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Why get a physical education degree?

Many people looking to get a physical education degree loved sports when they were in high school and want to coach. They figure they will get a PE degree, teach physical education and coach. That is a fine goal and one we obviously endorse.

Teaching is not your only option

If you are do love the idea of learning about the components of physical education - health education, exercise and fitness, athletics, and coaching - and don't really think you want to teach there are many other possibilities a  physical education degree can bring to you.

A bachelor's degree in Physical Education will prepare graduates to teach physical education in public schools, coach school-based sports and work in many other sports and recreation related careers. A master's degree in physical education will prepare graduates to be an athletic trainer, teach physical education at a public school or at a college or become a director of a physical education program or fitness center.

People with a Physical education degree could find themselves working in city parks and recreation departments, year-round sports camps, for the YMCA, or Boys and Girls Clubs as recreation directors. You may well decide to get advanced degrees or certificates.

There are many possibilities of further education in health and fitness careers, sports management careers, and coaching. Health and fitness careers are probably the broadest and most sought after at this time.

Health and Fitness Options

There are so many possibilities here. A partial list would include:
  • Athletic Training

  • Biomechanist

  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Specialist

  • Corporate/Work-site Wellness

  • Elder Fitness Programs

  • Exercise Physiologist

  • Group Exercise Instructor

  • Health Club Industry

  • Sports Medicine

  • Military Fitness

  • Occupational Physiologist

  • Personal Training

  • Personal Coaching

  • Physical Therapy

  • Recreation Therapy

  • Spa/Resort Wellness

  • Strength and Conditioning Coach

  • Sport Nutrition
Depending on your interest you may well decide to specialize early. Instead of a physical education degree you may want to look at sports nutrition, athletic trainer, or strength and condition coach. Some schools may only offer these as Masters level courses while others may offer them as bachelors degrees. Obviously degrees in fields such as sports medicine require more advanced degrees.

In some of these areas your physical education degree could get you in the door and then you would need to take certification courses, which in some cases could be paid for by the business that hired you, but more often than not will probably require you to make another educational investment.

Physical Therapist Education

Physical therapist education is not really related to physical education, but often those people who think they are interested in a physical education degree come to realize they don't really want to work in a school may find that a field of interest. There is certainly a demand for people with a physical therapy education.

A person who has an interest in athletics, sports, health and fitness, might want to look at physical therapy education, strength and conditioning, orthopedic medicine of similar occupations. You will really need to think clearly about what you want to be doing and who you want to be doing it with.

Nursing is another area that people move into from physical education. They realize they have less of an interest in teaching and more of an interest in helping people heal. There are Post Masters Certificates in Nursing. You can Earn a degree online while working from top Universities and Colleges in US - Contact The Degree Experts.

Sports Management

A physical education degree may lead you to pursue other opportunities. You may also want to think about these as a possibility before declaring a major. A list of careers in this area include:
  • Community Recreation

  • Athletic Administration

  • Intramural/Campus Director

  • Facility Management

  • Sport Club Manager

  • Sport Marketing

  • Resort Sports Manager

  • Health Club Manager

  • Sport Retailing

  • Equipment Sales/Design

  • Sport Organizations

  • Sport Information
Many of these fields obviously are not directly related to a physical education degree. A physical education degree may get you "in the door", but you would certainly want to get business training or other leadership training for some of these careers.

Community recreation or intramural/campus director could be apossibility for someone with just a physical education degree. For many of those other positions you would be competing with people who inevitably would have some business related background.


For many people intersted in a physical education degree coaching is a major motivating factor. They want to coach at the high school or maybe college level. There are other coaching possibilities that are related to this field but my not be coaching a team sport for a school.

Here is a short list of coaching possibilities:
  • Individual Aerobic Coaching

  • Individual Strength Coaching

  • Interscholastic

  • Intercollegiate

  • International Sports Programs

  • Commercial Camps

  • Clubs

  • Community Programs

  • Military

  • Wellness Coaching
If you want to make a living from just coaching your most likely place to consider using your physical education degree would be intercollegiate coaching. If you don't play the sport you want to coach in college you would need to get involved in that sport in some other capacity while in college.

If you want to coach at the high school level you will need another income stream which could include some of the above possibilities. Your ability to see the possibilities, market yourself, and follow your passion will go a long way toward determining just what you get out of your physical education degree.

Finding the Right School

There are so many things to look at in choosing the right school. In all of our experiences we have known far too many highly successful people who never attended "the top schools" to say that spending the money on the best schools is incredibly important.

That does not mean an Ivy League education doesn't open uppossibilities you might not get somewhere else. It does mean, however, that YOU can do a great deal to get the doors open for you - in any area you choose.

What you need to look at in school are things like the campus life, the acadmic requirements, cost, location (including rural, suburban, city), and faculty. You would also want to consider the support they have in helping graduates find jobs and their success at doing that. Not all this data is readily available. It really is up to you to research.

One of the first steps would be to look closely at yourself. What are your interests, passions, dislikes? Would you feel comfortable in a large school in a large city? What about a small school in a rural area? What can the school do for your religious needs? What type of person are you? What is your age? How many non-tradition students do they have? There are many questions you should develop.

You then need to begin your search. If you plan on finding something close to home so you can commute that narrows your search. If you want to pursue a physical education degree while you work you might want to consider on-line possibilities.

We believe it is very important to reiterate that essentially itdoesn't matter what school you choose so long as the match fits your personal needs AND YOU master the ability to market yourself and see the opportunities that are presented to you. It is very important to follow your passions!

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