Best Online Physical Education Degrees

Written by BlogNation Team

Updated: April 5, 2024, Reading time: 22 minutes

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the right degree program that fits into our busy lives is crucial. That’s why we’re diving into the best online Physical Education degrees that offer flexibility without compromising on quality. Whether you’re passionate about sports, health, or fitness, these programs are designed to cater to a wide range of interests and career goals.

We’ve sifted through numerous options to bring you degrees that are not only affordable but also reputable. From General Studies with an emphasis in Physical Education to BS in Applied Health Sciences, we’re here to guide you through the maze of online education. So, let’s embark on this journey together and find the program that’s the perfect fit for you.

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Overview of Online Physical Education Degrees

In today’s digital age, pursuing a degree in physical education online has become a highly viable and popular choice. Online programs offer the flexibility needed by many who are balancing their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. We’re here to dive into what these programs typically entail, including admission requirements and the common courses you can expect to encounter.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for online physical education degrees can vary widely depending on the institution and the level of the degree you’re pursuing. Generally, for undergraduate programs, you’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most colleges also require SAT or ACT scores, though some may waive these requirements under certain conditions.

For graduate programs, like a Master of Education in Physical Education, the criteria are more stringent. Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree in physical education or a related field. While some programs require GRE scores, others, such as the University of Arkansas, emphasize life experience, career goals, and demonstrated passion over standardized test scores. This approach opens doors for career switchers and those with rich, diverse backgrounds seeking to advance their careers in the physical education realm.

Common Courses in Physical Education Programs

When enrolled in an online physical education degree program, students will encounter a core curriculum designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career in this field. Some of the core courses we’ve identified across various programs include:

In addition to these courses, programs may offer specialized tracks or electives tailored to more specific interests or career paths within physical education.

As we continue to explore online physical education degrees, it’s clear that these programs are designed with the flexibility and depth needed to prepare the next generation of educators. Whether you’re looking to enhance your teaching skills or pivot your career, numerous high-quality options are available to meet your needs.

Physical Education Careers

When we talk about careers in Physical Education, we’re discussing a broad spectrum of opportunities that go beyond traditional school settings. Online Physical Education degrees open doors to diverse career paths where passion for sport, wellness, and education converge. With the right qualifications, several avenues become available, ranging from coaching and fitness training to sports management and educational consultancy.

One of the most common career choices for graduates is becoming a Physical Education teacher. This role often requires a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, but those who pursue further studies, like a Master of Science in Education in Physical Education Leadership or similar advanced degrees, position themselves for leadership roles within educational settings. These roles come with added responsibilities but also offer higher salaries and greater opportunities for impact.

Another enticing career path is in Sports Management. Graduates with a concentration in this area can find themselves working in the behind-the-scenes aspects of the sports world, including managing teams, organizing events, or even marketing for sports brands. It’s a career that perfectly blends business acumen with a love for sports.

For those inclined towards a more hands-on approach, becoming a Coach or Athletic Trainer is a highly rewarding option. These professionals work closely with athletes to improve performance, develop strategic gameplay, and ensure overall well-being. Certificates, like the Graduate Certificate in Athletic Coaching, supplement the practical skills needed for these roles.

Lastly, the rise in health consciousness has paved the way for careers in Corporate Wellness and Fitness Training. Companies are increasingly investing in employee wellness programs, creating demand for experts who can design and implement effective fitness plans.

In essence, earning an online Physical Education degree equips individuals with the versatile skills needed to excel in a number of dynamic careers in the health and sports sectors.

How We Rank Schools

Our process for ranking schools offering online Physical Education degrees is both detailed and meticulous, ensuring that we provide clear, knowledgeable, and confident recommendations. It’s paramount for us to rely on the latest and most reliable data available to inform our rankings. Therefore, we utilize comprehensive datasets from reputable sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the US Department of Education College Scorecard. These datasets provide us with up-to-date information about various institutions, helping us create rankings you can trust.

To deliver a ranking that accurately reflects the best online Physical Education programs, we’ve based our evaluation on a specific set of criteria. These criteria align with what college students value most, according to our BlogNation Admissions Survey. The main components of our ranking formula include:

In our commitment to showcasing the most promising programs, we only feature schools that are accredited public or private non-profit institutions and possess a graduation rate greater than 50%. This ensures that the programs we recommend not only offer value for money but also demonstrate a strong potential for student success upon completion.

Our rankings are designed to be an invaluable tool for prospective students navigating the vast landscape of online Physical Education degrees. Our methodology is transparent, with the goal of making your decision-making process as informed as possible. Whether you’re seeking to jumpstart your career in Physical Education or aiming to elevate it, our rankings are tailored to guide you toward achieving your goals.

Remember, finding the right program is about identifying the one that best aligns with your personal and professional aspirations. As we continue to refine our approach to ranking schools, we’re here to ensure you have access to the most current and relevant information.

