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.

What Is a Physical Education Teacher?

Physical education teachers instruct students. They prepare activities and lessons related to physical health and teach students how to play different sports. As part of their duties they will provide instruction, develop tests and activities to assess student progress, and grade students. They may meet with parents to discuss their child's performance in the class. Physical education teachers may also be involved in coaching sports teams or extra-curricular activities. They may work for the public school system or in private schools.

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 (2014-2024) 6% (for kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers)*
Average Salary (2015) $47,410 (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 2014-2024 for teachers at the kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school levels. Professional associations may provide resources for locating open teacher positions, such as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Postsecondary recreation and fitness instructors perform some tasks that are similar to the work that physical education teachers do. They prepare lesson plans and assign work to students and evaluate their work. Their area of instruction focuses on recreation, leisure and fitness studies. They typically have a bachelor's or master's degree. High school, middle school and elementary school teachers perform some of the same tasks as physical education teachers. They lead classes, assess student performance and meet with parents as needed. Elementary teachers may teach a number of subjects at one grade level while middle and high school teachers will teach one or two subjects, and may teach more than one grade level. Like physical education teachers, they need a bachelor's degree and teaching license.

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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