Physical Education Teacher

Becoming a physical education teacher allows you to become familiar with and teach many different types of exercises, sports, and outdoor activities. Read on to learn about the education programs, career prospects, and salary expectations of a PE teacher.

Is Physical Education Teaching for Me?

Career Overview

As a physical education (PE) teacher, you'd instruct and monitor students during exercise and health lessons. PE teachers, like other types of teachers, develop lesson plans, structure classes, and conduct testing. To work in this field, you'll need to be physically able to demonstrate activities and have knowledge of the fundamentals of the different types of sports included in the physical education curriculum of your school.

Duties and Responsibilities

You might be responsible for organizing activities and familiarizing students with various types of athletic and physical fitness equipment. You could become involved in various extracurricular activities, such as coaching football or another sports program. As a physical education teacher, you'll need to have strong leadership, organizational, and communication abilities. If you would like to help physically-challenged children maintain good physical health, you could also consider working as an adapted physical education teacher. In this role, you'd need to modify activities and curricula to meet the needs of individual students. In addition to instructing students in physical education, some PE teachers instruct in other subjects as well, depending on the needs of the school and the qualifications of the individual.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

If you're considering becoming a physical education teacher, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, predicted a six percent growth in employment for all high school teachers, while kindergarten and elementary school teachers should see job opportunities increase by about 12% between 2012 and 2022. The opportunities for jobs were expected to vary based on the subject taught. However, inner-city and rural schools usually have the highest demand for educators and might offer better employment prospects. In February 2014, reported that the majority of physical education teachers earned a salary range of $25,273 - $61,281.

How Can I Work as a Physical Education Teacher?

Undergraduate Education

In order to become a physical education teacher, you'll need a bachelor's degree. Education programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology or bachelor's degree in physical education, can prepare you to work with students in grades K-12. Pursuing a minor in another subject, such as English, sociology, or human anatomy, might make you more versatile and help increase your job opportunities when you begin your job search. To gain the classroom experience necessary, you can enroll in a supplemental teacher education program in conjunction or addition to your major.

Graduate Degree Options

If you decide to pursue a graduate degree, several schools offer relevant programs, like a master's degree program in kinesiology or a master's degree program in physical education. Though graduate education might not be required for a physical education teacher position, it could give you an advantage over your competition.

Licensing and Certification

To become a public school teacher, all states require teacher licensure or certification, even for physical education teachers. You'll need to consult with your state's education board for specific requirements, which generally include a earning a bachelor's degree in a related subject, completing a teacher training program, and successfully passing the state licensure examination. You could also consider professional teacher certification through organizations like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; certification might lead to a higher salary and more opportunities for advancement.

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