PE Teacher: Career Profile

A physical education (PE) teacher needs a bachelor's degree in physical education and a state-issued teaching license. Besides instructing students in physical education, these professionals often have other responsibilities, like coaching a sport.

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PE Teacher Career Information

PE teachers instruct students in the benefits of physical activities through games, organized sports and other activities that improve a child's physical development. PE teachers at the secondary level also teach students about nutrition and wellness to help them develop healthy life skills, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (www.aahperd.org/naspe). Some PE teachers may receive additional training to work with special needs students.

PE teachers have job duties similar to other teachers, including evaluating a student's understanding of the subject and enforcing school policies. PE teachers must be able to identify students who have health or physical disabilities that may prevent them from performing an activity.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring PE teachers typically earn a degree in physical education or a related major. The curricula of these programs include physical and general education topics. General education coursework may cover topics in educational psychology and learning theory. Physical education courses may include exercise philosophy, kinesiology and physical education administration.

Prospective PE teachers must complete a student teaching requirement in order to graduate. During this experience, they teach physical education classes at varying grade levels while being supervised by a licensed teacher. Student PE teachers are evaluated throughout the assignment.

Licensing Information

According to the BLS, every state requires public school teachers to be licensed. While requirements vary by state, many require graduating from an approved program and passing a qualifying exam. Individuals interested in coaching may be required to earn a coaching certificate in some states. Beginning teachers may start with a temporary or probationary license prior to earning a full teacher's license.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers are expected to increase 12% from 2012-2022, while job growth for high school teachers during that time is predicted to be 6% (www.bls.gov). Job opportunities vary by location and may be impacted by a state's budget. Student enrollment also influences the amount of job prospects available and varies by region.

In July 2014, PayScale.com reported that most PE teachers earned between $26,164 and $62,611 annually. Some PE teachers also work as coaches, which may provide extra income. PayScale.com indicated that PE teacher earnings might depend on factors such as experience and location.

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