Sports Teacher: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a sports teacher. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Sports teachers, also known as physical education (PE) teachers, teach students how to live healthy lifestyles by encouraging them to take part in daily exercise and activity through various sports. These teachers generally earn a bachelor's degree in education and a teaching license to become qualified to lead a class.

Required Education Bachelor of Education (with a focus in physical education)
Other Requirements Teaching License
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 12% (for all kindergarten and elementary school teachers); 12% (for all middle school teachers); 6% (for all high school teachers)
Median Salary (2014)* $54,120 (for all elementary school teachers); $54,940 (for all middle school teachers); $56,310 (for all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The duties of a sports or PE teacher include teaching students how to play sports, administering national physical education tests, monitoring students' progress, meeting the physical needs of students with learning and physical disabilities, grading student performance and communicating with teachers and parents.

Teachers need to be strong communicators and be comfortable leading classrooms of various sizes. Although most of the time PE teachers are instructing outside of the classroom, they will often teach in a classroom setting as well. Sports teachers may also be athletic coaches for different sports. They frequently work long hours and are required to stay after school to supervise athletic activities.


Aspiring sports teachers typically will need to earn a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in order to land a job. The grade level that the prospective sports teacher wants to teach will determine the education specialty within the degree program. Schools offer teaching degree programs in early childhood education, middle school education and high school education, as well as special education for various age groups.

Although there are diverse education degrees that aspiring educators can earn, courses are similar in many programs. Earning a B.Ed. will generally take students four years. Prospective PE teachers can take electives that focus on teaching PE and might include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • PE methods
  • Nutrition and health
  • First aid
  • Coaching theory
  • Classroom management

Licensing Requirements

Most states require educators to be licensed in order to teach in a classroom. Licensing requirements vary by state, but generally include graduating from an accredited education program, completing required internships and passing certification examinations.

Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment opportunities for all teachers at the elementary and middle school levels, including physical education and sports teachers, will increase 12% from 2012 to 2022. High school teachers are only expected to see a 6% increase over the same period, which is slow compared to the national average for all job sectors. The salaries for these teachers vary little. The BLS reported that elementary school teachers made a median annual salary of $54,120, middle school teachers made a median of $54,940 and high school teachers made a median of $56,310 as of May 2014.

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