2020 Accredited Online Physical Education Degrees
Online degrees in physical education are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. There are many accredited online schools offering physical education degrees. We also highlight the 8 best online master's programs in physical education, ranked by tuition and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.
Prospective physical education students should ensure that their programs of choice are regionally accredited. Additionally, students looking to go into teaching will want to make sure that their programs have programmatic accreditation from CAEP to ensure the program meets high standards of academics and professional preparation. Aspiring physical education teachers will also have to check on the specific teacher licensing requirements for their state.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Physical Education Degrees
Online Physical Education Degree Overview & Career Information
An online associate degree prepares students to transfer to a bachelor's program, or to find certain entry-level jobs in fitness-related careers such as coaching or fitness training. An online bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement needed to become a licensed teacher. Master's degree programs are available for those who are already working as teachers and who want to add to their skill set, or for those looking to make a career switch to teaching. Lastly, certificate programs in physical education may be an appropriate option for those who already have a bachelor's degree and want to go into teaching, but who don't want to commit to a full master's program.
Online Associate Degrees in Physical Education
Graduates of an online associate degree in physical education are eligible to find work in related areas such as fitness training. Coursework will include general education classes in the humanities and sciences, as well as program-specific courses such as Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Education and the Teaching Process, Body Structure and Function, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Essentials of Human Nutrition. An associate program usually takes two years to finish and consists of at least 60 credit hours of classes. Tuition at community colleges tends to be affordable, with many degrees being offered at less than $10,000 a year.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Physical Education
Students who are determined to pursue a fully online physical education bachelor's program can expect the program to take four or five years to complete, depending on if the student is enrolled in a program that includes teacher licensure. Credit hours required may be as much as 154. Tuition will vary depending on the program an individual is enrolled in, but students can expect to pay somewhere around $18,000 a year. Admission will often require a high school diploma or GED, SAT or ACT scores, and an application.
The curriculum will be made up of general education courses as well as major-specific courses designed to teach students how to be effective educators. Example classes include Lifespan Motor Development, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Secondary School Physical Education Methods, Elementary School Physical Education Methods, Adapted Physical Education, and Educational Psychology. Student teaching is usually also required. Students may have the option to choose a specialization or minor such as Health and Physical Education, Athletic Coaching, or Physical Activity and Sport Performance. Upon completing their degree graduates will be qualified to teach physical education classes to elementary, middle, and high school students.
Online Master's Degrees in Physical Education
Online master's programs in physical education are available for those who are currently working as a teacher and want to advance their education as well as for those who have no teaching background and are looking to begin a career in the field. To learn more about online master's programs in physical education, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.
Online Doctoral Degrees in Physical Education
In order to be admitted to a doctoral program in physical education, students must have completed a master's degree and have had at least three years of professional experience in a related field. One example of such a program is a Doctor of Education in Kinesiology, which also requires letters of recommendation from previous professors.
Doctoral programs take around four years to complete and students should expect to take a minimum of 54 credits. Coursework often includes Statistical Methods in Kinesiology, Analysis of Teaching and Learning, Physical Activity and Health, and a Field Practicum in Kinesiology. Online doctoral degrees in physical education can help prepare graduates to teach in departments such as kinesiology, athletics, and health at colleges and universities.
Online Certificates in Physical Education
Online certificate programs are available to prepare students for a career in teaching physical education classes. These certificates are typically at the graduate level, meaning that an individual must have an undergraduate degree in order to be admitted. Depending on the program prior teaching experience or teaching-related education may or may not be required. Classes that students might take during their studies include Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Exercise Physiology for Health and Physical Education, Methods of Special and Health and Physical Education, and Educational Psychology.
Individuals who are specifically interested in teaching physical education in a distance format, such as teaching in a K-12 online school, can earn a certificate addressing these skills as well. A certificate program can take less than one year to two years to complete, depending on the scope of the program. Tuition costs vary depending on the school attended, but programs can be found for around $10,000 a year or less. Online certificate programs in physical education are available at universities.
One thing that individuals should keep in mind when they are deciding on a school to attend is whether or not the school has been accredited. Accreditation means that an independent, outside organization has looked at the school or program and determined that it meets certain educational standards. Regional accreditation is when one of six regionally-based agencies evaluate a school as a whole to make sure it is living up to certain academic standards. Regional accreditation is offered to non-profit, degree-granting schools. It is important to attend a regionally accredited school for a variety of reasons, including the ease of transferring credits, access to federal financial aid, and increased assurance that the student's money is being spent on an education that will prepare them for their professional future.
Another type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation. Certain fields, such as teaching, have independent agencies dedicated to accrediting programs in that field to help students choose one that will adequately prepare them for the workforce. Students who are interested in teaching at the elementary, middle, or high school level and who are looking at physical education degrees should look for programs that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This accreditation means the program is academically strong and that students who graduate from it will have the skills needed to be successful teachers.
Careers in Physical Education
The primary career path for those who earn a degree in physical education is that of an elementary, middle, or high school teacher. These professionals work with children and teens of various ages and ability levels to help them learn about exercising, team work, and healthy choices. Like any other teacher, they have to plan lessons and practice classroom management. Other job choices for someone with a physical education background include coaching, athletic training, and fitness training.
- CAEP. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://caepnet.org/.
- Catalog of Online Courses. University of Arkansas. Accessed March 1, 2018. https://online.uark.edu/courses/index.php.
- Certification in Health and Physical Education (K-12). Eastern University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.eastern.edu.
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- M.Ed in Physical Education. University of Arkansas. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://kins.uark.edu/degrees/med-physical-education/index.php.
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- Physical Education. Iowa Central Community College. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.iowacentral.edu/liberal_arts/physical_education/index.asp.
- Physical Education Bachelor's Degree. Kent State University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.kent.edu/ehhs/tlcs/pep/bachelors-degree.
- Physical Education Teaching & Coaching Associate in Arts. Miami Dade College. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.mdc.edu/physicaleducation/.
- Roadmap: Physical Education - Physical Education Licensure - Bachelor of Science. Kent State University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://provostdata.kent.edu/roadmapweb/2015/EHBSPEPPEL.pdf.
- Teaching Health and PE Online. Slippery Rock University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.sru.edu/academics/certificates/teaching-health-and-pe-online-certificate.
- Tuition and Fees. Canisius. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.canisius.edu/resources/accounts/tuition-fees/#grad_tuition.
- Tuition and Fees. Kent State University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.kent.edu/tuition.
- Undergraduate Admissions. Kent State University. Accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.kent.edu/admissions/undergraduate/new-freshmen.