North Central College - Naperville, IL

Physical Education

Why choose physical education at North Central College?

Among the strongest in the area, our physical education major is a rigorous program that produces teachers ready to lead premier physical education programs in K-12 schools. Immersed in the sciences and methods to promote lifelong fitness, our graduates are ready to help young people develop the skills, habits and attitudes that will promote their health and wellness. In addition to a K-12 licensure program, field experiences are woven throughout the program as well as in-class demonstration of teaching techniques.

You can also:

  • Gain valuable teaching experience in some of the Midwest’s premier (and highest-paying) school districts.
  • Earn a health teaching endorsement as part of the corresponding health minor.
  • Join PECS, the student organization for physical education majors and health education minors.
  • Join the Educators Rising, which develops and implements special service projects and programs.
  • Participate in local and state physical and health education conference presentations alongside North Central College KIN faculty.
  • Benefit from a program approved by the North Central Association of College and Secondary Schools, as well as the Illinois State Board of Education.


Gerald Gems, professor of health and physical education
Gerald Gems, North Central College professor of health and physical education, receives Routledge prize, gives talks, authors and coedits books and chapter.
North Central College will host the USA Triathlon Central Region Qualifier for the Collegiate National Championships on Labor Day, Sept. 5.
Gerald Gems, professor of health and physical education
Gerald Gems, North Central College professor of health and physical education, was a featured sports historian in an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”



  • Girls' swim coach intern, Naperville North High School
  • Track & field coach intern, West Chicago High School
  • Intern, Ultimate Strength and Fitness, Bloomingdale, IL
  • Sports and programming intern, YMCA, Schaumburg, IL
  • Intern, Dixon Park District, Dixon, IL


Physical education graduates often find teaching positions in districts within a 30-mile radius of North Central, like:

  • Aurora and East Aurora School District 131
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Naperville School District 203
  • Naperville Indian Prairie School District 204
  • Plainfield School District 202 

Graduate Schools

Recent physical education graduates have been accepted at:

  • University of Iowa
  • Syracuse University
  • McGill University
  • University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign
Physical Education major

Before transferring from large universities, Katie focused on swimming alone and had no idea what she wanted to do. “But North Central balances academics and athletics so perfectly and helps you focus on what you will do for life,” she says.

Katie has discovered she wants to teach physical education. “I’ve always been active and had a passion for keeping kids healthy and fit.” She added minors in secondary education and wellness with a health endorsement.

A member of North Central’s swim team, she partnered with her coach to start a noncompetitive program that teaches swim techniques and conditioning. She also volunteers her time to coach swim teams at a Naperville high school and is head coach at...

Physical Education major

With the hope of someday teaching and coaching at his high school alma mater, Michael has dedicated himself to physical education.

He stays involved through organizations like the Physical Education Council of Students. This group promotes physical education and advocates for community health and wellness. Michael has also volunteered in the community by participating in Naperville North High School’s health and physical education institute day.

“It was a great experience and I hope the physical education teachers will use the cross-curricular games we developed for high school students at all fitness levels.”

Michael will carry the guidance of his professors with him even after college....

Physical Education major

For Anthony, North Central College is all about location, location, location.

“As a physical education major, being located in Naperville gave me opportunities to work with a wide variety of school districts,” he says. “That’s huge in terms of networking and experience with different cultures.”

Anthony took advantage of the many networking opportunities in the area. He presented multi-disciplinary activities to physical education (PE) students from around the nation at the DuPage County Institute for PE, Health and Driver’s Ed. He also became a student teacher at West Chicago High School, where he taught students a valuable lesson he learned at North Central College.

“I wanted my students...

Physical Education major

At North Central, Michael immersed himself in as many opportunities as possible, from competing in football and track and field to serving in the classroom. He worked in adaptive physical education (PE) classes with middle- and high-school special-needs students and loved it. He watched them compete at Special Olympics and hopes his future employment includes similar work.  

He especially enjoyed teaching in different school environments. “At one high school, I gave lessons in two of my passions - weight training and exercise science. I’ll be doing my student teaching in PE at a middle school and volunteering as a football coach at a high school. What fun experiences!”

Michael plans to teach...

Physical Education major

Lindsay wanted a career she was more passionate about, so after a few years in sales, she enrolled at North Central College to earn a degree in physical education.

“My career aspirations were to become certified and prepared to teach physical education at the K-12 level,” says Lindsay, who’d previously earned a bachelor’s degree at a different school. “The combination of traditional classroom teaching along with practical experiences has allowed me to apply all that I’ve learned. I not only feel ready to teach physical education, but I feel confident that North Central has done everything in its power to prepare me.”

Lindsay discovered how much she enjoyed working with young athletes during a...

Physical Education major

Chris had discovered a passion for working with children and a love for teaching before his arrival at North Central. He found the physical education department was the ideal environment to nurture his passion and develop his skills in preparation for a teaching career. “At a small school like North Central, you have the opportunity to really get to know the faculty and staff. They create a warm and welcoming environment and want to create those personal relationships with students.”

In addition to his academic work and internships with the boys’ and girls’ swimming programs at nearby Naperville North High School, Chris was also the College’s student body president as a senior. “There are so many...