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How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in California

To become a physical education teacher in California and maintain licensure, complete these five steps:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and an Approved Teacher Preparation Program
Verify Subject Matter Competence
Apply for your Initial California Teaching Credential
Apply for a Clear Credential
Maintain your PE Teaching Credential

The California Board of Education’s Physical Education Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve is a resource for the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards-based physical education programs and instruction. This framework focuses on:

  • A standards-based lesson structure
  • Standards-based report cards
  • A greater emphasis on time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity
  • Current research references
  • A stronger focus on student learning and the needs of the learner

The Physical Education Framework, which was adopted by the California State Board of Education in September 2008, is designed to reinforce the importance of physical education. The model content standards allow physical education teachers in California to identify what each student should know and be capable of doing.

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and an Approved Teacher Preparation Program

To become a physical education teacher in California, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree program from an accredited college or university.

From there, you may pursue three different types of teacher preparation programs:

  • Blended programs: If you know you want to become a physical education teacher early on in your bachelor’s degree program, you may choose to pursue a “blended” program, which combines coursework for your bachelor’s degree and your teaching credential, and includes a student teaching experience component.
  • Post-baccalaureate programs: If you are a graduate from a bachelor’s degree program, and you have decided you want to become a physical education teacher in California, you may choose to pursue a post-baccalaureate program, a fifth-year approach that consists of two to three semesters of coursework and student teaching experience. Some programs culminate in a master’s degree.
  • Alternative Certification or Intern Programs: If you have completed your bachelor’s degree and met all requirements regarding subject matter competency, you may begin working as a physical education teacher in California while you work toward completing a district or university alternative certification program, a specialized program that allows you to teach under supervision while you complete coursework on teaching theory and techniques.

You can find a comprehensive list of all teacher preparation programs by visiting the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

The culmination of a teacher preparation program in California is a student teaching experience. Upon the completion of the student teaching component of the program, you will receive a formal recommendation to be credentialed in California from the college or university where you completed your program.


 

Step 2. Verify Subject Matter Competence

Completing a subject matter program in physical education is one of two ways that you can demonstrate your subject matter competency to become certified as a physical education teacher in California.

However, if your bachelor’s program did NOT include a subject matter-approved program, you must achieve competency in your field of study (physical education) by achieving a passing score on the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), which is administered by Evaluation Systems, Group of Pearson.

The CSET: Physical Education exam consists of three subtests:

  • Subtest I: Growth, motor development, and motor learning, the science of human movement; 40 multiple choice and 2 constructed-response questions
  • Subtest II: The sociology and psychology of human movement, movement concepts and forms, and assessment and evaluation principles; 40 multiple choice and 2 constructed-response questions
  • Subtest III: Professional foundations and integration of concepts; 40 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed response question

You may register for and take all three tests on the same day. The CSET is available only as a paper-based test. The cost of the CSET is $69 per subtest, and you must achieve a score of 220 to pass the test. You can view test preparation information, upcoming testing dates, and register for the test here.

You may also contact Pearson at 916-928-4003 with any questions you have regarding the CSET: Physical Education exam.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for your Initial California Teaching Credential

You can complete the application process through the Commissioner on Teaching Credential’s online system. You can view detailed directions on the online process here and the fee schedule here. An initial teaching credential is valid for a period of 5 years and is not renewable (see Step 4).

You may also download and print the Application for Credential and mail it, along with all supporting documents, to:

State of California
Commission on Teacher Credentialing
ATTN: Applications
1900 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, California 95811-4213

 


 

Step 4. Apply for a Clear Credential in Physical Education

The initial credential to teach in California expires after 5 years. To earn a clear credential that is renewable every 5 years, you must successfully complete an induction program and apply for a clear credential.

Teaching physical education in California requires a Secondary Teaching (Single Subject) Teaching Credential. You must earn a “clear” credential by completing either:

  • A Commission-approved General Education Induction Program and submitting an application for a clear credential through the Induction program sponsor; OR
  • A General Education Clear program and submitting an application through the Clear Credential program sponsor

 


 

Step 5. Maintain your PE Teaching Credential

You must renew your teaching credential every 5 years. The renewal process, like the initial application process, can be completed online through the Commissioner on Teaching Credential’s website.

To qualify for the renewal of your credential, you will be evaluated on your Professional Fitness, which involves the examination of your background by The Commission; this process includes assessing:

  • Any instances of teacher misconduct
  • Reports from school districts
  • Previous reviews by the Commission
  • Your answers to the Professional Fitness Questions
  • Reports of violations of teacher preparation programs
  • Any complaints received

As of July 1, 2012, all continuing education requirements for teachers in California have been eliminated. Instead, all school districts in California must offer professional development as part of their school district committee plan.

The California Board of Education’s Physical Education Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve is designed to aid in developing, implementing, and evaluating California’s physical education programs and their efficacy in teaching.

You may find a wealth of professional and industry information and networking opportunities and stay connected with issues affecting the profession through the following:


Phys Ed Teacher Salary in California

It has been found by the California Employment Development Department that the median California PE teacher salary during 2013 was $88,230. This is significant in that it exceeds the national median set forth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is $57,690, by nearly 35%.

One other factor indicating good pay in California among PE teachers is the 2010 salary study done by the National Education Association. The study found that California ranked as the 2nd highest paying state nationwide when it came to average teacher salaries. So, it’s fair to say that California is one of the highest paying areas in the country for teachers.

It is worth noting, however, that salary will generally vary by location. Here is a look at the median PE teacher salaries across California as provided by the California Employment Development Department:

Fresno County: $75,669

Inland Empire Area: $107,960
(Riverside County and San Bernardino County)

Los Angeles County: $91,819

North Coast Region: $72,607
(Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino)

Orange County: $92,320
(Anaheim, Santa Ana)

Sacramento Metro: $63,185

San Benito and Santa Clara Counties: $76,857
(San Juan Bautista, San Jose, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale)
The salary table shown below is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It further details salary figures among PE teachers in California:

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division
650
78950
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA
910
88420
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
210
95520
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville CA
110
73210
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
120
67280
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA Metropolitan Division
260
121280

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