By Brian Hughes, April 11, 2019
The future direction for physical education programs is branching into new and exciting realms of career paths. That’s why UCM’s physical education program has been redesigned to create two new majors to help students looking for a career in movement and sports but who are not sure if they are interested in a traditional career path.
The title “physical education” always brings people back to their high school days and the coach who taught PE class. This is a fond memory for some, while others look back on it as a traumatic experience. In truth, physical education truly stands for the “education of the physical,” meaning any of those professions designed to work with people who are physically active. Historically there are several professions which evolved from physical education that you may have heard of, including exercise science, biomechanics, physical therapy, occupation therapy, sport management and even exercise physiology. As time has gone by, these career paths have grown and developed their own specific styles and needs as a profession.
UCM will continue to offer a physical education program for individuals seeking to become K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, principals or athletic directors. In addition, two new program options are being offered to meet the needs of our students: adaptive sport education and sports and recreation education. Each of these new options will allow students to choose a career path interesting to them and their future.
Adapted sports education is designed to allow individuals to explore several different career paths upon graduation. One path would be to go to graduate school and work in exciting fields like the Paralympics, Special Olympics or adapted sports. A second path might include working in schools as a paraprofessional to gain insight into the world of special education, physical education or adapted physical education. Once individuals have discovered which of these special areas are right for them, they are able to return to school and finish their certification.
Sports and recreation education is designed to help students who know what they want to do, but don’t feel that any of the other majors are specifically designed to meet their needs. Maybe they want to be a collegiate coach or become a club youth sports coach and run a club team. Maybe they want to work for a parks and recreation program and handle youth sports. With a strong physical education background, this program’s flexibility in course offerings will allow students to design their program with guidance from their mentors to facilitate their career goals and dreams.
Brian Hughes serves as professor of athletic training and director of the Athletic Training program in the University of Central Missouri’s College of Health, Science and Technology’s School of Nutrition, Kinesiology, and Psychological Science. He currently teaches courses in athletic training, orthopedic assessment and professional development, and he serves as program advisor for UCM students seeking the Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training.