As they help improve American education, physical education teachers are essential to learning. Physical education teachers are vital to students’ mental health, helping them make healthy decisions throughout their lives, and building character, from elementary school through adulthood.
A teaching job in physical education could be a great fit for someone who is passionate about helping children, teens, and young adults develop skills and gain confidence.
A quick overview: Teachers of physical education
Physical education teachers set the example by encouraging students to exercise and to reach personal goals.
Job description for a teacher of physical education
Physical education teachers engage students in physical activity throughout their school day. The main focus of physical education is on athletic activity. Classes, as well as teaching students about exercise, history, weight control, nutrition, and how they can be used to improve their interest in team and individual sports.
Teachers of physical education should have a solid understanding of classroom management and school procedures. They may also help students with nutrition and physiology.
Physical education teachers will be expected to include reading, writing and arithmetic in their classes, with a renewed emphasis on the improvement of core curriculum standards for English Language Arts and Math. These activities could include:
- Distributing reading material on Greco-Roman wrestling, and the first Olympic contests
- Reading about the history and development of baseball
- Calculating the dimensions of basketball courts
- Assignments that illustrate the meanings of many terms such as “traveling” or “off-sides” and the difference between 2-point foul shots and 1-point foul shots
Many physical education teachers are able to coach after-school teams within their locality. There are many coaching opportunities available depending on the institution and the level.
- As well as other P.E.-related assessments, plan and grade lessons
- Communicate with your guardians and parents
- Keep up-to-date with the latest state and local requirements for fitness and physical education curriculum.
- Prepare students for grade advancement via assessments
- Create curriculum expectation tables based upon state and local standards, and best practices in physical education from professional organizations such as SHAPE America
- When necessary, work with students individually to assess fitness and progress, improve performance levels and achieve overall success in physical education
- Present lectures, lead group discussions and prepare for them.
- Collaborate with colleagues and department heads in order to coordinate curriculum goals
- Grade students on participation and best effort.
This is for post-secondary teachers of physical education:
- Do research in order to improve knowledge in the field.
- Author books, articles, and publish your research in academic journals.
- Supervise and guide graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees
Who is a good teacher of physical education?
Physical education teachers must be able to motivate teenagers to engage in physical activities. They should also share their enthusiasm for exercise and establish procedures that encourage student cooperation.
An excellent teacher of physical education is one who is:
- Be patient and be authoritative
- Be compassionate and structured
- Natural leader who sets an example
- Comfortable speaking before large groups
- Ability to simplify complex procedures
- Expertise in classroom management and school procedures
- You are prepared to teach an array of sports and aerobic activities.
- Ability to instruct diverse students with different athletic interests and physical abilities
- Healthy lifestyles through an understanding of nutrition, physiology, and metabolism
In-depth training for physical education teachers
Different levels of physical education teachers
The profession of teaching physical education has many constants, regardless of grade level. The education level of students will affect the duties, skills, and expertise.
There are many factors that go into deciding the grade level you should teach. These factors include:
- Higher education (postsecondary institutions usually require an advanced degree)
- There are many subjects in physical education. The more advanced the curriculum, the greater the range and breadth.
- You are interested in teaching advanced courses or coaching team sports
- Students’ maturity and age — K-12 through college
- Considerations regarding salary and employment opportunities
Teachers of elementary school physical education
Elementary PE. Elementary PE is taught to students in grades K-5 (children between 5 and 12). Physical education is important for children to be healthy and fit.
The Society of Health and Physical Education offers standards for K-12 education starting with elementary schools. SHAPE’s “road to a life of physical activity” emphasizes the importance of “foundational skills and knowledge as well as values for elementary schools.
Teachers of middle school physical education
Middle school P.E. Teachers typically teach middle school students in grades 6-8. They are also trained to understand the mental, emotional, and social development of students aged 11-14. Teachers in middle school physical education are primarily focused on teaching healthy habits and coaching individual and team sports, such as flag football and soccer.
This age group combines elements from elementary and high school education to teach students. Youth are most transformed during middle school. They come in as children and go home as teenagers. All middle school teachers should have a solid understanding of adolescent psychology. They must also be able to relate well to this age group.
To facilitate smooth transitions from elementary school to middle school, it is important to have clear procedures. As adolescents progress through this age group, locker rooms management becomes a crucial function of middle school physical education. This involves requiring daily showers, as well as the assignment of gym clothes and equipment lockers.
Teachers of high school physical education
Teachers of high school physical education typically teach grades 9-12 (students between 14-18). They ensure that students continue to participate in organized activities that involve team participation, exercise, healthy habits, and good health.
High school physical education should include procedures to make the transition from middle school to high school easier. Team sports are becoming more competitive.
The current physical education curriculum goals for high-school students could include:
- Social and personal development
- Motor skills and movement patterns
- Exercise and fitness
- Development of physical literacy
Teachers of postsecondary physical education
Potential opportunities for postsecondary physical education teachers to train future P.E. Innovative techniques are used to train future physical education teachers in the areas of athletics, physiology and aerobics. Postsecondary physical education teachers have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and publish reports, magazines, articles and peer reviews.
Teachers of postsecondary physical education work at junior colleges, private and state colleges, as well as universities. They teach adults over 18 who are interested in physical education, including physiology, nutrition and science-based programs.
Physical education teachers can be found in lecture halls as well as medium-sized classrooms, gyms, outdoor sporting facilities, and online. They are qualified to teach tomorrow’s teachers of physical education. Many college instructors serve as role models to physical education majors who might aspire to be teachers or enter various professions such as private trainers and professional sports medicine specialists.
