Major to Career: Physical Education

In most educational systems, physical education (PE), also called physical training (PT) or gym in less progressive settings, is a course in the curriculum which utilizes learning in the cognitive, affective and psycho motor domains in a play or movement exploration setting. In the United States, it is almost always mandatory for students in elementary schools, and often for students in middle schools and high schools. The primary aim of physical education is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, capacities, and values along with the enthusiasm to maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. Some schools also require physical education as a way to promote weight loss in students. Activities included in the program are designed to promote physical fitness, to develop motor skills, to instill knowledge and understanding of rules, concepts, and strategies, and to teach students to work as part of a team, or as individuals, in a wide variety of competitive activities.

Physical education majors prepare to teach physical education (PE) or to coach sports in public or private schools, kindergarten through twelfth grade (k-12). The Physical Education Teaching Minor prepares students to teach in the secondary school systems. Courses prepare students in basic sport and fitness skills, physical education classroom management, and physical education administration. Students learn to effectively promote lifelong fitness through physical activity and physical education administration. Students learn to effectively promote lifelong fitness through physical activity.

As a PE major, you take general education courses during your first two years. Then you enroll in science courses that focus on how the human body is affected by exercise and sports and how performance can be improved. Other courses include child development, psychology, and curriculum and instruction, and you’ll have opportunities to work with children in supervised field settings. Although you will probably be required to take part in numerous recreational activities and sports, don’t expect to get much academic credit. At the end of most programs; you’ll do student teaching.

  • Helping people Sports and competition
  • Coaching
  • A sense of humor
  • Caring
  • Nurturing
  • Critical reading/thinking
  • Leadership
  • Persuading/influencing
  • Teamwork
  • Patience
  • Physical Stamina
  • Verbal Skills
  • Writing Skills

Middle School Teacher Secondary School Teacher Elementary School Teacher School Counselor School Administrator

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Contact Source:

College of Education and Human Development Academic Discovery Center

Location: Hinckley 309

Phone: 208-496-9850


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