1.Purdue University

At Purdue University, aspiring physical education professionals find a robust curriculum that merges theoretical knowledge with hands-on practice. The university’s College of Health and Human Sciences is renowned for its Master of Science in Athletic Training program. This two-year graduate program stands out for its comprehensive approach to educating future leaders in the athletic training field. The curriculum is built on a solid foundation of didactic education, supplemented by extensive clinical experiences, covering critical areas such as injury management, rehabilitation, emergency care, and program administration.

Purdue takes pride in its 70-year legacy of excellence in athletic training education. The program is distinguished by its renowned faculty, who bring a wealth of practical and academic expertise to the classroom. Students engage with specialized clinical preceptors, benefit from international study opportunities, and gain invaluable practical experience through immersive clinical placements. This unique combination of academic rigor and real-world application equips graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career.

For undergraduate students, Purdue’s Department of Health and Kinesiology (HK) offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Health and Kinesiology. This program, which recently transitioned from a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, prepares students for future studies in graduate or professional school or careers as sport instructors, personal trainers, and fitness coordinators. The BA program emphasizes experiential learning, incorporating hands-on labs, study abroad options, and research opportunities with faculty members.

Students in the BA program delve into a diverse curriculum that includes coursework in chemistry, physics, biomechanics, sport and exercise psychology, and public health studies. An optional concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology furthers students’ preparation, targeting those aiming to become entry-level exercise specialists or achieve certification as exercise physiologists or strength and conditioning coaches.

Through Purdue University’s comprehensive programs, students are not just prepared for their future careers; they’re set up to be leaders and innovators in the field of physical education and athletic training.

2.University of Wisconsin-Madison

When looking into the best online physical education degrees, the University of Wisconsin-Madison stands out for its comprehensive and innovative offerings. With a legacy of academic excellence, UW-Madison provides a BS in Physical Education and an MS in Kinesiology, programs designed to cater to the evolving needs of the physical education industry.

Their graduate program ranks 76th tie nationally, indicating its strong reputation in the academic world. Students at UW-Madison benefit from a balanced blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience, preparing them for a dynamic career in physical education and beyond.

One key aspect of UW-Madison’s programs is the focus on applied exercise science, promoting an understanding of physical activity’s role in health and wellness across populations. The university’s robust curriculum is complemented by opportunities for research and practical learning, making its programs some of the most sought-after.

Furthermore, UW-Madison excels in offering a vibrant student community, access to state-of-the-art facilities, and extensive alumni networks. These elements combine to provide a holistic educational experience that does more than just educate—it inspires.

Whether students are aiming to become educators, trainers, or researchers, the University of Wisconsin-Madison equips them with the skills, knowledge, and connections necessary to succeed. Their programs emphasize not only individual growth but also the potential impact on community health, underscoring the importance of physical education in today’s society.

3.Miami University (Ohio)

When exploring the best online physical education degrees, Miami University in Ohio stands out for its dynamic approach and comprehensive curriculum. Miami University seamlessly blends traditional physical education tenets with modern health and wellness trends to create graduates who are not just educators but advocates for physical activity. Their programs are meticulously designed to meet both current and future demands of the profession.

At this prestigious institution, students have the unique opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research that directly impacts the field of physical education. The faculty members are not just educators; they’re leaders in their respective areas, bringing a wealth of real-world experience and insights into the classroom. This ensures that our learning is not just theoretical but deeply rooted in practical application.

Miami University’s online platform is robust and user-friendly, allowing for an immersive learning experience that rivals on-campus programs. With innovative tools and resources at their disposal, students can easily connect with peers and instructors, fostering a vibrant virtual community. This level of engagement is crucial for online learning, and Miami University excels in providing a supportive and interactive environment.

One significant advantage of choosing Miami University for your online physical education degree is the network of alumni and professionals you gain access to. This network can be instrumental in finding opportunities and navigating the complexities of building a career in physical education. Networking Opportunities at Miami University are enhanced through online forums, virtual job fairs, and mentorship programs, ensuring graduates are well-positioned to make their mark in the field.

In addition to its academic excellence, Miami University is committed to making education accessible. Financial aid options and scholarships are available to help manage costs, ensuring that passionate students have the opportunity to pursue their dreams without the burden of undue financial stress.

4. University of Texas at Austin

When exploring the vast landscape of online education, the University of Texas at Austin emerges as a remarkable institution, especially for those aiming to excel in the field of physical education. Their online programs are designed not just to educate but to inspire, blending rigorous academics with real-world applications.

At the heart of their offerings, 120 total credits are required for a degree, mirroring the commitment to a comprehensive education. What sets this program apart is its flexibility in accepting up to 90 transfer credits, acknowledging the value of prior learning and experiences. This recognition plays a crucial role in making higher education more accessible and tailored to individual student needs.