Teachers in postsecondary have greater control over how they teach than teachers in K-12. Postsecondary teachers also have more control over their time. Many postsecondary instructors teach part-time as well as full-time. They have less classroom management and procedural responsibilities that teachers at other grades, but they spend a lot of time preparing lectures and instructions for assignments as well as for grading exams.
Postsecondary teachers now have more options thanks to the availability of affordable online colleges and telecommunications. Online instructors can also work as adjunct teachers. Learn more about adjunct professors by visiting our adjunct professor article.
Physical education teachers must be certified and educated.
- Education: Bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree
- The average study time is 4-8 years
A bachelor’s degree is required for teachers of physical education at middle- and high school levels. It should be in kinesiology, physiology, nutrition and health, or physical education. For continued employment, most states require that you complete a master’s degree within five year of receiving certification.
A master’s degree in physical education and related experience may be enough to get a job at community colleges. Most four-year universities and colleges require a doctoral degree.
There are many backgrounds for teachers. The majority of future teachers are enrolled in a college teacher education program. These programs include courses in classroom management and curriculum design, as well as a semester-long student teaching practicum. These students typically graduate with a bachelor’s in education and can start teaching right away.
Others teachers go into education after they have completed a more specific program and worked in related fields for years.
Education hopefuls with a bachelor’s degree will find it crucial to enroll in education-based doctoral and master’s degree programs in order to pursue a career in teaching.
Three primary considerations for physical education teachers considering a master’s are grade level, relevant curriculum, leadership, and academic research.
License and certification
Teaching is usually possible only with a state-issued teaching certificate. Each state has its own licensing and certification requirements. As a condition for certification, teachers are often required to teach for years and complete professional development courses. Many institutions require teachers to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR), both for safety and legal reasons.
Teaching licence reciprocity by state – Visit our state-by state teacher licensing and reciprocity pages for details in your state.
Note on tenure: Tenure is a major goal for traditional academic careers. Tenure is often viewed as a guarantee of a permanent position. Despite widespread belief, this is not true. Tenure requires that teachers who hold tenure be subject to due process before they are dismissed.
Teachers are eligible to be placed on probationary status. They can be fired without just cause or proper documentation. Tenure can take up to four years. Teachers are assessed by mentors and peers, as well as administrators, on the basis of their job performance. Administrators can make informed and supportive decisions about the teaching faculty in their schools during this time.
Salary ranges and projections for teachers of physical education
Teachers in elementary, middle and high schools
The salary ranges of elementary, middle and high school teachers will vary depending on where they live, what school district they work in, their experience and education. Career Explorer reports that the median salary for physical education teachers in America is $39,293. The lowest 20% make $33,513 while the highest 20% make $62,289.
ZipRecruiter.com reports that the average salary for physical education teachers varies by state, from $34,965 up to $49,479.
Below is an overview of the average salaries for physical education teachers in elementary, middle, or high schools.
- ZipRecruiter.com: $45,215
- Payscale.com: $43,829
- Indeed.com: $45,303
- Glassdoor.com: $45,852
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, elementary and secondary teacher employment is expected to increase by 4% between 2018-2028. Public school teachers’ employment growth may be affected by state and local budgets. Teachers will be required to replace teachers who are retiring or leaving the profession due to other reasons.
Teachers of postsecondary physical education
The salary ranges of postsecondary physical education teachers will vary depending on their state, experience, degree, and institution.
Although there are not many specific salaries for physical education teachers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary of a postsecondary teacher at either a junior or community college is $56,930.
The median salary for a four-year state institution teacher is $81,120. The median salary for four-year private institutions is $78,540
Here’s a snapshot of the average salary for postsecondary education:
- BLS: Health specialists teachers, postsecondary — $97.370
- Glassdoor.com Assistant Professor, Physical Education — $40,406
- Glassdoor.com: Associate Professor, Physical Education — $45,852
- ZipRecruiter.com Assistant Professor — $64,010
- Payscale.com: Associate Professor — $67,223
The overall employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to increase 11% between 2018 and 2028. These new jobs will include a significant number of part-time employees.
There are advantages and disadvantages
- A shared love and devotion to fitness and sports
- Teaching the importance and benefits of nutrition and physical education for health
- Students are encouraged to be physically fit
- Collaborating with colleagues who share similar career goals and interests
- Future leaders and teachers interested in cutting-edge physical therapy sport innovations are welcome to collaborate
- Making a difference
- Security of employment
- Sometimes frustrating and bureaucratic administrative procedures and classroom procedures.
- The salary is lower than that of counterparts in other occupations
- Course preparation takes many hours
- Standards for state and local government
- Very little adult contact during the day
- School funding
For teachers of physical education, professional development
Continuing education can be a great way for a person to stay on track in their career, increase knowledge, remain competitive and increase one’s value in the job marketplace.
For teachers who are certified as physical education instructors, professional associations offer webinars, correspondence classes, one-day seminars, symposiums and other continuing education platforms. These courses help teachers improve their knowledge about physical education and best practices in the health industry. These events are great opportunities to improve one’s knowledge of physical education concepts and meet like-minded professionals.
Learning to use computers can be a great way for teachers of physical education to improve their professional skills. Graphic software and 3D imaging software can be used to enhance multimedia presentations and classroom presentations. This will attract audiences and help facilitate learning.