The minimum requirement for physical education teachers is a bachelor's degree in health, physical education or a related field. Relevant classes include kinesiology, health and wellness and exercise physiology. Undergraduates will also take aerobics and similar sport-specific classes in addition to program courses focusing on teaching methods unique to P.E. classes. Most undergraduates will complete teaching internships as well.
As in any other teaching position, physical education teachers must obtain certification after graduating from a bachelor's degree program. Requirements vary by state, region and country, but typically candidate teachers must pass a standardized exam in order to qualify for a teaching position. Private schools may waive this requirement, but typically only if the candidate possesses many years of experience in a closely related profession.
For both legal and safety reasons, many institutions also require teachers to hold cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. Even in situations where this certification is not required, physical education teachers are highly conscious of safety procedures and methods of preventing injury during activities. They should also be highly observant, with a knack for recognizing when students are showing signs of heat stroke or other ailments.
In addition to a degree and certification, physical education teachers should be highly skilled in child care, supervision and psychology techniques. Good P.E. teachers know how to engage timid students, as well as how to tactfully discipline unruly students. Moreover, they have a positive attitude and easily handle all aspects of caring for and instructing large groups of students in organized activities.
In today's school systems, teachers might face overcrowded classes - some having an almost unmanageable amount of students. It is important in these situations that a physical education teacher have the ability to command students' attention while maintaining discipline and an overall positive classroom environment. Teachers must now also avoid "pick me" games that alienate some students as well as dodge ball games, which can result in physical and mental harm.