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.
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Possible/Typical Job Titles -
Health and Physical Ed. Teacher
Sporting good salesperson
Coach Recreation Therapy
Early childhood motor skills instructor
Outdoor education instructor
Correction facilities instr.
Sports medicine physician*
Youth sports coach
Protective service worker
Sports clothing designer
Cardiovascular Fitness Instructor
Swimming Pool Manager
Corporate Fitness Instructor
Teacher; Physical Education
Country Club Manager
Occupational Therapy Asst.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Professional Sports Scout
Professional Sports Umpire
Cruise Recreation Director
Prison Recreation Specialist
Emergency Medical Tech.
Sporting Goods Sales
SPA/Health Club Manager
Agency Recreation Leader
Community Based Fitness
*Denotes need for additional education.
Typical Places of Employment -
Industry (private, public companies)
Elementary, Middle, and Secondary
Colleges and Universities
Community Centers and
Health Spas and Resorts
Professional Sports Teams
Exercise Science Labs
Commerce & Industry
Competitive Sports programs
Required Skills and Abilities -
Assess physical education needs and place in classes in accordance with their health status and ability.
Direct and guide students in a broad range of activities to help them develop skills such as accuracy, agility, balance, coordination, power, rhythm, strength, timing, and other attributes needed in physical activities.
Lead groups of students in classes in games, dance, gymnastics, and fitness activities.
Teach other subjects in the classroom.
Oral & Visual Communication Skills
Demonstration Skills (physical activities)
Interest in Physical Activities
Interest in Health Issues
Interest & Knowledge in the mechanics and general health of human body
Teach a sports skills.
Instruct students in the use of equipment.
Prepare a budget for materials and equipment.
Meet with parents, school counselors, and school staff, to keep the community informed about the physical education and sports programs.
Coach a sport
Interest in Coaching
Interest in Teaching
Knowledge of Proper Nutrition
Discussion Skills (ie, human sexuality)
Alumni Resources -
(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)
Executive Director, Ticket Sales
NY Yankees Baseball Club
Regional Business Director
Bausch & Lomb
Public Schools Teacher
University of Notre Dame
Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field -
What is Exercise Science? - Exercise Science encompasses a wide variety of disciplines including, but not limited to: Biomechanics, Sports Nutrition, Sport Psychology, Motor Control/Development, and Exercise Physiology
What is an Athletic Trainer? - An athletic trainer is a certified health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine. Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as an allied health care profession since 1990.