How to become a physical education teacher
Teachers work with students of all ages and backgrounds and can specialize in different educational areas. Physical education is one of the educational fields where teachers teach students about healthy habits, nutrition and physical activity. If you are interested in working with children in an active environment, becoming a PE teacher may be a great option to consider in education. In this article, we’ll explore what PE teachers do and how to become a PE teacher, with some frequently asked career questions to help you decide if it’s right for you.
What is a PE teacher?
Physical Education (PE) teachers are educators who specialize in teaching and guiding in the subjects of physical health, development, proper nutrition and sport. Physical education teachers work with students of all ages and educate them in health science topics. Physical education teachers are compassionate educators who incorporate movement and physical activity into every instructional activity and assessment they develop.
What do physical education teachers do?
Physical education teachers teach, assess and evaluate students in the areas of physical health and development, health science, exercise and sport, and nutrition. A physical education teacher uses instructional strategies to plan, develop and deliver lessons in the classroom and in the outdoor spaces of his school. Depending on the grades and age levels of the students they work with, physical education teachers have a variety of tasks they deal with on a daily basis, including:
Planning educational activities and lessons that incorporate movement and exercise learning strategies according to state and national curriculum standards
Developing assessments that assess students’ understanding of PE topics such as health and development, nutrition and sport
Monitoring student progress and development in areas of physical education such as motor skills, exercise, structured movement and other kinesthetic applications
Communicating with staff and community about educational goals related to positive health outcomes and physical development of students
Engaging students in physical activities that support learning and achievement in sports, exercise programs, and other areas of physical education
Keeping parents up-to-date on educational activities and school events, student progress and student achievement
Helping students set and achieve physical education and health goals and guiding students to develop kinesthetic and motor skills
Assessment and support of students with difficulties or problems in the area of movement, motor skills and spatial awareness
How to become a physical education teacher
Physical education teachers must receive the same education and training as general education teachers, but must also receive specialized training in lifelong development, health science, and kinesthetic applications. The following steps describe what you need to do to become a PE teacher:
Get your bachelor’s degree
All prospective educators must complete a bachelor’s degree to enter their career. Many physical education teachers earn a bachelor’s degree in education (BSEd) and specialize in fields such as health sciences, physical education, or kinesiology. Your training program may cover topics such as sports pedagogy theory, physical education theory, team and individual sports and basic teaching methods.
Do an internship
Many bachelor’s programs in physical education require you to complete an internship (educational practicum) as part of your course work. Internships can last one semester, or you can participate in an internship for your entire educational program. The length of your internship depends on the university you study at.
Take and pass certification exams
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, physical education teachers must take and pass various certification exams to earn their teacher’s certificate. Physical education teachers can take exams in their fields, general theory and practice, and other exams required by the states in which they work. Additionally, your state may require you to hold specific certifications in the levels you teach.
Apply for a state educator license
To teach physical education, you must apply for and receive a teaching license through your state. Most states only need your test scores and an application. However, it is best to check the exact criteria for your state, especially if you plan to teach in a state other than where you earned your degree.
Get certified in physical education
The certification exams you take to become a physical education teacher demonstrate your eligibility to obtain a state certificate and endorsement in physical education. Since you are majoring in physical education, you must obtain this certification in addition to your teaching license. In addition, you must renew your teaching license and PE endorsement every few years. Teachers typically renew their certificates every three to five years and complete continuing education to become recertified, but the exact requirements for recertification can vary from state to state.
Frequently asked questions about becoming a PE teacher
The frequently asked questions below can give you more information about becoming a PE teacher:
What are the job prospects for physical education teachers?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for all teachers is expected to be 4% between 2019 and 2029. While this job growth is projected for all educators, different teaching specialties may experience different rates of growth in the future. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that special education teachers can expect less employment growth, with an overall rate of 3% over the same decade.
What is the working environment of physical education teachers?
Physical education teachers work between the classroom and the outdoors. Physical education teachers commonly focus on the health sciences, nutrition, and academic aspects of physical activity and movement in the classroom. In an outdoor setting, teachers can teach students about team sports, assess health and fitness, introduce exercise, and help students connect nutrition and exercise. Physical education teachers must also regularly attend faculty and school board meetings where they collaborate with other educators to develop innovative approaches to teaching.
What is the average salary of a physical education teacher?
According to salary data from Indeed, the average salary for a physical education teacher in the United States is $46,969 per year. However, this average income may vary depending on various factors. One factor that can affect your earning potential is the number of years you have worked in education. First-year teachers and educators who are just entering their careers often earn less than veteran teachers.
In addition, your education level can also affect your income level. Educators with graduate degrees often earn more than teachers with only an undergraduate degree. Two other factors that affect the income level of physical education teachers are the state you teach in and the grade level you teach. Some states pay more than others, and many high school PE teachers can earn more.
What other certifications are available for physical education teachers?
Physical education teachers can complete additional training and qualifications in physical education. Some physical education teachers complete graduate studies in physical education, kinesiology, health science, or nutrition. Similarly, you can earn a PE certification for students with special needs, which is separate from your PE certificate.