Want to Impact the Health of Children? Here’s Why a Physical Education Degree with Fieldwork Is Crucial

If you’re interested in teaching younger generations the benefits of staying active and living a healthy life, kinesiology might be the right college major for you. Pursuing this specialized physical education degree can put you on the path to becoming an educator in PE, enabling you to have a profound impact on the individuals you work with.

One of the best ways to prepare for working in this area of education is to gain experience working with young people. It’s why the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree program at Azusa Pacific University includes a service-learning course that details how to work with students of different levels of physical ability. This instructional class (PE 452: Adapted Physical Education) is typically taken by students pursuing degrees in liberal studies and physical education, according to Greg Bellinder, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and coordinator of the Adapted Physical Education program at APU.

This focused education and fieldwork experience prepares you to enhance students’ lives and make a difference in your community while setting you up for a rewarding career after college.

More Physical Education Instructors Are Needed Nationwide

Kinesiology majors can choose from a variety of professions after they graduate, and students at APU can specialize in different career tracks. Those interested in sharing their love for fitness and health with young students might be a great fit for the physical education concentration.

The PE teacher workforce is expected to grow by 6 percent through 2024, according to Learn.org. Students currently enrolling in colleges and universities to study this field are likely to enter a robust job market.

The programming at APU prepares students to meet the growing demand for physical educators by aligning its program content with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) official standards for teacher preparation. In fact, APU is formally recognized by the by the CTCC as conferring subject matter competency to its students, excusing them from state testing required of graduates from universities without that distinction.

Hands-On Learning Experience Is Valuable

The service-learning course teaches students to develop coursework for a variety of pupils, no matter their skill levels.

“The process of planning the activities and putting them into practice with the kids has helped me prepare for what I want to do after graduation. It allows me to learn different types of activities I can do with the kids and know how to be organized, as well as taking PE seriously and not for granted,” said Jerald Campbell ’20, an APU junior who credits the program curriculum for helping prepare him for the career he wants to pursue.

Bellinder sees firsthand how his students have prepared for life after graduation. He describes the service-learning component of PE 452 as an experience that enables kinesiology majors to learn how to effectively accommodate and include K-12 students of all ability levels. In his opinion, this helps enhance the social and instructional experience for all of their future students. Most importantly, Bellinder adds, “These graduates will be equipped to teach all children, seeing in them the inherent value they possess simply because they were created in the image of God.”

Bellinder also noted that even students with little teaching experience can grow tremendously during the program. “By the time they have taught a few lessons, they exude a healthy confidence in their God-given teaching ability, and they clearly see the connections between the content of our course and the experience of service-learning,” he said.

PE Teachers Can Make a Real Difference

The PE 452: Adapted Physical Education course offered at APU stands out from other service-learning courses because of its focus on working with students with special needs. For APU kinesiology students, their chosen field is more than just a future career; it’s also a calling to help others reach their greatest potential.

“The thing that has impacted me the most during this PE program is realizing that I am a role model and the kids are always looking up to me,” Campbell said. “This allows me to show Christ through my actions and make sure all my students know that they are worthy as well as capable of being great.”