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Adaptive Physical Education Specialist: Salary & Job Description

Find out what is entailed in working as an adaptive physical education specialist. Learn all about the roles, responsibilities, education and skill requirements and salary details for this position.

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Career Definition of an Adaptive Physical Education Specialist

Adaptive physical education specialists are educators working in an academic environment who adjust physical education instruction to accommodate physical injuries, orthopedic challenges, mental disabilities or other impairments that could limit physical ability. They make modifications that consider students' ages and capabilities and are designed to enhance motor skills, the ability to participate in athletics and overall fitness.

Generally categorized as a special education teacher, an adaptive physical education specialist may be required to develop individualized education plans (IEPs), ensure physical education programs meet educational or governmental guidelines, update other educators on the best ways to physically accommodate students in the classroom and stay on top of the latest methods in adaptive physical education. Duties also include student assessment and placement, record maintenance, student feedback and motivation, physical evaluation, progress reporting and class equipment ordering and maintenance.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree and state-issued license or certification usually required
Job Skills Strong instructional, communication, decision-making, problem-solving, organizational and time management skills
Median Salary (2017)* $58,980 (for all special education teachers)
Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)* 8% (for all special education teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

According to O*NET Online, nearly half of adaptive physical education specialists possess a bachelor's degree, followed by more than a quarter holding a master's degree and less than a quarter possessing a post-baccalaureate certificate.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that all special education teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree along with a license or certification issued in the state in which they desire to teach. To acquire certification, prospective teachers might need to meet requirements that include presenting a satisfactory academic report, finishing a teacher program, successfully completing a background screening and earning a passing score on an educator licensure or certification exam.

Required Skills

Adaptive physical education specialists must be skilled at teaching students with unique challenges and should have the ability to speak clearly, listen actively and develop lesson plans that accommodate students' needs. Specialists should have strong decision-making skills when choosing the best strategies to help students excel in the classroom.

Additional skills that can benefit adaptive physical education specialists include those focused on communication, time management and organization. These skills are especially important for updating parents, teachers and administrators on student progress, keeping each class period on track, ordering equipment in a timely fashion and properly maintaining student records.

Career Outlook and Salary

Employment opportunities for all special education teachers were expected to grow by 8% from 2016 to 2026, which was about as fast as average when compared to all occupations, according to the BLS. This projected growth was attributed to an increased need for special education services in schools.

The BLS states that special education teachers earned a median annual wage of $58,980 in May 2017. According to Payscale.com the median annual salary for physical education teachers in March 2019 was $42,838.

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