Career Development

What Does a Physical Education Teacher Do?

Find out what a physical education teacher does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a physical education teacher.

Physical education teachers are responsible for planning and executing lessons that teach students about healthy living, exercise, sports, and other related topics. They commonly work with a wide range of ages and abilities, which means they must be able to create lessons that are engaging and relevant for everyone in the class.

Physical education teachers may also be responsible for overseeing student fitness testing or other assessments. This allows them to track progress over time and make adjustments as needed.

Physical Education Teacher Job Duties

Physical education teachers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Creating lesson plans based on state requirements, school district policies, and individual student needs
  • Assisting students with disabilities in exercising according to their individual needs and abilities
  • Providing leadership and guidance to students in physical activity activities such as intramural sports or recess periods
  • Recording data about each student’s progress, performance, injuries, or complications during physical activity sessions
  • Preparing equipment and facilities for use by students during physical education classes or activities
  • Conducting classroom instruction in subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, health and safety, and nutrition.
  • Designing and implementing exercise programs to improve physical conditioning, increase cardiovascular endurance, and improve muscle tone
  • Teaching students about proper techniques for different types of physical activity such as swimming, running, or cycling
  • Developing and implementing lesson plans that align with state standards for physical education

Physical Education Teacher Salary & Outlook

Physical education teachers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of school they work in. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $172,000 ($82.69/hour)

The employment of physical education teachers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for physical education teachers depends largely on student enrollment and school budgets. As schools continue to cut budgets, physical education classes may be reduced or eliminated. However, physical education teachers will still be needed to teach students basic fitness and wellness concepts and skills.

Related: Physical Education Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Physical Education Teacher Job Requirements

A physical education teacher typically needs to have the following:

Education: Physical education teachers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in physical education or a related field, such as kinesiology or exercise science. These programs typically include courses in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics and exercise physiology.

Many physical education teachers choose to pursue a master’s degree in education to increase their earning potential and qualify for administrative positions.

Training & Experience: Physical education teachers typically complete a training program after earning their bachelor’s degree. These programs typically last between one and two years and include supervised teaching experience.

Certifications & Licenses: To teach in public schools, you will need to earn a teaching license. Each state has different requirements for earning a teaching license, but they all require teachers to pass one or more exams to be certified to teach a specific subject.

Physical Education Teacher Skills

Physical education teachers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Physical education teachers use their communication skills to instruct students, answer questions, give feedback and provide information. They also use their communication skills to motivate students, encourage teamwork and build relationships with students and colleagues.

Teamwork skills: Physical education teachers often work with other teachers to plan and implement lessons. For example, a math and physical education teacher might work together to create a lesson that incorporates both subjects. This can help students learn more and develop skills in multiple subjects.

Classroom management: Classroom management refers to a person’s ability to maintain order in a classroom. This can include everything from keeping students on task to maintaining a clean classroom. Physical education teachers often need strong classroom management skills because they often teach in a classroom with other students.

Adaptability: Adaptability is the ability to change and adjust to new situations. Physical education teachers often work with a variety of students with different skill levels, learning styles and interests. Being adaptable can help a teacher adjust their lesson plans to meet the needs of their students.

Knowledge of subject matter: Physical education teachers need to have a thorough understanding of the subject matter they teach. This includes knowing the curriculum and standards for the grade level they teach. It’s important for them to understand the subject matter so they can teach it effectively to their students. They also need to know how to assess students’ understanding of the subject matter so they can provide the right instruction.

Physical Education Teacher Work Environment

Physical education teachers work in schools and other educational institutions teaching students about the importance of physical activity and fitness. They typically work during school hours, although they may also be required to work before or after school to prepare for classes or to attend meetings. Some physical education teachers also coach sports teams, which may require additional hours outside of the regular school day. Physical education teachers need to be physically fit themselves and be able to demonstrate the proper techniques for various activities. They also need to be able to manage large groups of students and be able to keep them engaged in the lesson.

Physical Education Teacher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how physical education teachers work. Physical education teachers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Health and Wellness

As the world becomes increasingly more health-conscious, physical education teachers are being called upon to play a larger role in promoting wellness among students.

This trend is evident in the increasing number of schools that are adding yoga and other mindfulness practices to their curriculum. It is also reflected in the growing popularity of sports such as soccer and basketball, which have been shown to improve both physical and mental health.

More Physical Education Teachers Will Be Needed

As the population grows and ages, the need for physical education teachers will continue to grow.

As more and more students enter elementary school, there will be a greater demand for physical education teachers who can help them develop healthy habits and keep them active throughout the day. In order to meet this demand, physical education teachers will need to be well-versed in a variety of activities that can keep students engaged and entertained.

A Greater Emphasis on Teamwork

Physical education teachers are increasingly being asked to focus on teamwork as an important skill for students to learn.

Teamwork is an essential part of life, and by teaching students how to work together effectively, physical education teachers can help them succeed in many different areas. By emphasizing teamwork in physical education classes, teachers can help students develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

How to Become a Physical Education Teacher

Physical education teachers have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. They can help students develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime, and they can teach them important lessons about teamwork, discipline, and dedication.

To be successful in this career, it’s important to have a passion for working with children and teenagers. You should also be able to stay calm under pressure and handle difficult situations calmly and effectively.

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to move up the ranks within your school district. For example, you might start out as a physical education teacher at the elementary school level, and then move up to become a physical education teacher at the middle school level, and then finally move up to become a physical education teacher at the high school level. Another way to advance in this career is to move into a position as a physical education coach, where you would be responsible for coaching a sports team at the high school or collegiate level. Finally, you could also move into a position as a physical education professor at a college or university.

Physical Education Teacher Job Description Example

We are looking for a highly qualified and experienced physical education teacher to join our team. The ideal candidate will have a passion for teaching and working with students of all ages. They will be responsible for planning and delivering engaging and effective lessons that promote the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyles. They will also be responsible for maintaining a safe and positive learning environment, and managing student behavior in accordance with school policies. The successful candidate will be a team player with excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement physical education curriculum that meets state and national standards
  • Teach students the importance of leading a physically active and healthy lifestyle
  • Motivate students to participate in class and reach their fitness goals
  • Evaluate student progress and provide feedback to help them improve
  • Maintain accurate records of student attendance and performance
  • Communicate with parents or guardians about their child’s progress
  • Select and requisition appropriate equipment and supplies
  • Supervise students during recess and other extracurricular activities
  • Collaborate with other teachers and staff to develop an effective learning environment
  • Model positive behavior and sportsmanship for students
  • Attend professional development workshops to keep up with new trends in physical education
  • Perform administrative duties such as grading papers and updating lesson plans

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in physical education, kinesiology, or related field
  • State teaching certification in physical education
  • 3-5 years teaching experience at the elementary, middle, or high school level
  • Knowledge of state and national physical education standards
  • Ability to develop and implement engaging, developmentally-appropriate lesson plans
  • Strong classroom management skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in physical education, kinesiology, or related field
  • Experience working with students with special needs
  • Coaching experience
  • Familiarity with current trends and best practices in physical education


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