PE Teacher: What it Takes to Be a Physical Education Teacher

Becoming a PE teacher can be a fun and rewarding career choice. Among the many careers in education, working as a PE teacher is a great choice for those who like working with children and have a passion for sports and physical activity. Physical education teachers play a vital role in the education industry because they keep children active and help them interact with each other on a more social level than they experience in the classroom.

Education Requirements

PE teachers must be physically fit because the job is very demanding. And like all teachers, they must have a commitment to helping children and a passion for seeing them succeed.

PE teachers have to earn a bachelor degree like all teachers, but their courses need to focus on health and physical education. Classes will include exercise physiology, kinesiology (the study of human movement), and the history and rules of all of the main sports. Many schools also require a certain number of hours of student teaching before awarding a degree.

It is always helpful for prospective physical education teachers to have experience playing a variety of sports. However, all of the sports will be taught in the schooling process, so this is not a requirement.

Once they achieve a bachelor degree in physical education, PE teachers must also pass a state licensing exam if they wish to teach in a public school. Private school teachers, however, may not face this requirement. Many PE teachers also go on to get a master degree to raise their income potential.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Degree in Physical Education

Once the schooling and credentialing is over, the fun of being a PE teacher can begin. As a PE teacher, you’ll oversee several groups of students throughout the day. PE Central says elementary school PE teachers can expect to teach nine half-hour classes a day. In middle schools and high schools, PE teachers will teach five or six classes of 60 to 90 minutes every day.

PE teachers will find that they will have a packed day with very little down time. Some PE teachers may even teach at more than one school so they can meet the goal of 40 hours of teaching time every week, while others teach additional subjects like health and wellness.

PE teachers may also decide to coach sports teams, helping fine-tune students’ skills while giving them encouragement and teaching them to pull together as team. Furthermore, many PE teachers decide to continue their education and eventually become the principal at their school.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Degree in Physical Education

Full-time PE teachers can expect to make an average salary of $51,000 in an elementary or middle school or $53,000 in a high school, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wherever PE teachers decide to teach, they can look forward to regular school hours, including extended time off during the holidays and the summer. Most importantly, PE teachers will be able to make a difference in many children’s lives. They will teach the children how to stay healthy and active so they can avoid obesity. Without PE teachers, America’s obesity epidemic would be much worse.

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