Physical Education Teacher Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a physical education teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure required to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Physical education teachers instruct students in fitness, and they may also coach sports teams or teach wellness classes. These teachers may work with students at the preschool through high school levels in private and public schools, helping them develop physical ability, health awareness and social skills. A bachelor's degree, state teaching license and internship are typically required for physical education teachers.

Required Education Bachelor's
Other Requirements License for public school positions; internship often required
Projected Job Growth (2012 - 2022)* 12% for all kindergarten, elementary school and middle school teachers; 6% for all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education
Median Salary (2014)** $39,992 annually for all types of physical education teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

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.

Teacher Licensure

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.

Employment Projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of all kindergarten, elementary school and middle school teachers is expected to increase 12% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS further predicts that all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education will see a 6% increase in job opportunities during the same time period. Employment rates depend on student enrollment numbers, which vary by location. In general, the BLS notes that prospects are likely to be better in rural and urban schools than in suburban ones.

Salary Information

In September 2014, PayScale.com reported that the majority of P.E. teachers earned $26,459-$63,039 per year, including bonuses. As of 2012, many 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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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
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  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
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    • Education
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        • Agricultural Education for Teachers
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        • Mathematics Teacher Education
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        • Science Teacher Education
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    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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      • Counseling and Guidance
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      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
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        • Art Teacher Education
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  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Agricultural Education for Teachers
        • Art Teacher Education
        • Business Teacher Education
        • English Teacher Education
        • Foreign Language Education for Teachers
        • Health Teacher Education
        • Home Economics Teacher Education
        • Industrial Arts Teacher Education
        • Mathematics Teacher Education
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Sales and Marketing Teacher Education
        • Science Teacher Education
        • Social Science Teacher Education
        • Teaching, Reading
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  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Art Teacher Education
        • Health Teacher Education
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Teaching, Reading
        • Vocational Teacher Education
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Library Science and Related Professions
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Art Teacher Education
        • Chemistry Teacher Education
        • English Teacher Education
        • Home Economics Teacher Education
        • Mathematics Teacher Education
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Physics Teacher Education
        • Science Teacher Education
        • Social Studies Teacher Education
        • Teaching, Reading
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Library Science and Related Professions
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Mississippi State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Agricultural Education for Teachers
        • Business Teacher Education
        • Industrial Arts Teacher Education
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Technical Teacher Education
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Art Teacher Education
        • Business Teacher Education
        • English Teacher Education
        • Foreign Language Education for Teachers
        • Health Teacher Education
        • Mathematics Teacher Education
        • Music Teacher Education
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Science Teacher Education
        • Social Studies Teacher Education
        • Technical Teacher Education
        • Vocational Teacher Education
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
        • Physical Education and Coaching
        • Teaching, Computers

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