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and Secondary
A site for health and physical education teachers, parents, and
Suite101.com Physical Education
A guide to PE sites on the web
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Check out their section dedicated to current and future teachers