An increasing problem in the country today is childhood obesity. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in five school aged children suffers from obesity. This is almost three times the amount of cases of childhood obesity in the 1970.
If you’re interested in fighting this public health crisis, you should consider becoming a physical education teacher. As a physical education teacher, you may be responsible for many tasks, including helping your students stay active and teaching them proper nutritional concepts. However, before you can become a physical education teacher, you will need to earn a physical education degree.
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Common Physical Education Courses
Before enrolling in a physical education degree program, it can be a good idea to learn about some of the coursework that you will be expected to complete. Contrary to what many people believe, physical education is about much more than planning physical activities, and can actually include studying advanced concepts like proper human nutrition and how nutrition affects childhood development.
Some of the common courses that you will be enrolled in during your physical education degree include human growth and development, planning physical activities, human nutrition, biology and introduction to physical education. Many aspiring physical educators will also take courses focused on developing programs for special needs students. By completing these courses, you should be able to promote physical health in students with differing levels of ability.
Types of Physical Education Degrees
Most people don’t realize that there are actually a variety of physical education degrees that you can choose. If you are interested in starting your career as soon as possible, and want to work in an elementary or secondary school, then you could pursue a Bachelor’s degree in physical education. However, if you want to improve your career prospects and potential future earnings, then you could continue your education by enrolling in an advanced degree program.
Several accredited institutions offer both Master’s and Doctorate level degrees in physical education. These advanced degrees are the perfect choice for physical education teachers who are interested in developing programs for larger institutions or even across school systems. To pursue these advanced degrees, you will usually need references, satisfactory entrance exam scores and at least a 3.0 GPA in your entry-level degree.
Salary for a Physical Education Teacher
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects career information for many teaching positions. However, they do not provide specific information for physical education teachers. Instead, you can get an idea of your potential salary by examining other teaching careers.
Many physical education teachers will choose to work at the high school level. In 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary for a high school teacher was $57,200. On the other hand, if you’re a physical education teacher that chooses to work in an elementary school, you can expect a median yearly salary of $54,550. Individual salaries will largely depend on the state where you are employed and what degree level you have achieved.
If you want an education career that is centered on improving the health of America’s youth, you need to earn a physical education degree and become a physical education teacher.