Becoming a Physical Education (PE) Teacher in Iowa

Physical education teachers are paramount to student development, teaching them about the importance of physical activity, health, nutrition, and weight management. Learn how to become a P.E. teacher in Iowa! Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview for Iowa P.E. Teachers

Physical education (P.E.) teachers are recognized as providing an essential part of children's education. Not only are instructors expected to encourage physical activity and motor skills development, but educators must be well-versed in health, nutrition, weight management, and fundamental biology. Those interested in becoming P.E. teachers in Iowa must complete the requirements set forth by the Iowa State Board of Education.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited college or university
Exams Required Praxis I & II; Iowa State Teacher Assessment
License Validity Period Initial license valid for two years and eligible for two renewals; standard license valid for five years (renewable indefinitely every five years)
Certification Renewal Process Initial licenses may be renewed up to two times until they must be converted to standard certification; standard licenses may be renewed every five years with qualifying renewal credits and mandatory reporter training for child and dependent adult abuse
CEU Credits Required for Renewal N/A
Average Salary in Iowa (2018) $54,500 (elementary school); $55,300 (middle school); $56,510 (high school)*
Estimated National Job Growth (2016 – 2026) 7% (kindergarten and elementary school); 8% (middle and high school)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Special Skills & Characteristics

Unlike traditional instructors, P.E. teachers are required to endure long periods of standing and physical activity throughout the course of the school day. In addition to being physically fit, P.E. instructors do best when they possess the following characteristics:

  • Ability to manage large classroom sizes — especially in distracting environments
  • Participation in sports and other physical activities beyond the classroom setting
  • Ability to engage students with varying levels of interest in physical education

P.E. instructors must also have a commanding presence and be able to handle difficult personality types. However, physical education teachers should always be cognizant of their effect on students' self-esteem and be able to mediate conflicts accordingly.

Educational Requirements

Iowa mandates that all teachers receive at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. P.E. teachers in particular must receive a degree in physical education, kinesiology, physiology, or health and nutrition due to the unique nature of their careers. Teachers must also complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and have a human relations component to their overall studies. All instructors must also complete the requirements for their teaching endorsement, including practice in classroom management, instructional planning, and curriculum organization.

Exam & Training Requirements

All Iowa teachers must pass the Iowa State Teacher Assessment in order to qualify for their standard teaching license. Additionally, they must earn a Praxis I (PPST) score of at least 522, with a minimum score of 170 in each subtest category. For those seeking to convert their initial license to a standard certification, they must also complete mandatory reporter training on child and dependent adult abuse.

Certification Requirements

Initial certifications are issued to instructors who possess the following:

  • Bachelor's degree in physical education from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Completion of approved human relations coursework
  • Satisfaction of all teacher endorsement requirements

In order to be considered for the standard teaching certification, candidates must pass the aforementioned exams and be able to verify at least two years of teaching experience. Initial certifications may only be renewed two times, during which time teachers are expected to complete the requirements for conversion to a standard license.

Certification Renewal

After a teacher submits his/her second request for initial certification renewal, he/she has two years to complete the requirements for conversion to a standard license. Standard licenses remain valid for five years, and teachers may submit for renewal indefinitely at five-year intervals. Each time a teacher renews his/her standard teaching certificate, he/she must provide evidence of at least six qualifying renewal credits (not the same as CEUs and mandated by the Iowa State Board of Education). The teacher must also complete the mandatory reporter training for child and dependent adult abuse each time he/she submits for renewal. Applications may be submitted either online or through the mail.

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