Physical Education Certification & Diploma Programs

Individuals who want to prepare for education careers teaching physical education might earn a 4-year bachelor's degree or a post-baccalaureate certificate. Following completion of either program, graduates must obtain a state-issued teaching license before they can begin working at public schools.

Essential Information

An undergraduate program such as the Bachelor of Science in Physical Education could prepare individuals to earn K-12 teacher licensing. Similarly, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Physical Education program allows individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in an area outside education to pursue a teacher's license. Both programs help students build sports, exercise and curriculum design skills, as well as teaching methods through a student-teaching experience.

  • Program Levels in Physical Education: Bachelor's degree; Post-baccalaureate certificate
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degrees require a high school diploma or GED; Post- baccalaureate certificate programs expect a bachelor's degree
  • Program Length: Bachelor's degrees take four years to complete

Bachelor's Degrees in Physical Education

Prospective physical education (P.E.) teachers may earn a Bachelor of Science in Education or a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education to prepare for their teacher license. Students learn how to use exercise, games and sports to build a solid, age-appropriate program for each grade level. Additionally, students gain experience within a classroom, where they teach and assist under a licensed P.E. teacher. Typical course topics include:

  • Sport skills
  • Resistance training
  • First aid and safety
  • P.E. teaching methods
  • Curriculum design
  • Kinesiology

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Physical Education

This program allows students to qualify for any special state requirements for licensing, and usually covers teaching methods, general education and physical education topics. Those enrolled in the program also learn how to integrate teamwork and problem-solving techniques into their curriculum so grade school students can develop those skills. Other topics included in the program are:

  • Methods of teaching games
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Adapted physical education
  • Motor development
  • P.E. evaluation methods

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that national employment opportunities for all kinds of kindergarten and elementary school teachers as well as middle school teachers are expected to increase 12% from 2012 to 2022.( On the other hand, the BLS reported that high school teachers can expect slower-than-average job growth of 6% during the same decade. As of July 2015, reported that most P.E. teachers earned between $29,141 and $66,019 per year.

Continuing Education Information

The BLS indicates that all states require public school teachers to be licensed. In most states, a bachelor's degree in education is required, but there are alternative licensing options for those who earn a bachelor's degree in another subject. Teachers may also choose to advance their education by earning a master's degree in education. The BLS cites some states require teachers to earn a master's degree in order to maintain their license.

Teachers may seek professional certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The NBPTS offers two physical education certifications, early adolescence through young adulthood and early and middle childhood. The NBPTS indicates that their certifications may help with career advancement and meeting continuing education standards (

In order to apply for certification, applicants must meet education and experience requirements. Besides holding a bachelor's degree, the NBPTS states they must have at least three years of experience and be licensed. There are some exceptions to licensure.

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