Physical education has had its share of ups and downs in education, but it’s come a long way since the days of playing dodgeball in gym class. Our society is facing critical issues with obesity and other various health problems, and is now refocusing our goal towards living healthier lifestyles.
Physical education teachers are the best early advocates for this healthy living, and can be an important factor in making sure that kids grow up in great shape, as well as learning the right habits to stay healthy for their entire lives. Explore how to become a physical education teacher, the skills and education you’ll need, and how to get licensed to teach in your state.
Find schools and get information on the program that’s
right for you.
(It’s fast and free!)
What Does a Physical Education Teacher Do?
Physical education teachers, also called PhysEd or P.E. teachers, do much more than run sports in gym classes. They also help to teach kids the benefits of exercise and athletics, the proper techniques for exercising, and how to make proper health and nutrition choices. They are educated in human physiology, growth, nutrition and health, and as such often also teach health classes as well as overseeing and planning gym classes.
Physical education teachers may also serve as coaches for extracurricular sports teams, including football, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, volleyball, baseball or other inter- and intramural sports. They are committed to teaching and advocating for healthy life choices and the right exercise routines.
Job Skills and Requirements of a P.E. Teacher
The most obvious requirement for a P.E. teacher is to remain in good physical condition and to make healthy life choices. In addition to teaching physical health, you’ll need to provide an example for students. Physed instructors also need to have expertise in the proper methods for exercise, the rules for various sports, and the current research on healthy diet and nutrition choices. They should also be educated on how to deal with certain dietary restrictive conditions like diabetes, Crohn’s disease and the like.
P.E. teachers must be confident and comfortable demonstrating exercise techniques in front of a group. They must be excellent communicators, and able to apply outstanding listening skills. They must also be able to plan lessons and activities and implement them.
Flexibility in scheduling is also essential, as the job may require exhaustive after-hours work not only in grading assignments but in coaching and overseeing extracurricular activities and chaperoning school events.
Becoming a PE Teacher
To become a physical education teacher, you’ll need to pursue licensure and certification to serve as a teacher in your state. While each state has their own requirements to gain your qualifications, for the most part the basics include at least a four-year degree in education with a focus on nutrition, a stint as a student teacher (usually at least a semester’s worth), and obtaining FBI, state criminal background, and child abuse clearances.
In general, physed teachers pull down an average salary of between $54,000 and $57,000 per year according to figures published by the BLS and depending on where they teach, at what grade level, and specific qualifications and location. Look over our website to discover the specific requirements to get started in your state today!