For those looking to deepen their expertise, the possibility of adding a minor is a significant advantage. With options like health education, nutrition, and exercise science, students can customize their education to align with their career aspirations, adding about 15 extra credit hours or approximately 5 additional classes.

The curriculum at the University of Texas at Austin addresses key pillars of physical education including health science, nutrition, psychology of sport, and kinesiology. Beyond theoretical knowledge, students engage in practical application through courses like PED450, Methods of Teaching and Assessing Health, which encompasses 4 total credits. This course is essential for those intending to teach at the secondary level, covering crucial topics such as curriculum design, effective engagement strategies, and adherence to NASPE standards.

Moreover, the University of Texas at Austin leverages technology and emphasizes data-driven instruction, preparing students to thrive in modern educational settings. Through its robust online platform, students have access to a vibrant academic community, fostering connections that extend beyond graduation.

5. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

When exploring top institutions offering online degrees in physical education, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) stands out as a premier choice. We’ve delved deep to uncover what makes UIUC’s program unique and why it’s an attractive option for prospective students.

UIUC offers a comprehensive Online Master of Science in Health, Kinesiology, and Sport Studies with a concentration in physical education. This program is designed for individuals aiming to enhance their expertise in the health and physical education fields without the constraints of traditional campus attendance requirements. The flexibility of this online format allows students, whether they’re current professionals or those looking to enter the field, to balance their studies with other commitments.

The curriculum at UIUC is notably diverse, covering a wide range of topics from health education and wellness promotion to the advanced study of kinesiology. Moreover, students are encouraged to engage in research and application projects that resonate with their personal and professional interests. This hands-on approach ensures that graduates are not just informed but also ready to innovate in their respective workplaces.

Key aspects of the program include:

Prospective students should note the program’s admission requirements which include a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA, among others. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available, making this prestigious education more accessible.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign constantly updates its curriculum to reflect the latest trends and research findings in physical education. This ensures that our graduates are well-prepared to meet the current and future needs of the education and health industries.

6. Ohio State University

At Ohio State University, we discover an exceptional Master of Science in Kinesiology Physical Education degree program. This curriculum stands out for its robust approach to combining theoretical knowledge with practical, real-world applications. Recognizing the importance of fostering leadership and advocacy, Ohio State University’s program goes beyond the basics, actively promoting evidence-based best practices within the field.

Ohio State University takes pride in its expertise in adapted and general physical education, showcasing a ‘learning by doing’ approach that prepares graduates for impactful careers in health and wellness education. Through collaboration with professionals and researchers, students enhance their learning experience, equipping them with the necessary tools to inspire younger generations toward a life of health and activity.

While some course components are available online, it’s crucial to note that this degree incorporates essential in-person learning experiences on the Columbus campus. This blend ensures students receive a comprehensive education, balancing the convenience of online learning with the invaluable hands-on experience that only in-person training can provide.

Here’s a quick glance at the program’s specifics:

The program’s structure is designed to meet the varied needs of its students, offering flexible scheduling options to accommodate diverse student backgrounds. Whether you’re aiming for a career in teaching, administration, or a more specialized role within physical education, Ohio State University provides a solid foundation to build your career.

Arming graduates with critical leadership, advocacy, and teaching skills, Ohio State University stands as a beacon of excellence in physical education and kinesiology. We are excited about the opportunities it opens for aspiring professionals in the field, reaffirming our commitment to exploring and recommending the best online physical education degrees.

7. Rice University

Rice University’s Kinesiology Department steps into the spotlight with its Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology. This standout program merges the rigor of natural sciences with a keen focus on their applications to human health and performance. STEM-designated, this major is a testament to its innovative approach, blending biology, biochemistry, and human physiology into a comprehensive curriculum.

At the heart of the program is an in-depth exploration of core subjects, supported by required courses in research methods, motor learning, statistics, and health-related specializations. What sets Rice University apart is the emphasis on practical application. Through hands-on laboratory experiences, students not merely learn but apply the theories and principles that underpin exercise physiology, sports psychology, and sports medicine.

The curriculum is further enriched by diverse elective options. This flexibility allows students to tailor their studies to fit precise career aspirations, whether they’re aiming for further education in medicine or allied health fields or seeking immediate entry into medical or corporate settings. The focus on both preventive and therapeutic aspects of health and wellness ensures graduates are well-equipped for the dynamic landscape of health sciences.

Practical courses such as BIO155L Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology Lab and PED263 Teaching of Team Sports and Individual Activities II are exemplary of Rice’s commitment to real-world applicability. These courses not only bolster students’ understanding of key physiological processes and disorders but also develop their capability to design and deliver effective physical education programs.

Rice University’s Bachelor of Arts in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology stands as a robust foundation for those looking to make a significant impact in the fields of health and wellness. With its blend of rigorous academics and practical experience, the program aims to prepare students for a variety of careers in sports medicine and exercise physiology, underscoring its place among the best online physical education degrees.

