The Physical Education Program

The Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program provides opportunities for students to become critical thinkers, creative planners and effective practitioners.

To be successful in the field, a physical education student must like to work with people, be adequately skilled in physical activities, have a commitment to fitness and be interested in the physical, biological and social sciences.  

The PETE program emphasizes teaching and provides students with skills and techniques necessary to begin a successful career in K-12 physical education. The program is aligned with the National Standards Guidelines for Physical Education Teacher Education. The courses are strategically structured to be sequential in nature.  

Students initially take courses through the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences (HNES) and complete their degree requirements through the School of Education (SOE). Students are admitted upon meeting the criteria established by the SOE.  Completing the degree requirements for a physical education degree in the SOE certifies a graduate to teach physical education from kindergarten through grade 12.  

Students majoring in physical education will be studying the art and science of human movement, which includes classes in elementary, middle and high school activities; motor learning, physiology and psychology of human movement; the art of teaching and motivating potential of all individuals; and appreciation of the individual differences of all people. 

Students must earn a grade of B or better in all core physical education courses and must maintain a 2.75 cumulative grade point average to stay in full-standing in the program. 

A graduate leaves prepared to teach in a professional manner, while demonstrating exemplary ethical behavior, and displaying current best practices.  Graduates are expected to be positive role models for K-12 students in the area of physical education, physical activity and sports.

Technology in Physical Education 

Physical education majors at NDSU are taught how to use and apply heart rate monitors and pedometers in activity settings.  The TriFIT computer-based health management system allows for exercise evaluation, nutrition evaluation and health-risk assessments. Students will use video cameras and computer software to analyze sport skills and improve teaching effectiveness, K-12 student accountability and personal reflection. 

Double Major 
It is recommended that physical education majors obtain a degree enhancement through licensing, certification or a double major.  The physical education curriculum has been structured to allow PETE students to obtain a health education major during the same four year time frame.  The acquisition of additional credentials helps to prepare future professionals, giving them a broader area of expertise and making them more marketable.  For further information about school health education, please refer to the Health Education portion of this website.

Career Opportunities
Graduates in physical education find career opportunities teaching in public or private educational settings, coaching within the community, athletic programs including coaching at high-education institutions, community sports positions with parks and recreation facilities, and/or local organizations like the YMCA. If interested in coaching at the higher education institutions, students are encouraged to maintain a 3.0 grade point average to enhance the possibility for acceptance into the graduate school to pursue the needed master's degree required to coach at this level.

HEPE Handbook

Physical Education Fact Sheet

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