BS Health, Physical Education, Recreation
All elementary schools provide children with physical education time, which can include
learning how to play sports, playing physically active games, doing exercises, tumbling,
and more. When you major in physical education, you can choose whether you’d like
to specialize in elementary or secondary education, and if you’re interested in working
with younger children, elementary is definitely the way to go!
Physical education in elementary schools may also include classroom learning in the health field at some schools, and you might also have other duties, such as supervising recess, administering national physical fitness tests, and coaching school sports teams. Working at a public school requires you to have a state teaching license, and in some states, this might be a requirement for private and religious schools as well.
At the junior high and high school level, students have more advanced physical education classes. At the secondary level, you’ll do less game-playing and focus more on learning about and playing sports, honing physical skills, and building stamina. Most physical education teachers also help teach health classes, depending on the size of the school where you work, which may cover topics such as growth, first aid, and anatomy. Again, you need a state teaching license if you want to work at a public school, and depending on your state, you might also need a license to teach at a private or religious school—and in any case, most employers want to see that you have this licensure.
Of course, pursuing a career of physical education in elementary or secondary school means much more than only teaching health and wellness to kids. Teachers work together to ensure the wellness and development of the students. This means communicating with supervisors, peers in education, and parents is a large part of the job. Additionally, elementary educators need to think creatively to keep their students engaged and participating. On top of that, most Physical Education Teachers are expected to coach sports teams and oversee intramural leagues.
While most people who graduate with a degree in physical education choose to teach either elementary or secondary students, there are other options as well. You could specialize in physical education for special education students, for example, working with students who may have disabilities. You could also work teaching classes in a gym or other health care facility, and you can also work as a coach or in another health leadership position.
You might also be interested in teaching health at the elementary or secondary level. Many coaches and physical education teachers opt to teach both PE and health, depending on the school. However, some schools hire full-time health educators that teach students how to develop healthy eating habits, in addition to the following, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Assess the needs of the people they serve
- Develop programs and events to teach people about health topics
- Create and distribute health-related posters, pamphlets, and other educational materials
- Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and materials
- Help people find health services or information
- Supervise staff who implement health education programs
- Collect and analyze data to learn about their audience and improve programs
- Advocate for improved health resources and policies
- The median annual wage for high school teachers was $57,200 in May 2015.
The median annual wage for teachers was $57,200 in May 2015.
Please go to the Teacher Education Program page for admission information.
What can I do with a Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Degree?»