2018 Best Online Colleges for Physical Education Degrees

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $19,494
Avg Salary: $62,027

Online degrees in physical education are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral and certificate levels. There are 56 accredited online schools offering physical education degrees from which to choose. In addition to a comprehensive list, we highlight the 25 best online colleges offering physical education degrees based on affordability and academic rigor.

Prospective physical education students should ensure that their programs of choice are regionally accredited. In addition to regional accreditation, students looking to go into teaching will want to make sure that their programs have programmatic accreditation from CAEP to ensure the program meets high standards of academics and professional preparation. Aspiring physical education teachers will also have to check on the specific teacher licensing requirements for their state.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Physical Education Degrees (56)

2018 Best Online Schools Offering a Master's in Physical Education

Physical Education-Top Online Colleges-2018-Badge

This list of 25 schools represents the top online physical education degree programs, highlighting schools with affordable tuition and strong academics. All schools on this list have an annual tuition that is less than $13,500. Ranked #1, University of North Georgia offers a Master of Science in Kinesiology - Health and Physical Education for $4,545, the lowest tuition. University of South Florida - Main Campus is ranked #15 and has the highest academic strength score at 72%.

View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Academic Strength
#1 #1 University of North Georgia Annual Tuition $4,545 Academic Strength 63%
#2 #2 Valdosta State University Annual Tuition $4,981 Academic Strength 62%
#3 #3 University of Arkansas Annual Tuition $7,653 Academic Strength 70%
#4 #4 Georgia Southern University Annual Tuition $7,380 Academic Strength 68%
#5 #5 Jacksonville State University Annual Tuition $5,730 Academic Strength 62%
#6 #6 Emporia State University Annual Tuition $7,772 Academic Strength 64%
#7 #7 University of Northern Iowa Annual Tuition $7,470 Academic Strength 62%
#8 #8 Auburn University at Montgomery Annual Tuition $7,599 Academic Strength 62%
#9 #9 Gardner Webb University Annual Tuition $7,155 Academic Strength 60%
#10 #10 University of Southern Mississippi Annual Tuition $8,468 Academic Strength 63%
#11 #11 University of West Alabama Annual Tuition $7,293 Academic Strength 59%
#12 #12 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Annual Tuition $7,044 Academic Strength 58%
#13 #13 University of Idaho Annual Tuition $9,389 Academic Strength 65%
#14 #14 Rowan University Annual Tuition $10,290 Academic Strength 66%
#15 #15 University of South Florida - Main Campus Annual Tuition $12,336 Academic Strength 72%
#16 #16 University of Nebraska at Kearney Annual Tuition $9,036 Academic Strength 60%
#17 #17 Jackson State University Annual Tuition $8,316 Academic Strength 57%
#18 #18 University of Northern Colorado Annual Tuition $11,000 Academic Strength 65%
#19 #19 Canisius College Annual Tuition $12,285 Academic Strength 67%
#20 #20 Western Michigan University Annual Tuition $11,567 Academic Strength 64%
#21 #21 University of Mary Annual Tuition $11,990 Academic Strength 65%
#22 #22 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Annual Tuition $12,889 Academic Strength 67%
#23 #23 Tennessee Tech University Annual Tuition $12,720 Academic Strength 66%
#24 #24 Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville Annual Tuition $12,645 Academic Strength 64%
#25 #25 Western Kentucky University Annual Tuition $12,726 Academic Strength 63%
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Online Physical Education Degree Overview & Career Information

An online associate degree prepares students to transfer to a bachelor's program, or to find certain entry-level jobs in fitness-related careers such as coaching or fitness training. An online bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement needed to become a licensed teacher. Master's degree programs are available for those who are already working as teachers and who want to add to their skill set, or for those looking to make a career switch to teaching. Lastly, certificate programs in physical education may be an appropriate option for those who already have a bachelor's degree and want to go into teaching, but who don't want to commit to a full master's program.

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Online Associate Degrees in Physical Education

Graduates of an online associate degree in physical education are eligible to find work in related areas such as fitness training. Coursework will include general education classes in the humanities and sciences, as well as program-specific courses such as Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Education and the Teaching Process, Body Structure and Function, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Essentials of Human Nutrition. An associate program usually takes two years to finish and consists of at least 60 credit hours of classes. Tuition at community colleges tends to be affordable, with many degrees being offered at less than $10,000 a year.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Physical Education

Students who are determined to pursue a fully online physical education bachelor's program can expect the program to take four or five years to complete, depending on if the student is enrolled in a program that includes teacher licensure. Credit hours required may be as much as 154. Tuition will vary depending on the program an individual is enrolled in, but students can expect to pay somewhere around $18,000 a year. Admission will often require a high school diploma or GED, SAT or ACT scores, and an application.

