student working out on treadmill

Physical Education, Fitness, and Sport Studies Program

The Physical Education, Fitness, and Sports Studies program will prepare you for a career in any of the following: teaching, coaching, strength and conditioning coaching, personal training, group fitness instruction, exercise science, kinesiology, sport management and marketing, athletic administration, health promotion and wellness.

Ranked as the third best Exercise Science and Kinesiology associate degree program in the U.S. for 2021, the program provides students with a quality educational foundation that integrates a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on practical experience and activity-based courses. The interactive learning environment prepares students for direct entry into the field as a personal trainer or fitness instructor and/or to transfer to a four-year university.  

Determine Your Path

Learn skills you need to succeed in a variety of physical education, fitness, and sports studies courses to become a teacher, coach, fitness instructor or sport business professional. This video explains more about the program, our mission and recommended courses. 

You want to attend a credible college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

Kinesiology and Fitness

Pursuing a path in kinesiology will prepare you for careers in movement science, exercise physiology, fitness training, as well as group fitness instruction, personal training, strength and conditioning.

This path of study enables you to earn an Associate in Science or an Associate in Arts to study anatomy, exercise science, health, and fitness instruction as well as gain hands-on experience in activity-based classes.

Contact Gail Tait at (630) 942-2587 for more information on Kinesiology and Fitness.

Teaching and Coaching

Pursuing a path in physical education teaching and coaching lays the groundwork for you to pursue a career teaching physical education and/or coaching in K-12 school settings or coaching at the collegiate level.  

Most students in this pathway plan to transfer to a four-year institution. This path requires students to study traditional physical education, coaching, health, sport psychology and kinesiology.

Contact Jane Vatchev at (630) 942-3329 for more information on Physical Education Teaching/Coaching.

Sport Management

The Sport Management Transfer Pathway prepares you for administrative careers in a variety of sport settings, including youth, intercollegiate and professional sports as well as other sport-related corporations and organizations.

You will be required to take coursework in general business, management, marketing, psychology and sociology.   

Contact Stephanie Vlach at (630) 942-2629 for more information on Sport Management.

Fitness Instructor

The Fitness Instructor certificate program is designed to provide you with a comprehensive background in kinesiology and exercise programming that leads to a nationally accredited person training and/or group fitness certification. COD follows the American Council on Exercise (ACE) curriculum, a nationally accredited certification organization. 

Once certified as an ACE personal trainer and/or group fitness instructor, you are employable at local health clubs, YMCAs, Park Districts and other fitness-related facilities. 

Get moving and jump into one of our group fitness or activity classes including yoga, pilates, water aerobics, kickboxing, weight training, power lifting, HIIT or boot camp.

All activity classes are taught by experienced, certified instructors who will help you reach your fitness goals and earn a college credit along the way. 

A full list of classes can be found in the course catalog.  

Complete Your State of Illinois Subsequent Physical Education Endorsement Coursework

Once you complete the requirements needed to earn your Professional Educator License (PEL) or Educator License with Stipulations endorsed in a teaching field, you can earn additional content area endorsements. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, endorsements can be added at any grade level even if the underlying teaching endorsement on the PEL is a different grade range.  

The PEL serves as a foundation to which any teaching endorsement can be added after applicable coursework and testing are completed

Per the State of Illinois, a Physical Education Endorsement can be earned by successfully completing an additional 18 semester hours in Physical Education-related courses with a final grade of a "C" or above as well as the successful completion of the Physical Education 144/213 test provided by and taken with the State of Illinois.

State of Illinois endorsement requirements and approved coursework can change. Contact Assistant Professor Jane Vatchev for more information.


COD Stories

Jordan Vargas

"COD promotes success even in the sports world, which can be cutthroat." - Jordan Vargas

Jordan's COD Story

COD Stories

Mitchell Sandleback

"The resources available to students are incredible, and sports and clubs are great ways to meet new people and be part of the COD community. If I had to go back and do college over, I would start again at COD." - Mitchell Sandleback

Mitchell's COD Story

COD Stories

Samuel Franklin

"When I discovered that you could actually study this in college and train athletes with that knowledge, it was a no-brainer to me. I could stay around sports and never be bored with my job and learn about topics that were extremely interesting to me.” - Samuel Franklin

Samuel's COD Story

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in Physical Education, Fitness, and Sports Studies is to apply for admission.

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Physical Education Theory

Students taking physical education theory courses will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various sub disciplines that make up the field of Physical Education/Kinesiology.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various health issues currently facing today’s society.
  • Explain the benefits of regular exercise and healthy eating as it relates to the dimensions of wellness and disease prevention.
  • Explain the components of physical fitness and steps to achieve each.
  • Use fitness evaluation tools to develop a personal fitness or exercise plan.
  • Evaluate stress levels and explain behaviors to manage stress, both in everyday life and in athletic situations.
  • Evaluate the validity of various health and fitness information sources.
  • Explain risk management, safety, and liability as it relates to fitness, sport activity, and facility.
  • Identify the concepts of sports management and sports marketing. 

Fitness and Activity 

Students taking fitness and activity classes will: 

  • Explain the concept of wellness and the benefits of regular exercise in improving health and wellness.
  • Identify and assess their own health and fitness markers.
  • Perform various exercise activities at a level that will lead to improvement in fitness.
  • Recognize a healthy blood pressure and resting heart rate.
  • Calculate their personal target heart rate zone for various intensity levels in order to improve fitness.
  • Develop an understanding of the methods used to improve muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.

College of DuPage has several physical education, fitness and sport studies transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Unique Facilities

Outside of the Physical Education Center

The state-of-the art Physical Education Center can help with every academic and fitness goal.

Career Information

Explore careers based on your interest, location and salary range or view top occupations by income.


Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Physical Education, Fitness, and Sports Studies program.

Students who pursue an education within Physical Education, Fitness, and Sports Studies are interested in careers within teaching, coaching, personal training, group fitness, strength and conditioning, kinesiology, sport management and marketing, athletic administration, health and wellness.  

If you’re not quite sure what you want to pursue as a career, we offer three pathways or intended majors -  Physical Education, Teaching, Kinesiology and Sport Management.  

Although these paths lead toward specific careers, much of the coursework overlaps and therefore students can move from one path to another.  We recommend all students interested in our program start with PHYS 2200, Introduction to Physical Education. This class gives students an understanding of the career and education options within our field as well as clarity on potential paths moving forward. 

Our intended majors are designed to lay the educational groundwork for students who are looking to transfer to a four-year university after their initial two years of study at COD.  

Our Fitness Instructor Certificate gives students an opportunity to become educated and nationally certified as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor in a shorter amount of time. Once nationally certified, students are employable at health clubs, YMCAs, Park Districts and other fitness-related facilities.  This allows students an earlier entry into the fitness field and/or to get certified and gain experience while pursing their degree.  

You can take an activity or group fitness class without pursuing a career in sport or fitness. All activity classes are taught by experienced, certified instructors who lead quality workouts to help you reach your fitness goals.  You will also earn a college credit along the way.  

We offer a wide variety of classes including, but not limited to cardio kickboxing, Yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, a variety of martial arts, weight training, HIIT and relaxation and meditation. 

Complete the admissions application or contact one of our faculty members for more information: 

Gail Tait
Advising area: Kinesiology/Fitness Instructor 
Phone: (630) 942-2587

Jane Vatchev
Advising area: Physical Education Teacher/Coach 
Phone: (630) 942-3329

Stephanie Vlach
Advising area: Sport Management
Phone: (630) 942-2629