Physical Education Teacher Certification in Virginia

Instilling healthy living and exercise skills is an essential responsibility of physical education teachers. Gym class is a time to burn excess energy and stimulate the mind and motor skills. This article looks at what it takes to become a physical education teacher in VA.

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Physical education is more than just recess. As a health and PE teacher, you prepare students for a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them through their entire lives. If you'd like to learn about the steps to becoming a PE teacher in Virginia, read on.

Requirements for Virginia Physical Education Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in Virginia (2017)* $39,180 (preschool), $67,760 (Kindergarten), $68,460 (Elementary School), $67,770 (Middle School), $69,890 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Health and Physical Education
Testing Requirements Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) subtests Reading (091) AND Writing (092), AND Praxis Health and Physical Education: Content Knowledge (5857)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Many Virginia colleges and universities offer physical education programs that prepare prospective teachers for certification. Often, these bachelor's degree programs are in health and physical education, which will prepare you to teach both physical education and health to students of all grade levels. Along with team-building essentials, you'll also take courses in child growth, coaching, team sports, exercise science, motor learning, and motivation in sports. You may also find first aid courses, nutrition, biomechanics, and anatomy classes. Of course, you'll need to be sure your degree program includes the essential pedagogy courses and a student teaching practicum as well. This will give you the opportunity to find your strengths and rectify any weaknesses in a real classroom.

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Step 2: Complete Required Exams

The Virginia Communications and Literacy Assessment, often called the VCLA, is a 2-part exam. Though it may not seem as important for PE teachers to understand the essentials of literacy, communication is a big part of working as a coach and leader. The two parts of this exam are reading and writing. Each part, or subtest, costs $40 to take and requires a score of over 235. You'll have four hours to complete both exams, which will include multiple-choice questions, short-answer responses, and essay questions.

The Praxis exam that PE teachers take covers licensing for all grades from Pre K-12. You'll have to answer 130 questions in the same number of minutes. This is a computer-based exam, and it covers five areas: health instruction, health education, content knowledge and student development, planning & assessment, and motivation and reflection. Virginia asks that you receive a passing score of 160 or higher on this content knowledge exam.

Step 3: Complete Other Required Training

As a health and physical education teacher, it will be more important than ever for you to have current and valid CPR, AED, and first aid certification. The nature of physical education sometimes brings about several injuries on the field or in class, so you'll need to know how to handle an emergency if it arises. Also, you'll be teaching theses same skills in some health classes, so you should understand the processes well.

Along with CPR certification, you'll need to complete two other online webinars. Both are free. The Department of Education offers dyslexia awareness training while the Department of Social Services offers child abuse and neglect recognition training.

Certification Resources for Virginia PE Teachers

Physical education teachers are responsible for all of the same education and testing that a classroom teacher is. Just because fun is involved does not mean these teachers can slide! Here, we'll check out some resources to help PE teachers study for their assessments.

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