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Physical Education Degree

Physical education is the study of health, wellness, fitness, sports, and recreation. A degree is PE is available at the certificate, associate, and baccalaureate levels, and is often encased in a liberal arts education.

Certificate Level

Sometimes used to bolster a pre-existing degree or to qualify for a specific job, certificates typically take the least amount of time of any qualification. They’re usually offered under the umbrella of “Physical Education and Health” and are offered on a variety of topics, from curriculum planning to sexuality.

Associate Level

An Associate’s in Physical Education can be a great stepping stone to a baccalaureate. It’s often used to get to work immediately as a gym trainer or fitness leader while completing a baccalaureate.


A bachelor’s degree is the most common level for PE majors. The curriculum will include training on personal health, applied anatomy and physiology, coaching theory, care of athletic injuries, sports and recreation law, motor development, and much more. Most commonly used to become licensed to teach and coach at the K-12 level, programs take four years to complete and, to teach at public schools, the appropriate licensure procedure must be obtained.

Career paths for graduates with a Bachelor’s in Physical Education include: Secondary School Teacher, Sports Coach, Fitness Center Manager, Exercise Physiologist, Sports Development Officer, Sports Therapist, Personal Trainer, College Athletic Manager, Community Recreation Director, Athletic Trainer, Health Sciences Teacher. The average entry-level salary for individuals with a baccalaureate in physical education is $47,000.

Further education can be earned as either a master’s or doctoral degree in education or kinesiology.

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