Becoming a Physical Education (PE) Teacher North Carolina

Physical education (PE) teachers instruct students in movement and healthy exercise habits. Read on to learn how to become a licensed physical education teacher in North Carolina. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Teaching Physical Education in North Carolina: Job Description, Certification, and Advancement

Physical education (PE) teachers in North Carolina are licensed to teach grades K-12. They may work in public or private schools. This article provides a job description, the education and testing requirements for earning a Physical Education (K-12) license in North Carolina, and information on advancing to the next level of certification.

Education/Experience Required State-approved teacher education program at a regionally accredited college or university
Exams Required Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators assessments in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics;
Praxis PPAT Assessment or another state-approved performance assessment;
Praxis Physical Education: Content Knowledge
License Validity Period Professional Educator License, valid 3 years, non-renewable
Advancement Requirements Professional Educator's Continuing License: 3 years' teaching and renewal credits
Mean Salary for teachers in North Carolina (2018)* $46,490 (Kindergarten), $46,500 (Elementary School), $47,050 (Middle School), $47,580 (High School)*
Job Growth for teachers (2016-2026, nationwide)* 7% (Kindergarten and Elementary School), 8% (Middle School), 8% (High School)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Physical education teachers educate students in different kinds of movement for the completion of a variety of tasks, encourage a lifetime of physical activity, and teach and encourage positive social interaction through physical activity. They educate students through demonstration and through games, using a variety of athletic equipment. Physical education teachers in North Carolina public schools will follow North Carolina's Healthful Living Standards, which coordinates health and physical education classes in order to teach and encourage students to develop healthy lifestyle habits.


Prospective North Carolina physical education teachers must complete a bachelor's degree, preferably in physical education or a related field, and an educator preparation program. This article will focus upon candidates who have completed their educator preparation program in North Carolina. Students applying to an educator preparation program must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators assessments in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, unless exempted from one or all by their SAT or ACT scores in the corresponding areas. Students will complete field work (minimum of 12 hours) and clinical practice (minimum of a 6-week internship or 1-year residency) as part of their educator preparation program. Students will then be assessed on what they have learned during their field work and clinical practice experiences through either the Praxis PPAT Assessment or another state-approved performance assessment.


New graduates will apply for the Professional Educator's License. Candidates for North Carolina physical education licensure must next take the Praxis Physical Education: Content Knowledge assessment. Candidates will be tested the knowledge of movement, kinesiology, fitness, exercise physiology, health, and safety that is required for educating K-12 students. They will also be tested on instructional strategies, course design, and assessing student progress. After passing this assessment, candidates will apply for their license through NCDPI Online Licensure.


Educators can advance to the Professional Educator's Continuing License after 3 or more years of teaching; this license must be renewed every 5 years. In order to advance to this license and renew this license, educators must earn eight renewal credits through courses, classes, or workshops. Renewal credits can be earned at colleges, universities, local in-service courses or workshops, or through classes and workshops approved by the Local Education Agency (LEA). Physical education teachers who work with grades K-5 will need 3 subject area credits, 3 literacy credits, and 2 digital learning competencies. Those who work with grades 6-12 will need 3 subject area credits, 2 digital learning competencies, and 3 general credits.

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