8. Oregon State University

As we continue our search for the best online physical education degrees, we must highlight the program offered by Oregon State University (OSU). Known for its commitment to excellence and innovation, OSU provides one of the most comprehensive and flexible online degrees in Physical Education and Exercise Science.

The program at OSU is designed to equip students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to thrive in the field of physical education. Covering a wide range of subjects from human anatomy and physiology to exercise psychology, the curriculum ensures that graduates are well-prepared to address the diverse needs of individuals and communities in promoting health and wellness.

Importantly, the flexibility of the online platform at Oregon State University allows students to balance their studies with personal and professional commitments. This is particularly beneficial for those who are already working in health, fitness, or educational settings and are looking to advance their careers without having to put their lives on hold.

Another highlight of the OSU program is its focus on evidence-based practice, teaching students how to integrate research and theory into practical scenarios. This is a critical skill in today’s rapidly evolving health and wellness landscape, where professionals are expected to adapt and apply the latest knowledge to benefit their clients and communities.

Courses such as BIO155L Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology Lab and PED263 Teaching of Team Sports and Individual Activities II further underline the program’s commitment to combining theoretical knowledge with practical skills. These courses, among others, provide students hands-on experience and an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in real-world scenarios.

We observe that the prerequisites for enrolling in OSU’s physical education degree program align with the general requirements seen across the board, ensuring that applicants have a solid foundation in math and science courses, as well as a demonstrated level of physical fitness.

In our search for the leading online physical education degrees, Oregon State University stands out for its comprehensive curriculum, flexible learning environment, and emphasis on practical skills.

9.California State University

At California State University Long Beach, future physical educators find a diverse and comprehensive program tailored to their career goals. The Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology offers a deep dive into the field of physical education, with two distinct tracks: the K-12 Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) and the Adapted Physical Education (APE). Each pathway is meticulously designed to prepare students for the specific challenges and opportunities they’ll face in their professional journeys.

The PETE program is an excellent choice for those aiming to teach physical education in public or private settings at the K-12 level. It combines rigorous coursework with valuable student teaching experience, ensuring graduates are well-equipped to foster a love for physical fitness in young learners. On the other hand, the APE track offers a specialized curriculum focused on educating students with disabilities. This option highlights the program’s commitment to inclusivity and ensures that all students have access to quality physical education.

Tuition Fees are an important factor for many students, and at California State University Long Beach, the cost per academic year for 61 units is $5,742. This makes it both an affordable and valuable investment in your future as a physical educator.

For those interested in further specializing in Adapted Physical Education, the university provides additional resources. These include Camp Nugget, an afterschool program that offers practical fieldwork experience, and Project CAPE, a master’s program with scholarship opportunities. Such initiatives underscore the university’s dedication to preparing educators who can meet the diverse needs of students across different settings.

It’s important to note the Program Length; both the PETE and APE tracks are designed to be completed in 4 years. This ensures a comprehensive education without unnecessarily prolonging the time before you can start making an impact in the field.

In a rapidly evolving educational landscape, graduates from California State University Long Beach’s physical education programs stand out. Their preparation in both traditional and adapted physical education means they’re not just ready for today’s job market but primed to lead it into the future.

10. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

When we’re diving into the best online physical education degrees, it’s hard to overlook the impactful program offered by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This prestigious institution, known for its rigorous academic standards and pioneering research, offers a unique approach to physical education that integrates current trends and evidence-based practices. Their curriculum is designed to equip students with a deep understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of physical education and sports science.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor stands out for its commitment to delivering a comprehensive online learning experience. Students have access to an extensive digital library, online discussion forums, and virtual labs. These resources ensure that distance learners receive the same quality education as their on-campus counterparts. The flexibility of the online format allows students to manage their study schedule around personal and professional commitments, making it an ideal choice for working professionals looking to advance their careers.

The university’s program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach, addressing key areas such as kinesiology, biomechanics, sports psychology, and health promotion. This holistic perspective prepares graduates to make meaningful contributions to the field, whether they’re pursuing roles in coaching, fitness instruction, or wellness coordination. The coursework is structured to foster critical thinking, effective communication, and leadership skills, which are essential for success in any educational setting.

In addition to core courses, students have the opportunity to engage in specialized electives tailored to their career goals. These elective courses cover a wide range of topics, from adaptive physical education to sports management, offering a customizable educational pathway. Our analysis reveals that graduates from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor are well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of the physical education sector, positioning them as leaders in promoting healthy, active lifestyles.

Collaboration and community engagement are central themes of the program. Students often participate in online workshops and projects that encourage teamwork and practical application of theoretical knowledge. This approach not only enhances learning outcomes but also facilitates networking opportunities with professionals and peers across the globe.

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