Commencement - May 3 & 4

Plan for your visit to campus to celebrate your graduate. All event details are located HERE

When you teach children how to care for themselves, you change their lives for the better.

Everyone needs to know the basics of how to care for their own health and physical wellbeing. But how can we understand those things unless we're taught? By becoming a health teacher, or physical education teacher, or a combination of both, you'll be one of the best resources for children to learn how to keep themselves healthy. Children learn about the world, teamwork, and their own strengths and abilities through play. By facilitating that "play time" in P.E., you'll help them learn about themselves while they experience new sports and fitness activities. And, of course, teaching health classes will give your students the knowledge they need to care well for their bodies. By improving your communication, technology, and leaderships skills, and by increasing your knowledge of the human body and how it functions, you'll be able to excite and inspire children to become and stay healthy.

Anchor: Stats

By the Numbers


Average Salary


Industry Growth

1 in 5

Students Make the Dean's List


Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

* The credit hours listed on this page only reference the specific program requirements and is not reflective of the total hours necessary to receive your degree. Cumberlands requires all students obtain a minimum of 60 hours for an associate’s degree and a total of 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. Transfer and prior learning credits may be counted toward those totals.

To learn more about our General Education Requirements, please visit the page referenced below or explore our Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Health & Physical Education

If you want to become a health teacher, phsyical education teacher, or a combination of both, then this is the degree program for you. University of the Cumberlands' bachelor's degree program in health and physical education will lay the groundwork you need to become an impactful teacher. From wellness initiatives in youth to best practices in teaching for young minds and bodies, your classes will cover all the essentials.

Course Requirements

  • HESS 233 Functional Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • HESS 234 First Aid and Safety
  • HESS 330 Influences on Contemporary Issues in Health & Performance
  • HESS 333 Nutrition
  • HESS 430 Substance Abuse
  • HLTH 130 Foundations of Health Science
  • HLTH 338 Relationships and Human Behaviors
  • HLTH 432 Community and Environmental Health
  • HLTH 437 Secondary and Lifespan Health Education
  • HLTH 438 School Health Education
  • ESS 131 Introduction to Health, Exercise and Sport Science
  • ESS 230 Growth and Movement Development
  • ESS 330 Kinesiology
  • ESS 432 Physical Education for the Middle and Secondary School
  • ESS 433 Physical Education for the Elementary School
  • ESS 435 Physiology of Exercise
  • ESS 437 Tests and Measurements

Students seeking teacher certification in Health Education and Physical Education must also take 42 hours of professional education courses. Students seeking Certification in P-5 Elementary Education must take HLTH 438 as part of the related studies requirement. View academic catalog for details.

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.

  • FREN 131        Elementary French I
  • FREN 132        Elementary French II
  • FREN 231        Intermediate French I
  • FREN 232        Intermediate French II
  • SPAN 131        Elementary Spanish I
  • SPAN 132        Elementary Spanish II
  • SPAN 231        Intermediate Spanish I
  • SPAN 232        Intermediate Spanish II
Anchor: Mission & Goals

Mission & Goals

The purpose of the School of Education is to develop entry level education students into highly qualified, knowledgeable and caring teachers. We provide training and experiences using best practices for teacher education candidates.

Develop entry-level education students into highly qualified, knowledgeable and caring teachers who provide for diverse learners.
Provide the pedagogical instructional methods necessary to meet the Kentucky Teacher Standards and University of the Cumberlands’ Standards.
Strengthen your abilities to critically reflect and evaluate your skills, thereby providing the opportunity for growth.
Nurture an appreciation and refinement of ethical and Christian moral values in future teachers.
Build robust oral, written, and information literacy skills in students.
Anchor: Career Outcomes

Health & Physical Education Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

High School Teacher: $61,820

High School Teacher: $61,820

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Fitness Instructor: $40,700

Fitness Instructor: $40,700

Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities.

Middle School Teacher: $61,320

Middle School Teacher: $61,320

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades.

Health Education Specialist: $48,860

Health Education Specialist: $48,860

Health education specialists develop programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being. Community health workers promote wellness by helping people adopt healthy behaviors.

Coach or Scout: $38,970

Coach or Scout: $38,970

Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at their sport. Scouts evaluate athletes as possible recruits.

Recreation Worker: $29,680

Recreation Worker: $29,680

Recreation workers design and lead activities to help people stay active, improve fitness, and have fun.

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

A bachelor’s degree in health and physical education provides the training future educators need to pursue certifications that qualify them for careers as health teachers or physical education teachers. College coursework helps these future teacher professionals gain a solid understanding of what it takes to teach young learners, P-12, in public and private school settings. They’ll cover everything from wellness initiatives in youth to best practices in teaching for young minds and bodies. These future educators should also gain a comprehensive education in age-appropriate lesson planning, classroom management and supervision strategies, how to plan educational activities, and more.

After earning your bachelor’s degree in health and physical education, you will be prepared to begin your teaching career in grades P-12, where teachers earned an average annual salary of $61,820 in 2030, or continue your studies in graduate school. Job options can include*:

  • Gym teacher
  • Recreation and fitness studies teacher
  • Coach or scout
  • Fitness trainer
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Wellness program director
  • Worksite health promotion manager
  • Recreational director for a YMCA
  • Parks and Recreation activity director
  • Fitness instructor

* Certification or additional training may be necessary for some positions.

You will likely need to pass a state test for whichever state in which you hope to teach. Upon passing the exam, you should apply for a teaching license. Once you’ve obtained that, you can apply to open teaching positions!  

All programs at University of the Cumberlands are offered at some of the lowest rates in the nation – and we even include free textbooks through our One Price Promise! For more information on how affordable this program would be for you, visit our Financial Aid page.

Per the standards set by Kentucky EPSB, “Candidates [for student teaching] in Kentucky are required to complete a minimum of 200 field experience hours prior to student teaching.”  Each education course contains a prescribed number of field experience hours. Some courses will have more than others, and courses with more hours are distributed toward the end of the program. Before student teaching, the hours completed in courses will be 200 or more. It's hard to measure an average per semester, since it will depend on the courses you take, but rest assured that you will be able to complete all your necessary hours by the time you graduate. 

Yes! University of the Cumberlands' School of Education is accredited through Kentucky's Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB) and has national accreditation through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) at the initial-licensure level and advanced-level. UC’s School of Education has earned national accreditation by demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement.

Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts in Health & Physical Education

Learn more about the health professors you'll be interacting with.

Julia Chaney

Julia Chaney

Adjunct Professor
Health, Exercise and Sport Science

Julia Chaney

Contact Information

julia.chaney [at]
Dr. Elizabeth Christopher

Dr. Elizabeth Christopher

Associate Professor
Health, Exercise and Sport Science

Dr. Elizabeth Christopher

Contact Information

liz.christopher [at]
Luecker Building, RM 213
Heather Killian

Heather Killian

Adjunct Professor
Health, Exercise and Sport Science

Heather Killian

Contact Information

heather.killian [at]
Luecker Building

Request Information

Want some more information about Cumberlands or this program? Ask away!