Requirements to Become a High School Physical Education Teacher

Sep 24, 2019

High school physical education teachers must have some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

In order to become a high school physical education teacher, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree, although many states and schools are now requiring a master's degree. You'll also need state licensure and teaching experience to qualify for the position.

Essential Information

High school physical education (P.E.) teachers conduct health and physical activity classes. Some physical education teachers also coach high school team sports. High school P.E. teachers are licensed professionals who have obtained at least a bachelor's degree in education. A master's degree is also required by some states or schools.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's required by some states or schools
Other Requirements License needed for public school positions; student-teaching experience required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education
Median Salary (2018)* $60,320 annually for all secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education

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

High School Teacher Career Information

High school physical education teachers hold gym classes throughout a school day. These classes can involve a number of exercise and sports activities, such as volleyball, soccer, rope climbing or weight training. Many times, physical education teachers are called on to teach health education classes to students. Some P.E. teachers at the high school level also coach a school sports team, such as football or baseball. Additionally, high school physical education teachers might be responsible for performing other duties, such as monitoring the halls or lunchrooms.

High School Physical Education Teacher Education Requirements

High school P.E. teachers typically must hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a major in physical education. These degree programs cover general education and major-specific coursework, as well as teaching methods. Physical education majors generally take classes in health and nutrition, swimming, weight training, kinesiology and motor development. Secondary teacher education programs also require completion of a student teaching assignment.

In some states or specific school systems, high school physical education teachers might be required to pursue a master's degree in secondary education to maintain licensure or qualify for tenure. Topics of study on the graduate level often include P.E. curriculum development, statistics in physical education and wellness science, along with courses in educational research, classroom management and current issues in learning.

Licensure Information

All public school teachers must be licensed, and requirements vary by state. Most require completion of a state board of education-approved training program, in addition to passage of the Praxis I exam, which tests basic skills in math, reading and writing. Aspiring P.E. teachers might also have to take a Praxis II exam, which measures their proficiency in physical education. Additionally, most states require proof of student teaching experience.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

According to the BLS, secondary school teachers, except special and career or technical education made a median yearly salary of $60,320 in May 2018. The BLS also predicted a 4% increase in job opportunities between 2018 and 2028 for these teachers. This was slower than average due in part to governmental budget constraints.

If you've earned your bachelor's degree (or master's degree if your state or prospective school requires it), earned state licensure and have student teaching experience, you're all set to become a physical education teacher. Just don't forget your love for physical activity, promoting healthy living and teaching.

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