Online Certificate Programs in Teaching Physical Education

Apr 21, 2020

Overview of Online PE Teacher Certification

After completing their college degrees and teacher preparation programs, aspiring physical education (PE) teachers need to take a proficiency exam. Teacher certification requirements vary by state, but these nationwide exams are a common requirement: Pearson's National Evaluation Series (NES) physical education test and the ETS Praxis II physical education tests. These computer-based tests are taken onsite, but both Pearson and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) provide free access to their study guides and materials to aid exam takers in preparing. After receiving state certification, PE teachers must comply with state or school requirements for renewal, like earning continuing education units (CEUs).

PE Teacher Certification Requirements

There are many paths toward teacher certification, but these paths converge at taking proficiency tests. The study materials provided by Pearson and ETS help applicants revisit important PE concepts on anatomy, movement, and physical fitness.

Information and Requirements

The typical route to receive a teaching credential is to secure a bachelor's degree and complete teacher training, take a proficiency exam, and submit these records to a state agency. Prior to registering for the Praxis II or NES test, applicants must check the certification requirements of their respective states. Among these specifications is which test score is used by the state as a measure of a potential educator's proficiency in PE. After confirming, applicants need to register for and schedule their exam(s) through an online portal, by phone, or by mail. The training and knowledge applicants receive while earning their bachelor's degrees are already enough to help them pass the proficiency exams, but it is recommended that they still review and prepare themselves, as these exams are structured and timed.

The ETS offers two Praxis subject tests for physical education. These tests are administered continuously or during set testing windows, depending on which test examinees have to take. Test-takers have two hours to complete either exam. The NES test, on the other hand, offers one selected-response exam that should be finished in three hours.

Additional Requirements

While certified PE teachers do not need to retake the proficiency tests every few years or so, state agencies usually require them to obtain continuing education units (CEUs) throughout their practice of the profession. These CEUs may be earned by attending seminars and conferences or by attending graduate school (for a master's degree). Each state has a different set of requirements that PE teachers must be acquainted with.

Online Praxis II and NES Test Preparation Information

The two exams offered by Praxis are the Physical Education: Content Knowledge (test code 5091) and Physical Education: Content and Design (test code 5095). They feature varying formats, with the Content Knowledge exam consisting of selected-response questions (120 items) and the Content and Design exam including 90 selected-response questions and two constructed-response items. The NES Physical Education test has 150 multiple-choice questions.

Study companions and study plans are provided by ETS on its website. Study companions contain overviews of the Praxis test, test specifications or study topics, test-taking strategies, sample questions and guides on how to answer them, and frequently asked questions. Study plans are matrices that the test-taker fills up to track their progress. ETS also offers priced mock exams that are accessible for 90 days.

Study materials available on the NES website include general preparation materials that discuss the structure and content of the NES test, videos and tutorials, and sample questions. A study guide and mock exam are available for purchase.

Career Outlook After PE Teacher Certification

Physical education teachers may work at the elementary and high school levels of education. While it does not track salary stats for PE teachers specifically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median salary for high school teachers to be $60,320 in 2018 and projected an employment growth of 4% from 2018-2028. For elementary school teachers, the yearly median salary was $58,230, and employment was projected to grow 3%.

Proficiency tests like the Praxis II and NES test are a common requirement for PE teachers regardless of the state. These tests are taken onsite, but applicants can prepare for them using the materials available on the ETS and NES websites.

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