What Are the Different Types of Physical Education Degree Programs?

Physical education degree programs generally come in a variety of educational levels and concentration areas. The majority of degree programs are available in two-year, four-year, and graduate formats. Students can choose to pursue a general physical education degree or one that focuses on outdoor education, coaching, or teaching. Some degree programs are usually offered on campus and online, in addition to the various degree levels.

Most students can find work in coaching or teaching after completing a physical education degree program. Students who complete these degree programs may be prepared to coach and teach children or adults. Sports, fitness, and exercise techniques related to coaching and teaching are covered in most programs of study.

Physical education degree programs are typically offered at various levels academic institutions. A two-year degree in physical education is typically required for entry-level coaching and teaching positions. Students who earn a four-year degree in physical education may go on to work as head coaches or recreation department heads. A graduate degree or certificate program can lead to executive level positions like program director.

Students may choose a concentration area to narrow the focus of their studies in addition to the various academic levels. Outdoor education may be available as a concentration area in physical education degrees at some academic institutions. Outdoor education, in its most basic form, teaches outdoor safety and survival skills.

For some students, coaching is another area of interest. Students can prepare for amateur coaching opportunities with local recreational centers during this course of study. Another option for this concentration area is professional coaching. In general, students improve their skills in injury prevention, team sports, and sports ethics.

Another concentration area available at some academic institutions is teaching physical education. Students who enroll in this degree program usually intend to work in a secondary or postsecondary educational institution. Many of these programs also require students to pass certification exams in order to be considered for teaching positions.

Physical education degree programs are typically completed on campus or online, regardless of academic level or concentration area. Due to physical activity program requirements, most degrees are only available on campus, which can make learning difficult in an online environment. On-campus programs may include physical activities in a variety of sports as well as classroom instruction.

Some online physical education degree programs are an exception. Online degrees are typically designed for working professionals who do not need to meet any physical activity requirements. Rather, through instruction and high-quality program development, these online degree programs may improve coaching and teaching expertise.