Physical education teachers are elementary, middle school, or high school teachers who specialize in teaching sports and other physical activities, as well as personal health and physical fitness. Individuals with a passion for sports and who love teaching others will find this job very rewarding.
Physical Education Teacher Job Description
In grade school levels, a PE teacher is in charge of teaching physical fitness as well as sports and health related subjects to students of all grades and physical capabilities. Classes can be inside or outside and will include instruction on physiology and anatomy, individual fitness, sports rules and techniques and healthy lifestyle choices. PE teachers also play an important role in helping students to overcome personal challenges and learn to work as part of a team. Different age groups each have their own benefits and challenges and typically need different lesson plans. Additionally, special thought will be required for students with physical or mental disabilities.
Physical Education Teacher Education, Training and Certification
Anyone interested in a position as a physical education teacher should be prepared to complete at least a bachelors or masters in physical education and health, with a focus on teaching. Quite often these programs will be available with alternate names such as healthcare administration, health science, athletic administration or sport management. As such, take care when enquiring with the school to ensure that the program is suitable for your chosen career path. It will then be necessary to complete teacher certification within the state of employment; this will vary by state and may require a program to be completed as well as several hours of experience as a teaching assistant.
Physical Education Teacher Jobs and Career Outlook
The number of PE teachers in a school depends on the grade level and number of students. While elementary schools typically have two PE teachers, middle schools and high schools often have several PE teachers and coaches. These coaches usually teach other subjects, such as science or history, in addition to one or two PE classes a day and might also coach an extra-curricular sports team. Teaching jobs are being cut in many areas as the funding for electives is slowly disappearing. Therefore, the potential growth of this field is not as rapid as in other careers. However, some schools are specifically hiring extra PE teachers to combat the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and to help promote physical activity and health.
Physical Education Teacher Salary
The salary for a PE teacher is typically the same as for other teachers in similar grade levels. Annual salary is determined by the individual school district in coordination with the local teaching union and will vary according to the location and education level of the applicant. Teachers with full certification and a bachelor’s degree earned on average between $43,000 and $51,000, according to the American Federation of Teachers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual salary increases are generally lower than for other careers. Ambitious individuals may go on to coach higher education students or at private institutions for improved salary and benefits.
Teaching can be a challenging and rewarding career for those who love working with children and enjoy dedicating their lives to helping and educating our youth.