Online Master’s Degree in Physical Education

Most physical education classes require students to partake in some form of physical exercise for the duration of the class, and some schools require physical education teachers to also teach students about healthy food and lifestyle choices. Although most primary and secondary schools in the United States only require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree in education to teach physical education, some teachers choose to earn their master’s degree, as well. This is generally because teachers with master’s degrees earn better salaries than teachers with only bachelor’s degrees, and if a teacher wants to move up into an administrative position (principal, assistant principal, dean, etc.), they must have a master’s degree.

Formally known as a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in physical education, a master degree in physical education usually takes between one to two years to complete. However, there are several routes students can take. Earning an online master’s degree in physical education gives students the most flexibility in terms of schedule and lifestyle, since they don’t have to stop working or relocate to take classes. Programs exist for students who already have a teaching certificate and for students who do not. For students who need to earn their teaching certificate, the program will take a little longer and require them to pass a teaching certification exam.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Physical Education

Most education courses at the master’s level teach best practices for classroom instruction and building lesson plans. If you are a master’s-level student who is also seeking a teaching certificate, you will be required to complete several basic education courses to prepare you for the certification exam. Students seeking a master’s degree in physical education will also take subject-specific courses related to exercise and health. Common courses among most physical education programs include:

  • Research Methods in Physical Education Promotion
  • Teaching Effectiveness and Leadership in Physical Health Education
  • Discipline and Classroom Management
  • Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Planning Health Promotion Programs

The best online master’s degree programs will require you to write a research paper, or dissertation, related to your studies. Some programs allow you to also take part in case studies to support your research. However, not all accredited online master’s degree programs in physical education require research. If you are not currently teaching physical education, there are accelerated master’s degree programs for those interested in a fast track to teaching. These accelerated programs require you to participate in a student-teacher internship program to prepare you for the classroom. These internships can last up to one year, depending on the program you choose.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in Physical Education

With a master’s degree in physical education, graduates may teach the subject at the elementary, middle, or high school level. Teachers may also prepare themselves for a career in school administration by earning a master’s degree. Many teachers will also apply to coach a school sport on the side, which can boost their salaries. Many school districts in the United States also require all of their teachers to earn a master’s degree within their first few years of teaching. Although the job outlook for elementary and high school teachers is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next few years, current teachers should still consider the salary and career mobility benefits of earning a master’s degree.


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