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Physical Education Degrees in Pennsylvania

To reach their full potential, children don’t just need education in academic subjects, social skills, and emotional health, but in physical well-being too—in fact, it’s an essential part of their development. Physically healthy children have more energy, focus better in the classroom, and are less likely to have long-term health problems as adults. Physical education teachers in Pennsylvania have the unique expectations of teaching theory and monitoring the health of their students, as the state is standards-based rather than minutes-based on their class expectations and requires yearly student body mass index (BMI) reporting. If you are especially interested in helping students understand the nuances of fitness and health and are excited about having empathetic conversations about nutrition, teaching P.E. in Pennsylvania may be the perfect career for you.

Getting Your Physical Education Degree in Pennsylvania

A lot goes into a successful teaching career, and completing an accredited teacher education program is a great way to develop the skills you’ll need to thrive. Upon completion, you should be able to plan and execute fitness activities, utilize a wide range of instructional strategies, and create inclusive environments that keep your students engaged. For most aspiring P.E. teachers, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education is the best way to gain these skills and provides a solid foundation for your teaching career.

Steps to Becoming a P.E. Teacher in Pennsylvania

There are three main routes to becoming a P.E. teacher in Pennsylvania. You can follow a traditional degree program, an intern program, or a , with many of the courses offered at Pennsylvania schools intended explicitly for physical education teaching students.

  • Traditional Program: This is the best method for those who do not yet have a bachelor’s degree. In order to gain your bachelor’s degree in physical education, you will be required to earn at least 120 credits over four to five years. Rather than solely conducting practical teaching experience at the end of your degree, your college will likely send you to local schools multiple times throughout your education. This enables you to grow steadily as a teacher, use feedback to make improvements, and utilize new ideas as you learn.
  • Intern Program: If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another specialization, then participating in an intern program may be the best option for you. This method allows you to obtain a full-time teaching position without having to go back to school for a master’s degree or an additional bachelor’s degree. You will still take coursework and will complete an internship before earning your teaching certification.
  • Post-baccalaureate or graduate program: For those who already have a bachelor’s in an unrelated field, earning a master’s degree or pursuing post-baccalaureate studies (such as programs that would lead to a second bachelor’s degree) is an option to qualifying for P.E. teaching. If your undergraduate degree was not related to physical education, completing a relevant certification program will be required as part of your studies. This will allow you to take classes with a stronger focus on P.E. and includes focused testing and student teaching.

Subjects Studied During a Physical Education Degree

As part of your physical education degree curriculum, you will cover the same basic course information as all other teachers, including child development, working with kids with special needs, and classroom management. However, your studies will also cover a range of specialized information, such as:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: This topic focuses on the various parts of the human body, including the skeletal system, nervous system, digestive system, and how the different body parts interact with each other. As a P.E. teacher, it’s vital to have a good understanding of human anatomy to avoid injury and ensure the safety of yourself and your students.
  • Health Science: This topic covers the science behind good health, including how to improve physical well-being and understand how human beings function.
  • Mechanical Kinesiology: This is the study of how the physical laws of mechanics apply to the movement of the human body.
  • PE Teaching and Assessing Strategies: This topic covers effective, engaging, and motivational assessment strategies for physical education.
  • Physical Conditioning: This topic will cover the safe and healthy development of physical fitness through exercise and the adaptation of the body.

Physical Education Teacher Training Programs in Pennsylvania

Several universities throughout Pennsylvania offer physical education teaching programs—a full list of approved standard certification and alternative certification programs can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website. Below, we’ve included a brief overview of some of the courses available, detailing what makes each program unique and the average tuition costs you can expect to pay.

East Stroudsburg University (ESU)

The Department of Physical Education at ESU’s B.S. programs in physical education and health education are endorsed by both the National Association of Sport and Physical Education and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. The degrees lead to Commonwealth teaching certificates in health education (P-12) and health and physical education (P-12). Full-time undergraduate resident students can expect to pay from $3,858 per semester for this program.

Eastern University

Eastern University’s health and physical education graduate certification program leads adult learners to become Pennsylvania-certified teachers from grades K-12. This program can be combined with the college’s various Master of Education programs for those seeking to advance their careers. Full-time undergraduate students can expect to pay from $16,652 per semester for this program.

Wilson College

Students taking the Bachelor of Arts degree in health and physical education at Wilson College study contemporary trends in education, develop their knowledge of health and physical education, and practice updated teaching methods. Coursework revolves around essential topics in exercise and health and allows students to obtain real classroom experience through observation and teaching. Full-time undergraduate students can expect to pay from $24,450 per year for this program.

What does a Physical Education Teacher in PA Do?

The role of P.E. teachers has changed a lot over the years. Physical education was once seen as just a recreational break from the classroom. However, research now shows that physical education strengthens academic performance and leads to healthier, happier children.

Students feel pressure from an early age to excel both in and out of school, and physical activity has been shown to help regulate these stress levels. By guiding students in their physical education and giving them healthy activities to focus on, P.E. teachers can help to ease the pressure.

Taking part in team activities such as sports is also beneficial, helping to grow students’ confidence and build lasting relationships. P.E. teachers often take the lead in organizing and coaching sports teams, planning student events, and serving as faculty advisors for student clubs. They guide K-12 students to meet the state standards of physical education and work with diverse populations to ensure a good standard of health and fitness throughout.

Licensure, Career Outlook, and Salary for P.E. Teachers in Pennsylvania

The final step in becoming a P.E. teacher is applying for a license. The degree program you follow should cover all of the topics included in your licensing exams, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education will verify your training hours. You’ll also need to achieve a passing score on the Praxis II Physical Education Content Knowledge test.

While the job growth and salary data for P.E. teachers in Pennsylvania are not separated out from data for Pennsylvania teachers of other subjects, the overall outlook of teaching as a career in Pennsylvania is strong. Job growth for teachers in Pennsylvania is higher than the national average, predicted to be 5% between 2016-2026 in elementary schools and 6% in secondary schools. The statistics for wages are also positive, with teachers in many areas of the state earning significantly above the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Mean Teaching Salaries in Pennsylvania

  • Elementary School Teachers in PA: $66,860 (BLS)
  • Secondary School Teachers in PA: $64,830 (BLS)

Resources for Pennsylvania P.E. Teachers

Whether you’re about to begin your physical education teaching career or are already established, there are many resources available. The following may prove useful, whatever stage of your career you’re at:

  • Pennsylvania State Education Association: PSEA is a community of over 181,000 education professionals, including teachers, nurses, retirees, and educational students. Members receive salary and benefit protection, legal resources, and a variety of development opportunities.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education: The state department’s website hosts several different services, including the latest educational news, information on educational programs running within the state, classroom resources, and more.
  • ThePhysicalEducator.com: This online resource is for physical education teachers and health specialists, offering classroom posters, games, informational blog posts, and more.
  • Physical Education Central: A popular aid for P.E. teachers, this group provides physical educators with information and ideas to help them succeed. They are rich in lesson plans, ideas for bulletin boards, and a variety of other resources.

Find out more about physical education degrees now by reaching out to Pennsylvania colleges and universities below.

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