What Is a Physical Education Degree?
The Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree program offered by Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a collaborative initiative from the College of Education and the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. This physical education degree attracts teacher candidates who possess an enduring love of sports, physical fitness and wellness. Physical education (PE) teachers can serve as powerful role models and motivators for the next generation as they strive to make healthy choices and reach their full potential in the PK-12 grade school setting.
Why Earn Your BS in Physical Education at GCU?
GCU's bachelor of physical education offers a modern curriculum that is fully aligned with Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) principles. All coursework adheres to the national standards for Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) as established by SHAPE America, which is the national organization for physical educators.
This BS in physical education major enables teacher candidates to develop these core competencies:
- Create a safe, positive learning environment
- Meet the diverse needs of students with varying abilities
- Empower students to thrive physically, and stay active in and out of school
While you earn your bachelor's degree in physical education at GCU, some of the topics you study may include:
- Human development and function
- Fitness development and assessment
- Biomedical principles
- Techniques and best practices for safe movement
- Physical education for students with disabilities
- Instructional technology
- Teaching methods for individual and team sports
All teacher candidates working on a physical education degree are required to complete a student teaching experience. Under the supervision of a certified, experienced physical education teacher, our PE teacher candidates will apply their knowledge to the classroom.
What Does a Physical Education (PE) Teacher Do?
Physical education teachers fulfill several roles within a school system. They assess and guide the physical development of students, provide nutritional guidance and inspire enthusiasm for healthy exercise. Many physical education teachers also coach one or more school sports teams. Some of the responsibilities of a physical education teacher can include:
- Developing a well-rounded curriculum
- Organizing activities
- Preparing and maintaining gym equipment
- Teaching students how to play sports and other physically active games
Additionally, PE teachers can guide the socio-emotional development and ethical awareness of their students. They seek to instill values such as good sportsmanship and teamwork. Physical education instructors can help students work toward a love of healthy competition, tempered by the humility to gracefully accept a loss.
Are Physical Education Teachers in Demand?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for high school teachers from 2019 to 2029 is 4%. As well, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job growth for a similar occupation, fitness training and instruction, is expected to be about 15% from 2019 to 2029.*
Job Opportunities With a Physical Education Degree
A bachelor's degree in physical education allows you to turn your passion for fitness and sports into a rewarding career, inspiring students. Graduates of the BS in physical education degree may pursue job opportunities as instructors in elementary, middle or high school PE programs. Other career possibilities that may be related to a background in physical education include:
- Physical activity director
- Sports team coach
- Fitness trainer
- Athletic director
- Community recreation director
- Strength and conditioning coach
- Club sports organization leaders
- PE teacher for individuals with special needs
- Camp or summer program PE teachers
The Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree program at GCU leads to initial teacher licensure. PE teacher candidates are responsible for obtaining all necessary certifications required by the state in which they wish to teach.
PE Degree FAQs
*COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2018, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, High School Teachers and here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fitness Trainers and Instructors.
General Education Requirements
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.