Physical Education Teachers


Employment Prospects


PE teachers make up only a small percentage of the nearly 3.1 million elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers employed in the United States. Physical education instructors are employed at public and private schools. They work in elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools, high schools, junior colleges, and four-year universities. They are also employed by boys/girls clubs, camps, health spas and resorts, correctional facilities, martial arts studios, dance studios, resorts, community centers, child care facilities, fitness centers, health clubs, and gyms.

Starting Out

After completing your student teaching and becoming certified, work with your college's career services office to find a full-time position. The departments of education of some states maintain listings of job openings. Many schools advertise teaching positions online. You may also directly contact the principals and superintendents of the schools in which you would like to work. While looking for full-time work, you can work as a substitute teacher. In urban areas with many schools, you may be able to substitute full time. PE Central, an organization for health and physical educators, also offers job listings for physical education teachers.

Advancement Prospects

Most physical education teachers advance simply by becoming more of an expert in the field. They usually receive an increase in salary as they acquire experience. Additional training or study can also bring an increase in salary.

A few PE teachers who have management ability and an interest in administrative work may advance to the position of principal. Others may advance into supervisory positions or teach aspiring physical educators at colleges and universities. For most of these advanced positions, additional education is required. Some PE teachers also make lateral moves into other education-related positions such as guidance counselor.

Physical education instructors may choose to advance by working outside of the physical education field. With further education and experience, PE instructors can become exercise physiologists, sports trainers, sports nutritionists, fitness industry workers, coaches, and kinesiologists.

Tips for Entry

Go to your library or bookstore to borrow or purchase books on teaching physical education.

Order a student subscription to the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, which will give you a useful overview of the field. Alternatively, you can see if your library has it. Publications such as this one can be ordered at the Human Kinetics Web site,

Become a student member of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). An application is available at:

Download the health and fitness app, MyFitnessPal, which is a free tool to help people optimize health by counting calories and tracking physical activity levels. This app will show you how to lead by example of a healthy diet and exercise routine.