Why This Matters


    According to O*NET, 38% of physical education workers have a bachelor’s degree. This degree is typically required for teaching roles and more advanced positions in the field.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 5,200 MORE OF YOU BY 2029

    The growing issue of obesity and increased importance of exercise has contributed to a 16% increase in the need for athletic trainers and physical education workers.


    Bachelor’s degree holders gain access to more advanced roles, such as teaching positions, which earn $62,870 per year. In comparison, high school diploma earners make about $40,510 annually.

Our Research

This list focuses on bachelor’s programs in physical education, health and wellness, and health and science. As a health-related field, most programs typically grant a Bachelor of Science. All of the programs we reviewed are offered online.

Many of the colleges we selected are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional accreditor that evaluates schools in the central United States based on mission, ethics, teaching quality, and performance. We also included colleges that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This organization, which is peer-reviewed and self-regulated, guarantees that post-secondary education programs in the southern United States deliver in terms of quality and integrity.

  • 55 hours to write this article
  • 10 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 14 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Physical Education Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Physical Education Programs Badge
Intelligent Pick
Eastern New Mexico University
Best in the South
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Best Minor Options
William Carey University
Best in the Northwest
Eastern Oregon University
Best in the Midwest
Fort Hays State University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

People often confuse kinesiology with physical education. Kinesiology is a broad field that examines general movement and body function. Physical education is a narrower field that focuses on how people react and adapt to exercise and physical activity.

When applying to an institution, students should look for any accreditations that are prominent in their area. For instance, students in the central United States should search for institutions accredited by HLC.

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in physical education can work as gym teachers, health teachers, coaches, and athletic trainers and directors. In general, the athletic field has a positive job outlook. Bachelor’s degree holders specializing in physical education and fitness can expect a 16% increase in employment over the next decade.

Physical education students interested in working in a school will need to acquire a teaching license. Those that hope to work in gyms or fitness studios should consider getting an NCCA-accredited personal training certification.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online bachelor’s in physical education programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Most online programs give students the option between synchronous and asynchronous courses. Both of these options let students complete their coursework remotely. However, synchronous courses meet at set times while asynchronous courses do not have any designated class times.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Full-time students typically complete a bachelor’s in physical education program in four years. However, online learners with other time commitments may take five or six years to earn the necessary number of credits for graduation.

As you prepare for college, be aware of any impending application deadlines or required materials. You can find this information by consulting the school’s website or contacting the admissions department.

Another important factor to consider is funding. Be sure to research different types of financial aid opportunities, including scholarships, assistantships, and employee tuition benefits.

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