PE Teacher Salary?

A PE teacher salary is just as favorable as any other teacher’s pay, whether it be at the high school, middle school or elementary school level. And salary, in fact, is a common misconception when it comes to PE, or physical education, teachers. Many guess that PE teachers don’t make as much as, say, biology or history teachers, because bouncing a basketball or teaching students how to swing a baseball bat isn’t quite as difficult as teaching students the periodic table.

It’s a common misconception when it comes to PE teachers, because there is a lot that goes into their jobs. It’s not all fun and games all day, but a curriculum that gets students active and puts them on the path to living a healthy lifestyle. In essence, PE teachers are like wellness teachers because it’s more than just developing physical ability and getting students interested in sports and outdoor activities that they do – they’re primary goal should be to motivate students to live better.

So just what education requirements are required of a PE teacher? And what does said teacher earn (hint: we already kind of told you from the first sentence)? We’ll take a closer look at the education requirements, career options and career and salary outlook:

Education Requirements to Become a PE Teacher

PE teachers are, well, teachers. So they’re held to the same basic standards of teachers. That is, they must hold at least a four-year bachelor degree from an accredited university. However, PE teachers will often be sure to take classes such as kinesiology, health instruction, sports, motor skills and more physical fitness-related courses while earning their degree.

Additionally, just like any other teacher, PE teachers must be licensed. If they’re not licensed, they won’t be able to teach. Licenses generally last anywhere from three to five years and can be renewed by accumulating a specified amount of continuing education credits. Qualifications and licensing rules vary by state.

Career Options for PE Teaching

As we discussed in the opening, PE teachers don’t just stand in a gym and bounce a basketball all day. And while physical activity and sports are part of the curriculum, there’s a lot more that PE teachers can do to improve their professional stock and personal fulfillment. For instance, many PE teachers also teach health and wellness classes, where living a healthy lifestyle is presented in a more scientific way. PE teachers also often coach sports teams, especially if they work at the high school level. Such sports often include the likes of soccer, basketball, baseball and football. Not only are many PE teachers adequate coaches, but the sports psychology and other related courses they took to earn their teaching degree can also help them manage and coach students. Coaching sports teams often comes with additional pay.

Furthermore, PE teachers can also go back to school to earn their master degree in physical education to further enhance their professional resume.

Other Considerations When Pursuing a Career in PE Teaching

As we stated in the opening, don’t expect to take a pay cut in order to be a PE teacher. That’s right, just because one works in a gym or works outside playing sports doesn’t mean that it will be reflected in salary. Remember, PE teachers are held to the same educational requirements as most other teachers are and they arguably have just as important of a job as other teachers do, with getting kids active and living healthy.

According to, PE teachers make anywhere from $26,000 to about $61,000 per year, with several factors influencing the annual salary. For instance, PE teachers who are new, working in private schools and/or working in elementary education environments are less likely to make as much as those who are teaching high school students in public school districts. Also, PE teachers can earn more by coaching and teaching other health, nutrition and fitness classes.

One thing to keep in mind, however, while pursuing a PE teaching job is that the high school teacher is an underwhelming performing position right now. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers are only growing by about 7 percent in terms of career outlook.

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