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PE teacher with elementary students

Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education (P-12 Certification)

If you’re interested in helping others learn how to live healthier lives, pursue a health and physical education certification program from University of the Cumberlands. As you build a strong academic foundation through your health and physical education major, you’ll learn a variety of essential skills and strategies to excel as a physical education teacher, health teacher or combination of both. Plus, you have the opportunity to expand your technology and communication skills. By the time you walk across the stage at graduation, you’ll be eligible for teacher certification in both health and physical education, including pre-school to twelfth grade.

Our experienced faculty members will help you tailor a program of study unique to your interests with content-specific courses. In addition to your classroom studies, you’ll spend a semester on-site in a local school system under the guidance of a professional PE teacher. Because of the rich P-12 partnerships that UC has, they can help you maximize your clinical experiences and provide you with valuable relationships for seeking employment.


What is a Health and Physical Education Degree?

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.

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What Can You Do with a Health and Physical Education Degree?

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.

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How to Become a PE Teacher and/or Health Teacher

Those interested in becoming gym or PE teachers should first check with their state’s certifying board. Different states may have different certification requirements. Some steps toward becoming a PE teacher, however, are fairly standard.

Begin by pursuing a bachelor’s degree program in relevant major in health, fitness, wellness and education from an accredited institution. This program should combine a deeper understanding fitness and wellness best practices for children in every age range with effective strategies for teaching in young learners. There should also be a student-teaching component. From there, aspiring physical education teachers will likely need to pass a state test, apply for a teaching license, and then submit applications for open jobs. 

As with aspiring PE teachers, those who wish to pursue a future as a health teacher should first check their state’s certification requirements. From there, they need to pursue a relevant bachelor’s degree program, one that focuses on health education. Again, there should be a student-teaching practicum where they have a chance to apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting. After that, they will need to take and pass a state test, apply for a license and start looking for open health teacher jobs. 

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Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a Health and Physical Education Concentration - 54 Semester Hours

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.

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Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.

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Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to this program, click here to view the undergraduate, on-campus admissions information. 

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Click here to view University of the Cumberlands' accreditation information. 

In addition to the overall institutional accreditation statement above, the specialized accrediting bodies related to this degree are listed below. 

KDE/EPSB – State Accreditation
University of the Cumberlands' School of Education is further accredited through Kentucky's Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB), 100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601. (502) 564-4606. Fax: (502) 564-7080.

CAEP – National Accreditation
The School of Education at University of the Cumberlands (UC) is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) at the initial-licensure level and advanced-level.  CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement.  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.
CAEP Address: 1140 19th St NW #400, Washington, DC 20036
CAEP Phone Number: (202) 223-0077

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Click here to view a list of the health and exercise sports science faculty. 

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Admissions Office

Contact Us

Phone:  606.539.4240
Toll-Free:  877.713.8767
Fax:  606.539.4303

Visit Us In Person

6178 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769

CAEP Accreditation


 The School of Education at University of the Cumberlands complies with all CAEP standards across programs at the initial and advanced levels.