Physical Education Teacher: Educational Requirements to Teach Physical Education (P.E.)
Physical education teachers instruct students in fitness and inspire them to live healthy lifestyles. These teachers may work with students at the preschool through high school levels in private and public schools, helping develop physical ability, health awareness and social skills. P.E. teachers may also coach sports teams or teach wellness classes.
Physical Education Teacher Educational Requirements
Like all teachers in the U.S., each physical education teacher is required to hold a bachelor's degree in their field of instruction from a teacher education program. Some colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Science in Physical Education Teacher Education programs that prepare students to teach at the K-12 grade levels. Courses may include kinesiology, exercise physiology, teaching theory, sports, psychology for teachers, motor skills, evaluation methods, and health instruction. These programs also incorporate student-teaching internships.
While private school teachers are not required to hold licensure, all public school teachers must be licensed by the state in which they are employed. Different types of licensure may be granted depending on grade level or specialty of instruction. Licensing eligibility varies by state; however, most boards of education require the completion of an approved 4-year teacher education program with a minimum grade point average. Licensure candidates may then take a licensing exam that assesses fundamental skills in teaching. Teachers generally must renew licensure every 3-5 years by earning continuing education credits.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of K-12 teachers in general is expected to increase 13% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Employment rates depend on student enrollment numbers, which vary by location. For example, teachers in the South and West regions of the U.S. are expected to benefit from the highest increases in enrollment. On the other hand, P.E. teachers may not be in high demand, since there is already an ample supply qualified teachers in this specialty.
In May 2011, PayScale.com reported that the 10th-90th percentile range of P.E. teachers earned $26,487-$61,586 per year. In 2008, most teachers belonged to unions, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, which negotiate wages and benefits for teachers, according to the BLS. Physical education teachers who coach sports teams or other after school activities may earn extra income. In general, private school teachers earn less than public school teachers but tend to receive more benefits.
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