What can I do with a degree in Physical Education?

What skills have our graduates gained?

Through their Physical Education degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferrable to a range of careers, including:

  • Knowledge of human movement, health and physical activity
  • Knowledge of another academic discipline of interest to individuals
  • Awareness of the holistic nature of health and movement
  • Coaching, motivation and teaching skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Leadership and organisational skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Critical reflection

Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom through work and other experiences also exist and can deepen your skills set and employability. Work and other experiences can also support and inform learning and skill development in the classroom.

Where have our graduates been employed?

In addition to teaching physical education in secondary schools, Physical Education graduates and postgraduates gain skills which equip them for employment in a wide range of careers, including other areas of education, national and regional sports and recreation organisations, local government, the health and fitness industry, and sport coaching.

A Physical Education degree is useful for any occupation where you deal with the education, development and needs of people, and for occupations which require presentation, interpersonal, management and leadership skills.

UC’s Guide to Job Hunting offers a variety of career resources including employer information.

For more information about UC student and graduate opportunities, go to UC CareerHub

What jobs and activities do our graduates do?

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs including teacher, outdoor instructor, health promoter, fitness consultant, sports director, sport coach, event manager, youth worker and sports journalist.

Some of the jobs listed may require further study at postgraduate level. Postgraduate study can contribute to your employability. It enables you to extend your knowledge and skills, indicates your motivation and ability to persevere at a high level academically and can make you more competitive in the job market. Postgraduate study may be a prerequisite for certain jobs.

  • Physical education teacher
    • Prepares and delivers instructional Physical Education lessons
    • Promotes student and community wellbeing
    • Involved in the co-curricular life of a school
  • Outdoor education teacher
    • Teaches students concrete skills such as navigation and outdoor survival
    • Develops students understanding of the environment and conservation
    • Organises and manages field trips and camps
  • School sports director
    • Develops and manages school sport and fitness programmes
    • Promotes high participation
    • Motivates and coaches students to enhance sporting achievement
  • Sports coach
    • Supports professional, community or school sportspeople and groups to improve performance
    • Plans and provides training programmes
    • Ensures the health and safety of clients
  • Recreational programmer
    • Organises and manages recreational activities for a range of organisations and groups
    • Develop schedules for activities
    • Ensures the safety and maintenance of equipment and facilities
  • Personal trainer
    • Develops goals and fitness/strength plans with clients
    • Provides lifestyle and diet advice
    • Works with a client during training sessions
  • Policy analyst - recreation
    • Conducts research
    • Provides policy advice to council and local boards
    • Assists in the design and provision of sports and recreation facilities and services
  • Sports development officer
    • Provides sporting opportunities throughout a community
    • Assists in addressing issues such as health, crime and social inclusion
    • Provides and markets sports classes and events
  • Youth worker
    • Uses structured sports and recreational activities to divert young people from anti-social behaviour and crime
    • Provides positive role models to young people eg coaches
    • Aims to increase young people's self-esteem and social skills through sports activities
  • Group exercise instructor
    • Plans and choreographs exercise classes eg aerobics, dance, strength training or yoga
    • Ensures classes are at an appropriate level, being challenging, motivating and enjoyable
    • Leads and monitors groups during exercise classes

Entrepreneurship and innovation are increasingly becoming an important part of the world of work and should be considered as a career option. For more information about UC student innovation & entrepreneurship, related internships, scholarships, courses and activities go to Careers, Internships & Employment

For further information on job titles, please see the latest UC Graduate Destinations Survey

For additional graduate destination information go to www.graduatecareers.com.au or www.prospects.ac.uk

What professional bodies and organisations do our students and graduates link to?

As they progress in their studies and into a career, our students and graduates often join professional bodies specific to their area of interest. These organisations offer the opportunity to network and collaborate with others within the same community. Other relevant organisations are also listed.

Social media networks, such as LinkedIn (including LinkedIn groups), Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues for students and graduates to keep up-to-date with current industry knowledge and ‘best practice’, networking opportunities, industry-related events and job vacancies.

What further study can I do after my degree?

It is possible to study at postgraduate and graduate level in subjects both directly and indirectly related to your degree. For a list of postgraduate and graduate study options, go to Courses, Subjects and Qualifications

Physical Education graduates can continue on to master's degrees and other postgraduate qualifications in Education and related areas at the University of Canterbury, and in other New Zealand and overseas institutions. Graduates may also be eligible for postgraduate study in teaching, coaching, exercise science or sociology. Postgraduate study can also lead to an academic career pathway in teaching and research.

Carefully consider your motivation for study, how it fits in with your long-term career plans and whether it is likely to enhance your employment prospects.

  • Careers, Internships & Employment
    University of Canterbury
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    New Zealand
  • Phone +64 3 364 3310
    careers@canterbury.ac.nz
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