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Physical Education, BS - Elementary-Secondary Certification K–12 Option

Physical Education Bachelor of Science - Secondary K–12 Option

Develop leadership skills while helping generations of young people form empowering fitness habits. A bachelor’s degree in K–12 Physical Education from the University of Central Missouri empowers you with the knowledge, skills and outlook to build quality physical education programs at both the elementary and secondary levels.

The best physical education degrees train you to educate through engagement. By learning culturally responsive teaching practices at UCM, you’ll be able to meet students where they are. Teaching physical education requires empathy as much as skilled fitness instruction.

As a physical education teacher, it will be important for you to connect with students who have a wide variety of abilities and backgrounds. Whether it’s through the practice of yoga or teaching basketball moves for wheelchair users, UCM’s bachelor’s degree in Physical Education program will give you the tools to foster a love of movement in all your students.

A respected degree in Physical Education

The University of Central Missouri has been training educators for 150 years and counting. Our well-regarded program focuses on how to effectively teach all aspects of physical education so that you can adapt to the changing needs of students and modern learning environments.

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DESE- and CAEP-accredited program

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Nearly 100% employment rate

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Hands-on, real-world experience

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80+ years of teaching physical education

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Small class sizes

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Supportive, student-centered learning

What you will study

The University of Central Missouri’s Physical Education degrees create highly skilled educators who can develop and implement a standards-based curriculum. You’ll learn a variety of curriculum models, including Teaching Games for Understanding and Sport Education.

Effectively teaching physical education requires differentiated instruction. Learn how to offer the same quality of teaching to all your students by gathering and applying data about how they learn. When you make informed decisions about what individual students need, you can challenge each of them to grow at the pace that’s right for them.

Learn to teach and assess your future students across all three learning domains — psychomotor, cognitive and affective — and how to embed social and emotional learning within a lesson.

While earning your bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at UCM, you’ll have the opportunity to take courses such as:

  • Analysis and Teaching of Lifetime Activities
  • Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living
  • Assessment and Data Based Decision Making in Physical Education
  • Psychology of Adolescence


Excellence in Physical Education

  • UCM’s elementary-secondary option for a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education has earned a stellar reputation among the region’s administrators. 
  • Top 15%: Best Value Bachelor’s Degree Colleges for Elementary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • A Best Value College for Elementary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • A Most Popular College for Health & Physical Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • A Most Focused College for Secondary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 15%: Most Focused Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 4.5%: Most Popular Colleges for Secondary Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 6%: Most Popular Colleges for Education(College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 6%: Most Popular Colleges for Elementary Education (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in K–12 Physical Education

Hands-on experiences are essential for teaching physical education. Practice with your fellow physical education teacher candidates in class and spend 125–150 hours in local schools — plus additional time as a student teacher — before you graduate. During practicums, you’ll spend time in rural, suburban and urban settings so that you can teach K–12 anywhere in the state, and beyond. 

This generous time in the field with elementary and secondary students, including students with disabilities, is designed to build your confidence teaching physical education:

  • Student teaching: Gain invaluable experience teaching physical education by spending a semester teaching in elementary and secondary settings under the mentorship of a professional physical educator.
  • Sport or athletic coaching: Earn a stipend and gain practical experience by becoming an assistant coach while in the UCM K–12 Physical Education program. Students in our program have helped coach junior high and high school teams, intramural leagues and more.
  • Summer coaching: Build your resume over the summer by becoming a club coach before you continue your UCM Physical Education degree in the fall.
  • Substitute teaching: As a future physical education teacher, once you have 60 credits you can be a substitute teacher in local schools. Substitute teaching further prepares you for jobs in physical education and is a great way to earn extra income.


What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from UCM?

Your bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri will prepare you for in-demand K–12 jobs in physical education. Teachers with a UCM degree in Physical Education enjoy nearly 100 percent placement rates and work in school districts across the country. 

Some UCM graduates with Physical Education degrees choose to enter coaching after graduation. Some also pursue graduate degrees in pedagogy, coaching and related fields.

Whatever academic or professional trajectory you choose, your UCM Physical Education degree will empower you to become a change agent, leader and advocate in the field. You’ll be in good company, too — UCM faculty occupy many leadership roles in state, regional and national physical education organizations.

Learn more about jobs in physical education

Teaching physical education to students in K–12 settings is a highly desirable skill in Missouri and around the country. Use our interactive tool below to explore job trends for graduates with physical education degrees.




Financial assistance options for your bachelor’s degree in Physical Education

The experience and training to be a skilled physical education teacher is the foundation for an excellent career. With the University of Central Missouri’s commitment to low student debt, your bachelor’s degree in Physical Education is an even smarter investment in your future.

UCM provides significant financial aid to the majority of our students. With a wide array of grants, assistantships and scholarships to further offset our low tuition fees, we will work with you to find the best option to help finance your college education.

In addition to university-wide resources, you may be eligible for the following funding when you pursue your Physical Education degree:

  • Clarence M. & Christine M. Whiteman Memorial Scholarship
  • Dr. Robert Tompkins Memorial Scholarship
  • Jessie B. Jutten Physical Education Scholarship
  • M. Ruth Sevy Memorial Scholarship
  • Teresa A. Roberts Scholarship

You can learn more about program-specific scholarships with the UCM Scholarship Finder.


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Take your degree further.

Your bachelor’s degree in Physical Education K–12 qualifies you for jobs in physical education. Teachers are in high demand, but you can expand your career opportunities with a UCM graduate degree such as: 

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Make yourself more marketable.

Increase your job opportunities after college and gain targeted, in-depth knowledge by adding a minor to your bachelor’s degree in Physical Education:

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Explore programs in this exciting field of study.

Explore programs related to physical education.
Becoming a K–12 physical education teacher is only one way to create a career in this multifaceted field. For more, consider these alternative degrees at UCM: 


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