Bachelor's Degree in Physics Education (Secondary Certification)
Are you ready to pursue a career in physics, engineering, mathematics, or a related field? If so, the physics program at University of the Cumberlands is a great place to start—especially if you have a passion for teaching. Our faculty members are committed to helping you achieve your goal to become a successful physics teacher. They’ll train you to cultivate critical-thinking skills, apply physical principles, develop insights into experimental physics, and extend your mathematical prowess.
And, as a physics student, you’ll have access to high-quality equipment for problem-solving, computation, and data acquisition, as well as a math tutoring lab and physics laboratories for introductory and advanced level courses. You’ll also participate in and lead experiments ranging from the traditional “inclined plane” to sophisticated computer data acquisition systems.
- What is a Physics Education Degree?
- What Can You Do with a Physics Degree?
- How to Become a Physics Teacher
- Curriculum and Degree Requirements
- Admission Requirements
- Accreditation EPSB and CAEP
What is a Physics Education Degree?
An education degree with an emphasis in physics gives future educators the training they need to earn licenses that qualify them for teaching careers in public and private high school settings. As with any science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) field of study, coursework for an accredited bachelor’s degree program in physics is designed to help students develop a fundamental understanding of all, providing a special emphasis in physics—including classes in classical physics, theory, nuclear physics, quantum physics, and more. Students should also gain a comprehensive understanding of the teaching side of the job, from developing scientific experiments suitable for the classroom to evaluating student progress.
What Can You Do with a Physics Degree?
Physics teachers have a passion for physics and a desire to pass on their knowledge to future generations. At University of the Cumberlands, we encourage students to combine physics with either mathematics or chemistry in order to increase their career prospects.
When you complete your bachelor’s degree program, you’ll have the necessary skills to pursue job opportunities as a physics teacher in high school settings, where teachers earned, on average, an annual salary of $61,820 as of 2030. After completing your physics education degree, you can pursue jobs and career opportunities such as:
- Physics teacher (9-12)
- Post-secondary physics professor
- Natural sciences manager
If you want to learn more about careers in physics education, The Physics Career Resource for the American Physical Society outlines some additional career opportunities for your consideration.
How to Become a Physics Teacher
For those who wish to enter the education field as physics teachers, the first step is to check the teaching certification requirements of their state’s certifying board. Each state has subtle differences in requirements for job certification. Some things, however, are universal.
As with any STEM field, a student charting a career path teaching physics in public school systems should first earn a relevant bachelor’s degree. This degree must explore the scientific principles and understandings of physics. And it must offer coursework designed to help students understand how to teach in a high school classroom setting. These programs will likely have a student teaching obligation for completion, a requirement for certification in most, if not all, states.
From there, new physics teachers will likely need to pass a state test, apply for a license to teach, and then start applying for open positions.
Curriculum and Degree Requirements
Requirements for the Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physics Teaching - 54 Semester Hours
The physics teaching major is for students seeking certification to teach at the secondary level (grades 8-12) either through the traditional undergraduate program or the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). (Alternatively, students may choose to complete the Physics Major while seeking secondary certification.)
27 semester hours in physics:
Core (17 hours)
- PHYS 241 Physics I
- PHYS 242 Physics II
- PHYS 335 Quantum Physics
- PHYS 340 Classical Physics
- PHYS 410 Ethics in Science
- PHYS 419 Physics Capstone
Theory (minimum 6 hours)
- PHYS 430 Classical Mechanics
- PHYS 431 Electromagnetism
- PHYS 436 Lasers
- PHYS 439 Applications of Nuclear Physics
- PHYS 490 Selected Topics in Physics
Experiment (7 hours)
- PHYS 312 Experimental Design and Analysis
- PHYS 332 Experimental Physics I
- PHYS 423 Experimental Physics II
12 semester hours in physical science:
Science (minimum 12 hours)
- CHEM 111 General Chemistry Laboratory I
- CHEM 132 General Chemistry I
- CHEM 211 General Chemistry Laboratory II
- CHEM 232 General Chemistry II
- PHYS 117 Physical Science Laboratory
- PHYS 137 Physical Science
- PHYS 140 Astronomy
15 semester hours of support courses: Mathematics (15 hours)
Option 1 – Undergraduate Professional Education 42 semester hours in professional education: See the catalog listing for the School of Education for professional education requirements.
Option 2 – Master of Arts in Teaching Upon graduation, a student may choose to complete the MAT degree to become certified: See the Graduate Education Catalog for admissions and graduation requirements.
Costs for programs of study at University of the Cumberlands are competitive and affordable. Click here to view tuition rates and fees.
In order to be considered for admission to this program, click here to view the undergraduate, on-campus admissions information.
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
Click here to view a list of the physics faculty.
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