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Physical Education Teacher Job Description, Career as a Physical Education Teacher, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Bachelor’s degree/Teaching certificate

Average Salary $43,000 per year

Job Outlook Fair

Basic Job Description

Physical education teachers teach grade-school age children physical fitness techniques, sports playing, and guide them toward living a healthy and active lifestyle. They typically instruct and coach students to play on interactive sports teams against each other, motivate them during exercises such as running or weight lifting, and teach them fun active techniques such as rope climbing. Physical education teachers construct different lesson plans for classes of different aged children to help them develop athletic skills and enjoy exercising. Many teachers also coach after school sports teams and events.

Education and Training Requirements

Physical education teachers are required to have a Bachelor’s degree and be certified to teach physical education through a state administered exam. Many teachers who want to teach physical education obtain a Bachelor’s in sports management or personal training and take other courses such as nutrition or psychology.

Once a degree is obtained, students who plan to teach physical education are required to take a state administered examination. Most states require teachers of any kind to work as an assistant to an experienced teacher in the field they plan to teach. They will be required to student teach for a specific number of hours, usually over several months, before they are qualified to take the state exam. Once they receive a passing grade on the exam they will receive a teaching certificate and be able to work as a physical education teacher.

Getting the Job

In order to be a physical education teacher to grade school students, the right person will most importantly be excellent at dealing with kids. They will have a great deal of patience and be willing to help kids with activities if they struggle or really don’t want to participate. They will have a positive attitude that encourages children to participate in sports activities without making them feel uncomfortable if they are not good at the particular activity.

Physical education teachers also need to have an understanding of rules behind playing several different sports, as well as how to teach children proper techniques for weight lifting, running, rope climbing, stretching, and other activities. In a way, the physical education teachers work as a personal trainer for students.

Physical education teachers also need to understand how to deal with students that injure themselves in class or who have special needs. Most schools have a nurse that will help any children who get injured, but the teacher will also need to understand how to deal with a child who has fallen and sprained an ankle or hit their head. It is important for them to have a basic understanding to prevent kids from getting injured or making their injuries worse.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Teaching jobs are slowly being cut back, so the job market for physical education teachers is not necessarily growing rapidly. However, many schools are hiring an extra gym teacher or two to add to their staff to help promote physical activities in schools due to the rise in child obesity and lack of physical activity kids are receiving.

Once a physical education teacher has experience working with children and teaching them physical fitness techniques, they may move on to teaching high school or college courses in physical fitness or even coaching sports teams. Many high school teachers are also in charge of coaching the school sports teams, where they can then move on to eventually coaching college sports. In most cases, a Master’s degree is needed in order to teach at a college level.

Working Conditions and Environment

Physical education teachers spend most of their time working in the school gymnasium. They have a schedule that rotates and teaches each class in the school on specific days each week. Physical education teachers need to be able to handle working in a stressful environment with young children who can easily become unruly or wound up at the thought of playing sports. They will have to be able to teach the children discipline while still making sure they have fun.

Physical education teachers can also incorporate playing outdoors into their activities if the weather permits. Unlike other teachers who are confined to a classroom, gym teachers have the opportunity to work outside and play with kids.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a physical education teacher is about $43,000 per year. This is the average salary for most teachers, as physical education teachers do not typically make more or less than any other teacher. Teacher salaries usually depend on seniority and experience. Teachers also have the benefit of a full health insurance plan as well as weekends, holidays and summer off from school.

Physical education teachers who also coach sports often coach for no extra salary, but because they truly enjoy doing it. Some private schools may pay teachers to coach teams, but the reason most do it in the first place is because they truly enjoy working with children and teaching them a sport they once played and enjoyed with passion.

Where to Go for More Information

PE Central
1995 South Main Street, Suite 902
Blacksburg, VA 24062
(540) 953-1043

127 West 10th Street, Suite 101
Kansas City, MO 64105
(816) 472-7345

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training