The curriculum will be made up of general education courses as well as major-specific courses designed to teach students how to be effective educators. Example classes include Lifespan Motor Development, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Secondary School Physical Education Methods, Elementary School Physical Education Methods, Adapted Physical Education, and Educational Psychology. Student teaching is usually also required. Students may have the option to choose a specialization or minor such as Health and Physical Education, Athletic Coaching, or Physical Activity and Sport Performance. Upon completing their degree graduates will be qualified to teach physical education classes to elementary, middle, and high school students.

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Online Master's in Physical Education

Online master's programs in physical education are available for those who are currently working as a teacher and want to advance their education as well as for those who have no teaching background and are looking to begin a career in the field.

Students pursuing an online master's degree in physical education should typically have a bachelor's degree in physical education or a related field such as kinesiology and will complete around 30-33 credits in two years of study. Admission requirements will vary depending on the program; some programs require applicants to have a teaching background, while others do not. Other admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a GPA or 3.0 or more, test scores for the GRE or other similar tests, and letters of recommendation. Tuition can range anywhere from under $10,000 a year to $13,000 a year or more.

Classes that they might take include Motor Learning, Risk Management in Physical Education and Athletics, Sport Psychology, and Statistics in Education and Health Professions. Students will also likely be required to complete some type of final research project. Additionally, they will be required to work with students and observe in classrooms. Upon completing a master's program graduates will be able to either begin teaching physical education in K-12 settings or advance in their current career and become more effective educators.

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Online Docotoral Degrees in Physical Education

In order to be admitted to a doctoral program in physical education, students must have completed a master's degree and have had at least three years of professional experience in a related field. One example of such a program is a Doctor of Education in Kinesiology, which also requires letters of recommendation from previous professors.

Doctoral programs take around four years to complete and students should expect to take a minimum of 54 credits. Coursework often includes Statistical Methods in Kinesiology, Analysis of Teaching and Learning, Physical Activity and Health, and a Field Practicum in Kinesiology. Online doctoral degrees in physical education can help prepare graduates to teach in departments such as kinesiology, athletics, and health at colleges and universities.

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Online Certificates in Physical Education

Online certificate programs are available to prepare students for a career in teaching physical education classes. These certificates are typically at the graduate level, meaning that an individual must have an undergraduate degree in order to be admitted. Depending on the program prior teaching experience or teaching-related education may or may not be required. Classes that students might take during their studies include Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, Exercise Physiology for Health and Physical Education, Methods of Special and Health and Physical Education, and Educational Psychology.

Individuals who are specifically interested in teaching physical education in a distance format, such as teaching in a K-12 online school, can earn a certificate addressing these skills as well. A certificate program can take less than one year to two years to complete, depending on the scope of the program. Tuition costs vary depending on the school attended, but programs can be found for around $10,000 a year or less. Online certificate programs in physical education are available at universities.

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One thing that individuals should keep in mind when they are deciding on a school to attend is whether or not the school has been accredited. Accreditation means that an independent, outside organization has looked at the school or program and determined that it meets certain educational standards. Regional accreditation is when one of six regionally-based agencies evaluate a school as a whole to make sure it is living up to certain academic standards. Regional accreditation is offered to non-profit, degree-granting schools. It is important to attend a regionally accredited school for a variety of reasons, including the ease of transferring credits, access to federal financial aid, and increased assurance that the student's money is being spent on an education that will prepare them for their professional future.

Another type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation. Certain fields, such as teaching, have independent agencies dedicated to accrediting programs in that field to help students choose a one that will adequately prepare them for the workforce. Students who are interested in teaching at the elementary, middle, or high school level and who are looking at physical education degrees should look for programs that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This accreditation means the program is academically strong and that students who graduate it from it will have the skills needed to be successful teachers.

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Careers in Physical Education

The primary career path for those who earn a degree in physical education in that of an elementary, middle, or high school teacher. These professionals work with children and teens of various ages and ability levels to help them learn about exercising, team work, and healthy choices. Like any other teacher, they have to plan lessons and practice classroom management. Other job choices for someone with a physical education background include coaching, athletic training, and fitness training.


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