Qualifications to Become a Physical Education Teacher

Updated February 21, 2017

There are various concentrations to choose from as a physical education teacher, including health promotion or exercise science. A teaching certificate for the desired level of teaching from the state you work in is also required. The state of California, for example, requires teachers in this field to pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers prior to becoming licensed. Physical Education teachers are often called to take on other duties, from administrative tasks to teaching other subjects to students. The ability to perform these additional tasks at the school will increase your chance of getting hired.

High School Requirements

High school students interested in becoming physical education teachers should prepare for college by taking various advanced P.E. classes, including chemistry, physics and other basic science classes. These classes will lay the groundwork for other educational classes, such as physical education and kinesiology, that are required in college to earn a degree. A minimum high school GPA of 2.5 is required to qualify for most physical education college programs.

Bachelor's Degree

A four-year degree program to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Education or Bachelor of Education degree must be completed to become a physical education teacher. A core selection of general education classes include communications, kinesiology, mathematics, field sports, swimming, first aid and motor skills development. It is recommended students join the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (see Resources) to develop education standards. At least one semester of student teaching must also be completed prior to graduating. The Praxis I and II exams will most likely need to be successfully completed as well before you earn your degree.

Master's Degree

Depending on the state and school district, physical education teachers might be required to obtain a Master of Arts in education, before or soon after starting work. Obtaining a master's degree will develop teaching skills and pedagogical techniques, and will lead to higher pay and better chances of advancement in your career.


Obtaining a college education in the field will provide much-needed knowledge, but it is important to have prior experience being around and teaching children. Having experience and knowledge about the various physical activities that will be taught, including climbing, tennis, cooperative activities, ultimate frisbee, fitness, dance, team sports and gymnastic will further qualify a physical education teacher for the job. Most universities and internships provide opportunities to gain experience teaching at nearby schools. Volunteer experience involving student teaching work will only boost your resume.

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About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.