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How to Become a Gym (PE) Teacher in Illinois

Read about the steps needed to become a physical education teacher in Illinois. Learn more about the education requirements, as well as the necessary exams and experience.

Illinois Physical Education Teacher Career Information

Physical education (gym or PE) teachers promote health and exercise among students by introducing and developing sports and fitness skills. Gym teachers in Illinois can receive the Special K-12 Professional Educator License with a physical education endorsement. Read below to learn more about the specific requirements for the license.

Education Required Bachelor's degree from an accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program; approved coursework in four content areas
Experience Required Student teaching or equivalent
Exam Requirements Basic skills exam; ILTS Physical Education content exam; edTPA
License Renewal Period Five years
Requirements for Renewal 120 hours of professional development
Average Salary (2018) $55,660 (kindergarten teachers); $62,140 (elementary school teachers) $63,860 (middle school teachers); $72,370 (high school teachers)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 3.9% (kindergarten teachers); 3.7% (elementary school teachers); 3.8% (middle and high school teachers)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Illinois Department of Employment Security

Fulfill Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university or college is required to become a PE teacher in Illinois. Students generally obtain this degree with a major in physical education or kinesiology. The major program can include coursework in subjects such as exercise physiology, team sports, fitness education, and motor skill behavior.

Students must also complete a state-approved teacher preparation program, which is generally completed alongside the degree program. This program covers general professional education topics, including methods of teaching and teaching literacy. Coursework must also cover four content areas, as specified by the Illinois State Board of Education: ESL/bilingual methods, cross-categorical special education methods, reading methods, and reading in the content area.

Meet Experience Requirements

Prospective PE teachers are expected to have student teaching experience before applying for the license. Applicants generally meet this requirement with the fieldwork component through their teacher preparation program. This experience gives prospective teachers a chance to increase their skills through student teaching at a local school. They may also observe experienced teachers, participate in seminars, and receive critique of their work.

Take All Required Exams

All teachers in Illinois must take and pass a basic skills test before applying for a license. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking either the SAT (with a score of 1110 and 26 on writing and language) or the ACT (with a score of 22 and 6 on the writing portion).

The ILTS Physical Education content exam is also required for prospective PE teachers. This exam includes 125 multiple-choice questions and requires a minimum score of 240 to pass. The PE exam contains questions that cover several subtopics, including movement and skill acquisition, health-related physical fitness, and the role of physical education in schools.

Prospective teachers must also take the edTPA teaching assessment exam in K-12 Physical Education once they complete their student teaching requirement. The minimum passing score for this test is 39.

Complete Renewal Requirements

A standard Professional Educator License in Illinois is valid for five years. Teachers are required to complete a minimum of 120 hours of professional development in order to renew their license for another five years. The hours must be completed through a provider that has been approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Teachers should check with the Board of Education website for the most current list of approved providers.