What is the Best Degree for Becoming a High School Physical Education Teacher?

Today, becoming a high school physical education teacher requires earning a bachelor’s degree, and in some cases, a master’s degree. Knowing exactly which degree to go for, though, is often a point of confusion for those interested in this  line of work. Follow along for a quick look at this profession as well as the best degree options for gaining entry therein.

Job at a Glance: High School Physical Education Teacher

High school physical education teachers are the professionals responsible for all physical education provided to the students at a high school. This means teaching those students via physical activity as well as via typical classroom settings and methods. Subsequently, performing the duties of this position typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in one of several, applicable degree options. The following represents the primary degrees accepted by the employers of this role.

Great Degrees for Entry

A Bachelor’s in Athletic Training is one effective option for gaining employment in the high school physical education teacher role. With this degree, grads come armed with a deep knowledge of how the body works and grows healthier and stronger with the right approaches. A similar degree, the Bachelor’s of Health and Wellness Science, provides grads with a similarly advanced ability to understand and teach good health in:

  • exercise
  • diet
  • life choices, and more.

Some physical education teachers also gain entry into this role through the merits of a teaching degree such as a Bachelor’s in Education. With this degree, the grad can often find  physical education teaching jobs in addition to many other teaching jobs not involving physical education. While the cross-applicability of this degree choice is helpful in some ways, it does come at the cost of not providing direct education in the actual areas of physical health and wellness.

The Ideal Degree for Entry

While the above degree options can certainly land the job, the absolute best degree for becoming a high school physical education teacher today is the Master’s in Physical Education (MPE). The MPE is  focused on just the discipline of physical education, learning and teaching. The grad with this degree will not only know the human body but will also know how to teach about it masterfully.

What does the coursework look like for this particular degree program? The following is a short sample of courses taught in the MPE:

  • Educational Statistics
  • Techniques in the Research of Human Performance
  • Athletic Injury Emergency Management
  • Sport Nutrition
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise Science
  • Athletic Administration
  • Teaching Aspects of Physical Education

Related Resource: 30 Great Small Colleges For A Teaching Degree

What is the Best Degree for Becoming a High School Physical Education Teacher

It is also important to note that the bachelor’s degree in this same discipline, physical education, is a direct into high school physical education teachings jobs. This is the less advanced version of the master’s, but it imparts much of the same valuable material.

Providing a quality physical education to high-schoolers can be a challenging yet incredibly rewarding profession. Getting ready to fulfill such a calling requires, at minimum, one of the above-mentioned degrees. For those seeking even more information on the role of today’s high school physical education teacher or even how to become one, the Society of Health and Physical Educators is an excellent resource with which to followup further.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris