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Physical Education

The Breakdown

Physical education is more than simply organizing and overseeing a game of soccer or touch football. Indeed, gym class helps to establish a foundation for healthy lifestyles. It demonstrates to children that exercise can be fun. Moreover, it teaches kids the importance of teamwork and patience and helps them to develop confidence (not to mention muscle).

As a physical education major, you’ll learn the science behind human movement. You will be required to study anatomy, biology and physiology along with motor learning and development. You’ll also likely learn about the sociological and psychological implications of health and physical activity. Most universities also require courses in student teaching. This will allow you to gains hands-on, practical experience and an understanding of what it’s like to manage a classroom. Some programs also recommend a double-major with health education as the additional credentials will enhance your marketability. Finally, most schools will prepare you for state certification licensure.

The best physical education teachers are individuals whose enthusiasm for sports and fitness becomes contagious even to the least athletically inclined child. They know how to motivate and are capable working with a wide variety of students, from an NBA-bound all-star to the kid who much prefers toiling away at a computer.

Nuts and Bolts

Should you decide to study physical education, you’ll likely enroll in courses such as: Curriculum, Standards and Assessments in P.E., Principles of Conditioning, Motor Learning and Performance, Developmental Psychology, Fitness Education Activities and Materials and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Decisions, Decisions

If you’re interested in health and fitness, these subjects might also be good possibilities for you: exercise science, nutrition, kinesiology, sports management, sports psychology, physical therapy, recreation management, sports and leisure studies and human development.

What's Next

We all recognize majoring in education can lead you directly into the classroom. And many ed majors sustain satisfying teaching careers over the course of their professional life. As you’re also no doubt aware, some translate classroom experience into administrative positions and become principals, vice principals, guidance counselors, etc. However, others find a passion for policy work and land jobs at non-profits, think tanks and various departments of education. Additionally, some majors take advantage of their extensive knowledge of child development and education and seek employment with companies that create products and entertainment for children. Still others combine their studies with a passion for other cultures and look for work involving international education, be it study abroad or development in third world countries.


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Don Munce