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Physical Education Degrees in New York

Do you enjoy being active and helping others improve their hand-eye coordination, physical abilities, and mental health? If so, becoming a physical education (P.E.) teacher in the state of New York may be a good fit for you. Using the knowledge you gain about nutrition, psychology, and how the body works, you can help young people grow up to be healthier, more active adults.

If you are considering becoming a P.E. teacher, you will be happy to know you can expect some stability in the field. To combat the rising trend in obesity, the state of New York passed a law that requires all students to take a physical education course at least three times per week.

Physical activity promotes more than just a healthy weight. It can also improve mental health, reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases, and even improve academic performance. Today, it is more important than ever for New York students to have access to effective, fun sports and fitness activities at school. That is why physical education teachers are a core component of any effective school system.

Getting Your Physical Education Degree in New York

To become a teacher in the state of New York, you will need to complete one of several paths, as outlined by the New York State Education Department. The first step will be to complete your post-secondary education at an accredited, approved institution. Many New York colleges and universities, both public and private, have accredited physical education programs.

Steps to Becoming a P.E. Teacher in New York

While there are several paths you can take to become a New York P.E. teacher, the general requirements are largely the same. Whether you are a soon-to-be high school graduate, looking to change your career path, or are a licensed teacher from another state, you will need to:

  • Have or obtain a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the required New York State exams

Candidates looking to change their careers will also need to apply for certification from the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives. Some paths also require meeting a minimum GPA during your bachelor’s program.

If you choose to pursue a degree in physical education, you will likely spend at least one semester working as a student teacher under the supervision of a certified P.E. instructor.

Courses to Take for a Physical Education Degree.

The specific classes you will take on your path to become a New York physical education instructor will vary based on the program you select. However, you can expect to take classes addressing the following topics:

  • Analysis of Human Movement
  • Assessment and Physical Education Standards
  • Exercise, Energy Balance, and Weight Control
  • Fundamental Motor Skills
  • Physical Fitness and Training Programs
  • Physiology of Muscular Activity
  • Principles and Foundations of Physical Education
  • Psychology of Sports
  • Sports Skill Analysis
  • Teaching and Assessment of Individual/Team Activities

Physical Education Teacher Training Programs in New York

Every child deserves a well-rounded, effective education. When you turn your love of athletics and wellness into a teaching degree, you may help students learn to love sports, fitness, and healthy living. But before you can get started teaching, you will be required to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Many universities in the state of New York offer physical education teaching programs. Here is an overview of a few of the programs you might consider, including what makes each program unique and the average tuition cost you can expect to pay.

SUNY Cortland

At State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland, you will learn to integrate physical education theory into a range of teaching styles and strategies with an emphasis on hands-on learning. Their 126-credit hour physical education program leads to certification to teach P.E. in any school for grades K-12. They offer two concentration options in Adapted Physical Education and Outdoor Adventure Education. Undergraduate students with New York residency can expect to pay $3,535 per semester for this program.

Adelphi University

Located about an hour outside of New York City, Adelphi University will help you learn not just how to teach, but how to best work in a complex, multi-cultural society and nurture inclusive communities.

Adelphi University offers several degrees for students who wish to become P.E. teachers, including a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and two combined bachelor’s/master’s programs in physical education and exercise science.

All programs lead to teaching certification, and you can expect to pay an average of $19,235 per semester for undergraduate courses. Tuition for graduate physical education programs is $1,375 per credit hour.

Ithaca College

Ithaca College’s physical education bachelor’s teaching program will prepare you for the New York state certification, valid at both elementary and secondary schools. Their 120-credit hour bachelor’s program offers a wide range of course topics, including anatomy, child abuse identification, and bullying prevention. Tuition for undergraduate students during the 2018 to 2019 school year was $43,978.

What does a Physical Education Teacher in New York Do?

Physical education teachers do more than just lead P.E. courses. They may also coach sports teams, teach health and nutrition courses, and help students understand the importance of physical activity for physical and mental health. Physical education teachers may also be responsible for organizing events and serving as a faculty advisor for student clubs.

Depending on the grade you decide to teach, you may execute state learning standards in different ways. The New York State Education Department provides teachers with a thorough breakdown of expectations by grade level, which may include teaching health courses, helping students learn how to set and track health goals, and mastering fundamental motor skills.

Career Outlook and Salary for P.E. Teachers in New York

If you are considering becoming a P.E. teacher in New York, there is good news. The job outlook in this field is projected to grow 5% in the coming years, which is faster than the national average. Overall, New York is expected to see an average of 6,180 teacher openings in the coming years.

In addition to a stable job market, teachers in the state of New York are among the highest compensated in their field. Across the board, teaching salaries in New York tend to be significantly higher than national averages, which may be partially due to the state’s higher cost of living.

Mean Teaching Salaries in New York

  • Elementary School Teachers in New York: $82,590 per year
  • Secondary School Teachers in New York: $74,830 per year

(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019)

Resources for New York P.E. Teachers

Your path to becoming a New York P.E. teacher will not be without its challenges. The following resources can help you reach your goals and continue to grow and learn even after you begin your career.

New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance: This association of health, P.E., dance, and recreational teachers offers the support you may need as you grow into your role. They provide an annual conference, curriculum assessment, and job listings.

PE Central: Explicitly designed for physical education teachers, this site offers a range of resources including lesson plans, assessments, help with classroom management, professional development, and more.

ThePhysicalEducator.com This website offers a wealth of resources for physical education teachers, including skill posters, a Twitter chat, innovative game ideas, conferences, and more than 200 other free resources.

The PE Specialist: This site offers P.E. teachers the support they need to be better teachers and inspire their students. Resources include a podcast, weekly newsletter, and a blog.


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