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Physical Education Teaching and Coaching

Program Description

Just the Facts

Physical Education Teaching and Coaching. A program that prepares individuals to teach physical education programs and/or to coach sports at various educational levels.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

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 own bodies.

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 if possible.

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 and recreation.

"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 sport management.

Students also complete an internship in a field related to physical education.

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

PE Central
A site for health and physical education teachers, parents, and students

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


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