Physical Education (P.E.) Teaching Degrees in Florida
If you are an active person who loves working with kids, you are an excellent fit for a career as a physical education teacher. Florida, in particular, is a great place to be a P.E. teacher. Not only is the weather great year-round, the State Board of Education mandates that kids grades K-5 participate in P.E. for 150 minutes each week and that all grades above elementary (up to grade 12) must offer instruction in physical education. This shows that the state recognizes that physical activity is key to a healthy body and mind. This value means that all schools must have enough teachers to teach P.E. classes, and one of those teachers could be you.
What Does a Physical Education Teacher in Florida Do?
Gym class can seem like an informal place for kids to run around and get exercise. But as physical education has become an increasingly important element to increasing students’ mental strength alongside their physical strength, the outsized benefits of mandated P.E. in schools. Florida’s state standards reflect that with four core outcomes of physical education: movement competency, cognitive abilities, lifetime fitness, and responsible behaviors and values.
Your role as a gym teacher in Florida is to create a curriculum around those intended outcomes that keeps kids active and engaged. It also takes a strong understanding of kids’ development and ability to modify curricula for each age group. In Florida, you also have the added benefit of having year-round good weather to take advantage of outdoor physical activity.
In addition to curriculum development, P.E. teachers often coach sports, monitor recess, and serve as faculty advisors of clubs.
Steps to Becoming a Physical Education Teacher in Florida
You must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete certification to become a teacher of any subject in Florida. There are several routes to both the degree and the certification to become a P.E. teacher, though. Here you’ll learn about those steps and what is entailed in a P.E. degree program.
The steps to becoming a P.E. teacher in Florida are the same steps to becoming a teacher of any subject in the state, with some minor distinctions with assessment requirements.
The following are the steps outlined by the Florida Department of Education:
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree yet, this is the most straightforward path to teaching certification. All Florida state-approved Initial Teacher Preparation (ITP) programs include all of the requirements that lead to certification, including student teaching requirements. Upon completion of your degree program, you’ll take the General Knowledge (GK) exam, the Professional Education exam, and the Physical Education K-12 subject exam.
Educator Preparation Institute (EPI)
If you already earned a bachelor’s degree in another subject other than teaching, this post-baccalaureate program prepares you to meet the state’s teacher certification requirements. Upon completion of the program, you’ll need to pass the same exams as noted in the direct pathway.
Temporary Certificate to Professional Certification
In Florida, some teachers with specific subject-area expertise can obtain temporary certification to teach in their subject. For example, if you majored in exercise science, but didn’t focus on teaching, you might be able to become temporarily certified as a P.E. teacher in Florida. With that temporary status, you can then work toward professional certification while you’re working as a P.E. teacher. These programs take about two years to complete, and you’ll have to complete the same state certifications as the direct pathway.
Courses to Take for a Physical Education Degree in Florida
Courses you will take in a physical education degree program can range from relevant science subjects to topics around curriculum and instruction. The following are a few courses you will usually find in a P.E. degree program:
Physical Education Teacher Training Programs in Florida: Spotlight Schools
All tuition rates current as of the 2019-2020 school year.
University of Southern Florida
Located in Tampa, USF offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education. The Bachelor of Science program takes two years to complete and begins during junior year; this program leads to Florida state teacher certification. It’s a cohort program so students complete the same coursework throughout those two years. The Master of Arts in Physical Education degree is a fully online program dedicated to the lifelong learning of P.E. teachers who are focused on becoming the best educators they can be. Florida state resident tuition is $214 per credit hour for undergraduate coursework and $435 per credit hour for graduate classes.
University of Tampa
In the College of Natural and Health Sciences B.S. in physical education K-12 program, you will take a variety of P.E. and sports coaching courses alongside professional education courses. Full-time undergraduates who take 12 to 18 credit hours per semester can expect to pay around $27,990.
University of West Florida
Located in Pensacola, UWF offers a bachelor’s degree in movement science and health with a specialization in Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) that leads to teacher certification. The program is highly experiential offering both in- and out-of-class practice in teaching. UWF also offers a master’s specialization in physical education and human performance, which can be completed both in person or completely online. It’s designed to prepare leaders in various areas of coaching, wellness, and physical education. Florida residents can expect to pay $212 per credit hour for undergraduates and $377.60 per graduate credit hour.
University of Central Florida
Located in Orlando, University of Central Florida’s College of Community Innovation and Education offers a bachelor’s in physical education. The program offers two tracks: education and lifelong learning. The education track leads to teacher certification, which is required to teach in Florida public schools. The lifelong learning track does not lead to certification, but it’s a great option if you intend to teach or work outside of formal education. Undergraduate Florida residents can expect to pay $212.28 per credit hour.
Career Outlook and Salary for P.E. Teachers in Florida
The demand for teachers is growing quickly in Florida, which means this is a great time to become a teacher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary school teachers in Florida earn an average income of $50,070 per year (2018). An average salary of $60,320 per year is reported for secondary school teachers nationally (BLS, 2018).
Starting a new career means learning an entirely new industry and set of standards. You can shorten the learning curve and build a comprehensive professional network by joining groups such as SHAPE Florida. SHAPE stands for Society of Health and Physical Educators. This group hosts an annual convention and supports movement competency, lifetime fitness habits, and responsible values.
Resources for Florida P.E. Teachers
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