Physical Education Teacher Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a physical education teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure required to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Physical education teachers instruct students in fitness, and they may also coach sports teams or teach wellness classes. These teachers may work with students at the preschool through high school levels in private and public schools, helping them develop physical ability, health awareness and social skills. A bachelor's degree, state teaching license and internship are typically required for physical education teachers.

Required Education Bachelor's
Other Requirements License for public school positions; internship often required
Projected Job Growth (2012 - 2022)* 12% for all kindergarten, elementary school and middle school teachers; 6% for all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education
Median Salary (2014)** $39,992 annually for all types of physical education teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Physical Education Teacher Educational Requirements

Like all teachers in the U.S., each physical education teacher is required to hold a bachelor's degree in their field of instruction from a teacher education program. Some colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Science in Physical Education Teacher Education programs that prepare students to teach at the K-12 grade levels. Courses may include kinesiology, exercise physiology, teaching theory, sports, psychology for teachers, motor skills, evaluation methods, and health instruction. These programs also incorporate student-teaching internships.

Teacher Licensure

While private school teachers are not required to hold licensure, all public school teachers must be licensed by the state in which they are employed. Different types of licensure may be granted depending on grade level or specialty of instruction. Licensing eligibility varies by state; however, most boards of education require the completion of an approved 4-year teacher education program with a minimum grade point average. Licensure candidates may then take a licensing exam that assesses fundamental skills in teaching. Teachers generally must renew licensure every 3-5 years by earning continuing education credits.

Employment Projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of all kindergarten, elementary school and middle school teachers is expected to increase 12% from 2012-2022 ( The BLS further predicts that all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education will see a 6% increase in job opportunities during the same time period. Employment rates depend on student enrollment numbers, which vary by location. In general, the BLS notes that prospects are likely to be better in rural and urban schools than in suburban ones.

Salary Information

In September 2014, reported that the majority of P.E. teachers earned $26,459-$63,039 per year, including bonuses. As of 2012, many teachers belonged to unions, such as the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, which negotiate wages and benefits for teachers, according to the BLS. Physical education teachers who coach sports teams or other after school activities may earn extra income. In general, private school teachers earn less than public school teachers but tend to receive more benefits.

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