ESHE Major: Physical and Health Education Concentration

Give Shape to an Active Future!



Radford University’s Physical and Health Education Teacher Education (PHETE) undergraduate program  — a concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Exercise, Sport and Health Education (ESHE) — combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on, experiential training to prepare future educators for careers in pre-K-12 physical and health education. Through partnerships with various schools in Southwest Virginia, PHETE students get direct experience observing and teaching children and adolescents in preschool, elementary, middle and high school settings, as well as program extensions on Radford’s campus. Successful completion of all PHETE requirements leads to teaching licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Radford University Physical and Health Education


The Physical and Health Education Teacher Education (PHETE) curriculum’s main focus is preparing students for pre-K-12 teaching positions. Students earn required certifications in first aid, CPR and AED, and many further enhance their job candidacy by pairing their degree with a minor in a relevant academic discipline. Additionally, they can pursue an optional endorsement in driver education to increase their marketability.  Students are required to complete core curriculum requirements and major requirements for the bachelor of science degree.

The student teaching placement during the final semester includes an internship that spans both the elementary and secondary levels. PHETE interns receive mentorship from an experienced physical and health education teacher as well as their university supervisors. Admission in the College of Education and Human Development’s Teacher Education Program is required before being approved to complete the student teaching experience.

Teacher Education Program

After being admitted as a full-time student at Radford University, students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average or greater and are required to pass the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) and Praxis II: Health and Physical Education assessments prior to being admitted into the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Teacher Education Program during their senior year. Upon admission, students complete their student teaching experience which concludes all program requirements leading to teaching licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Career Options

Due to alarming increases in sedentary behavior and childhood obesity rates, there has never been a more exciting or important time to pursue a career in physical and health education teaching, youth sports and athletic coaching. Physical and health education continues to be a top 10 critical shortage teaching endorsement area in Virginia; therefore, the demand for qualified PHETE professionals who can teach, motivate and shape the lives of young people is high.

Many graduates find teaching positions in public and private schools as well as community-based physical activity programs. PHETE teachers often supplement their careers with positions as coaches, driver education teachers and/or directors of intramural activities. Some graduates pursue advanced degrees in physical education teacher education, athletic coaching, educational leadership and more.

Extracurricular Highlights

Beyond the required coursework, students enjoy opportunities to enhance and supplement their learning with participation in a variety of organizations and activities, including:

• Membership in the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD).

• Travel to the VAHPERD state convention each November.

• Attendance and participation in national professional development workshops led by award-winning physical educators on campus.

• Leadership roles during the annual “Physical Exercise and Activity for Kids” camp for children on campus.

• Opportunities to present at “Family Fitness and Wellness Nights” in local schools.


Transfer Students

Although not a requirement, students interested in transferring to Radford University in PHETE Teaching from a Virginia Community College System (VCCS) school are strongly encouraged to complete an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of Arts and Science including a grade of C or better in specific prerequisite courses listed below:

RU Course Number

RU Course Title

VCCS Course Number

ENGL 111

Principles of College Composition

ENG 111

MATH 100

Quantitative Reasoning 

MTH 154 or higher

PSYC 121

Introductory Psychology

PSY 200 or 201

*STAT 130

Understanding Statistics in Society

MTH 155

*STAT 200

Introduction to Statistics

MTH 245

HLTH 200

Wellness Lifestyle

HLT 116 or 160

BIOL 310

Human Structure and Function I

BIO 141, 145, 231 or NAS 171

*Students may choose between STAT 130 or 200


The Physical and Health Education Teaching program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America.

News Archives

Radford University faculty member named Virginia Physical Educator of the Year (November, 2019)

Student teaching, coaching keeps Wade moving (February, 2019)

PEAK Program is getting kids moving on Saturday mornings (January, 2018)

Radford University senior receives prestigious health and physical education award (November, 2017)

Radford University welcomes physical education professionals and students for 10th annual VAHPERD workshop (October, 2017)

Education students awarded Hattie Strong scholarships (April, 2017)

Radford University welcomes physical education professionals and students for annual VAHPERD workshop (September, 2016)

Physical education workshop comes to campus (October, 2015)


What Alumni Say

“The Radford PE program helped me prepare for my career greatly as our classes went over not just what to teach, but also how to teach and how to handle students' behavior. I felt confident in my first year as a PE teacher because of all of the teaching experiences I had at RU. I learned how to self-reflect on my teaching which has helped me improve every single class period. Radford has helped me exceed the expectations of my co-workers and my administration in my first year of teaching, and I'm looking forward to many more!”

Rachel D.

Class of 2018

“I left Radford University feeling more prepared for the profession than I have for anything else in my entire life. The professors were positive role models who embodied the positive energy, relationship building, organization and preparedness necessary to excel in this career. Because of this program, I am able to live out my dreams and impact the lives of others daily. I will always be grateful for my time at RU.” 

Jesse W.

Class of 2017

“Radford did an amazing job preparing me for my job as an educator! From the hands-on experiences in classes to the top notch professors! My classes prepared me to be able to give effective instruction in the gym and in the classroom when I teach health. I cannot say enough about the fabulous professors. They were there for us every step of the way! I will always be thankful for the ESHE program at Radford!”

Judy H.

Class of 2015

Contact Information

Radford University Admisions

College of Education and Human Development Advising Center