Do I Need Certification to Be a Gym Teacher?

As a gym teacher, you would be a certified teacher trained in physical education. As with all teachers, you must hold a bachelor's degree and be licensed to teach. Certified gym teachers are trained to teach all grade levels and may be eligible to teach subjects beyond physical education, as well. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Gym teachers conduct physical education classes for children in grades K-12. As a gym teacher, you would coordinate and develop physical exercise and activity plans. Depending on the grade, you might also evaluate the development of younger children to ensure proper growth. It's common for gym teachers to conduct health classes within middle schools and high schools. Many gym teachers coach extracurricular activities or sports teams. All states require gym teachers to be licensed. Some gym teachers may be licensed to teach in other subject areas, such as math or science, as well.

Important Facts About Physical Educators

Median Salary (2015) $56,310 for secondary school teachers
Entry-level Education Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 12% (for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teachers)
6% (for high school teachers)
Work Environment Public and private schools; athletic programs

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Gym teachers complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree such as a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with Teacher Education (PETE). This degree program generally covers grades K-12. Within the program, you're introduced to assessment methods for motor skills and physical fitness, as well as curriculum development for all grade levels. Additional coursework explores anatomy, health, and kinesiology. You are also required to complete a student teaching assignment within a public school. Some programs may offer a minor in coaching.

Exams

Becoming a gym teacher requires taking subject comprehension and content knowledge exams. The two-part Praxis Series is the most commonly used exam; however, the Praxis Series in not recognized by all states. The first part is taken prior to entry into an education major. This portion tests on your understanding of math, science, and reading. Prior to graduation, you'll typically complete the Physical Education: Content Knowledge test, which tests knowledge of health, safety, assessment measures, and fitness fundamentals.

Licensure

Now that you have your teaching certificate, you can apply for a state teaching license. All individuals wanting to teach in public schools must hold a license. Private schools vary on licensure requirements. In addition to apply to the State Board of Education or licensure committee, you are required to submit to a background check and fingerprinting.

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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  • Purdue University Global

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