How to become a Teacher - Physical Education

Physical education (PE) teachers instruct students in sports, recreational activities and healthy lifestyle issues, in order to encourage and develop physical fitness and skills, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.

Personal requirements of a Teacher - Physical Education

  • Enjoy and have skills in physical activity
  • Enthusiastic, patient and tactful
  • Enjoy working with young people
  • Good communication skills
  • Commitment to personal health and physical fitness
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours

Education & Training for a Teacher - Physical Education

To become a PE teacher you usually have to complete a degree in education, with a major in health and physical education or human movement. Alternatively, you could complete a relevant degree (such as human movement), followed by a postgraduate qualification in education or teaching. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree as well as teaching experience or a background in the sports, fitness or recreation industries. A number of universities in Australia offer postgraduate courses in education or teaching. They are also available by distance education. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - Physical Education

PE teachers in secondary schools may perform the following tasks:

  • undertake general teaching tasks (see the separate entry for Teacher - Secondary)
  • prepare a year-long program of learning experiences that link physical activities with issues related to health and wellbeing
  • teach a range of elective and senior courses depending on the needs and interests of their students
  • teach the basic techniques and skills associated with team and individual sports, dance, gymnastics, athletics, aquatics and recreational activities such as canoeing and bushwalking
  • plan and deliver activities to assist students’ skill progression
  • teach students about community and personal health issues, including nutrition, sexuality, drug use and sexual health
  • instruct students in the safety practices associated with different environments, including swimming pools, gymnasiums and playing fields
  • coordinate special events such as inter-school sports programs, swimming and athletic carnivals and lifesaving programs
  • present special days and seminars for senior students on various topics such as stress management, study skills and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • conduct compulsory health education programs that prepare students for life outside of school.

Working conditions for a Teacher - Physical Education

Most PE teachers work in secondary schools and are usually qualified to teach at least one other subject.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - Physical Education

PE teachers are employed in government and non-government schools. Entry to this field is competitive but prospects are better for those willing to take up positions in non-metropolitan areas. There are some opportunities for relief or part-time work. People with qualifications in physical education may also be employed in the leisure industry (as fitness instructors or managers of recreation centres, for example).

Additional Information
Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
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