How to Become a PE Teacher in Tennessee

With so many different team and individual sports, you'll find plenty of programs that prepare you as a teacher of physical education. To learn more about licensure in Tennessee, read on.

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According to the Tennessee government, 28% of the state's schools still use fryers to cook in the cafeteria kitchens, as of 2017. With such a large percentage cooking unhealthy food, physical education is very important to knock down the obesity rate of students. If you'd like to help keep Tennessee students healthy, read on to find out how to become a licensed PE teacher.

Requirements for PE Teachers in Tennessee

Average Salary for Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $50,320 (Elementary School), $50,060 (Middle School), $51,390 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Physical Education or Kinesiology
Testing Requirements Core Academic Skills for Educators exams (math, reading, and writing), Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam, and Praxis Physical Education: Content and Design (5095)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education

Tennessee teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree. A master's degree is not required, so be sure that your educator preparation program (EPP) is included in your bachelor's program. This EPP will include education courses to help you manage a classroom of students along with teaching theories. You may also learn about child growth and development and assessing students with disabilities. It will also include a 15-week student teaching practicum that puts you into at least two different classroom settings. Consider a degree program in physical education with a teaching focus. A PE program will introduce you to topics in team building, motor skills, independent sports, coaching methods, and health and safety.

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Step 2: Complete Exam Requirements

You must first pass the basic knowledge exams offered through Praxis called the Core Academic Skills for Educators. In this series of three exams, you'll be tested on your basic knowledge of math, reading, and writing. Most often, this is learned in high school, so you should be fairly comfortable with the content by the time you finish your degree. Each test is graded individually, and you must score at least 150 on the math subtest, 162 on the writing subtest, and 156 on the reading subtest.

You may think that all PE teachers cover the same info. I bet you remember classes of dodgeball, volleyball, and maybe running around a track. While it may seem that there is a continuous cycle, Tennessee has strict PE standards for each level of PE that must be met. For instance, elementary school generally focuses more on motor skills. Because of this, there are different exam levels for the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam. You'll take the exam that fits best for the grade level you want to teach: K-6, 5-9, or 7-12. You must score over 160 for the first two exams, while the latter asks for a grade over 157.

Finally, the Physical Education: Content and Design exam will endorse you as a PE teacher for all grade levels. To pass, you must earn 169 or higher. In two hours you must complete 90 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-responses in five categories. Those categories are:

  • Content knowledge and student growth
  • Management, motivation, and communication
  • Planning, instruction, and assessment
  • Collaboration, reflection, and technology
  • Instructional design

Step 3: Get Fingerprinted

All teachers in Tennessee must pass a criminal background check run by the TBI. First, you'll need to register with, where you'll be able to pay the fees and set up an appointment with a fingerprinting station. On the day of your fingerprinting, be sure to show up on time and bring a form of identification and the confirmation paper from the website. Your fingerprints will be digitally scanned and submitted for a quicker response.

Tennessee PE Teacher Certification Resources

With so many exams in your future you may be crying out for help. We heard. Below are some great links to help you study and prepare for any Praxis exam you may end up taking.

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