How to Become a Physical Education Teacher

Do you love sports and physical fitness? Discover the joys of teaching gym, and become a PE teacher.

Becoming a physical education teacher is for dedicated individuals who love kids, sports and physical fitness. Today more than ever, good health, nutrition and exercise are increasingly important for our nation's children, and PE teachers play an important role in their students' development, both in and out of school. If you love sports, are passionate about health and fitness, and want to work with kids, becoming a K-12 gym teacher can be a great career choice for you.

Job Description

students boxing in pe class with physical education teacher

Most schools require students to take gym classes, so if you become a physical education teacher, you'll have the opportunity to interact with students in your school across grade levels.

Some physical education teachers support more than one school, holding rotating classes at different schools on different days of the week.

  • In elementary schools, physical education teachers work with children of all fitness levels to improve coordination, increase consumer knowledge and inspire a love for physical activity.
  • In middle or high school classes you can often determine classes or sections depending on your experience or interest, and the options available at your school. Course offerings may range from the more traditional baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis to more contemporary activities such as rock climbing, ultimate Frisbee, aerobics and dance.

Planning assignments and evaluations for your students and monitoring their progress throughout the year is a large part of the job. And, like any elementary or secondary school teacher, you may have other duties, such as monitoring students, attending faculty meetings, conferencing with parents and completing other administrative tasks.

Education and Certification

To become a gym teacher, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree and teaching certificate in order to teach at a public elementary or secondary school. Requirements vary by state, so contact your state Department of Education to discover teacher certification requirements in your area.

Your curriculum will include classes like kinesiology, exercise physiology, nutrition, and health and wellness, as well as activity courses such as golf, aerobics, basketball, tennis, racquetball, and other team and/or individual sports.

Teachers who major in health and physical education must also complete certification requirements that include completion of approved teacher education courses and hands-on classroom teaching experience. This can be accomplished by completing a master's degree in education or simply fulfilling class requirements and taking a certification test.

Source: PECentral.org