How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for physical education teachers. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, key responsibilities, job growth, and average salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

A physical education teacher leads physical activity classes and teaches students the benefits of exercise and good health. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Physical education, health
Licensure All educators are required to be licensed in the state they teach in
Key Responsibilities Educate students on exercise, introduce students to new sports and activities, grade assignments
Job Growth (2012-2022) 6% (for all teachers and instructors, except substitute teachers)*
Average Salary (2014) $47,780 (for all teachers and instructors, except substitute teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Research Physical Education Teacher Careers and Educational Requirements

Physical education teachers, or PE teachers, instruct students at all grade levels about the benefits of exercise. They are responsible for the health component in many schools. A physical education teacher may introduce children to new sports and teach them the rules. They instruct on proper techniques for exercise and physical activity. A PE teacher may also instruct health education classes or coach sports teams. Entering this career field requires a bachelor's degree and to be licensed to teach by the state.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Physical education teachers are required to complete a teacher training program. Many PE teachers pursue degrees in physical education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education. Others may pursue a Bachelor of Education degree and take courses in kinesiology, health and wellness and exercise physiology. Training in health education methods and various field sports is also beneficial.

Step 3: Complete Your Student Teaching

Most states also require PE teachers to work as a student teacher to obtain a license. Education programs that are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education ( include a student teaching component. This provides hands-on experience in teaching and usually lasts one semester.

Step 4: Obtain Your Teaching License

All states require physical education teachers to be licensed to teach in public schools.

Students who complete an accredited teaching program are eligible for state licensing. Exact licensing requirements may vary by state. Most states require passing a competency exam, a bachelor's degree and completion of a teacher training program.

Step 5: Get a Job

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that there was an estimated 6% growth between 2012-2022 for all teachers, excluding substitutes. Professional associations may provide resources for locating open teacher positions, such as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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