Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

New Horizons: Health, Physical Education, Technology, and Engineering

Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

New Horizons: Health, Physical Education, Technology, and Engineering

Article excerpt

The importance of maintaining adequate physical activity and understanding personal health is critical to students both in the United States and abroad. While there are a number of well-known careers like "coach" and "physical education teacher," there are others that are less well known, like "exercise physiologist," "sports engineer," and "civil engineer/architect" who design playgrounds and athletic facilities. All of these professions use technology to advance health and physical education.

traditional health and physical education careers

Coach

Athletic coaches teach amateur and professional athletes the fundamentals of sport as well as how to maintain their skills. Good coaches are resourceful and have excellent communication and leadership skills. Coaches have used increasingly more advanced technologies to directly and indirectly help athletes improve their performances before and during matches. Technologies such as digital stopwatches, calipers, and video linked to computer programs that track and analyze movement are used to assess physical fitness, monitor athletic progress toward goals, and help athletes refine their motor skills.

Some entry-level coaching positions only require experience playing the sport, but many school head coaches need a bachelor's degree. To achieve the rank of coaching professional athletes usually takes years of coaching experience and a winning record in the lower ranks. In the U.S., athletic coaches earned a median annual salary of $28,380 in 2009; however, the range is quite variable depending on the setting, which could range from modest pay of community or elementary school sports coaching to education to the more lucrative coaching of college or professional sports.

Physical Education Instructor

Physical education instructors prepare students of all ages and in multiple settings by promoting healthy lifestyles and vigorous physical activity. Physical education teachers can be very influential figures in the lives of children. To be successful in this area, individuals must have competency in a variety of movement skills and in fitness education and must be able to analyze, synthesize, and apply scientific knowledge to physical education practice. They must also have a sincere interest in high-quality teaching and be personally committed to being physically educated and in helping others to become so. Job growth for elementary, middle, and high school physical education teachers is expected to increase through 2014, with a median salary of around $46,000 per year across the U.S.

Fitness Specialist

Fitness specialists represent a number of different careers that include community wellness program director, medically based facilities (post-rehabilitation) specialist, worksite fitness/wellness center directors, health coaches, personal trainers, private and commercial health club directors, general managers, owners, or consultants. Individuals in these careers provide more individualized focus on health in a number of settings. Online monitoring of status and sharing that progress information have been increasing among fitness specialists. While salaries are determined by experience, certification, and quality of service, individuals in this field of work will find a continuum of salaries based upon the position and the geographical location. Salaried positions may range from $25,000 to $75,000. Hourly positions range from $10.50/hr to $75.00/hr.

technology-based health and physical education careers

Exercise Physiologist

Exercise is considered a medical therapy, and exercise physiologists oversee the analysis, improvement, and maintenance of health and fitness. They may work in the rehabilitation of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Unlike some types of "personal trainers," exercise physiologists are health care professionals who have completed specialized degrees (bachelor's degree or higher) and/or have passed certification examinations. …

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