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How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Washington D.C.

To become a physical education teacher in Washington, D.C., you must be prepared to complete the following steps:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and Approved Teacher Preparation Program
Pass the Praxis Exams for Licensure
Apply for Licensure as a Physical Education Teacher
Maintain your License to Teach Physical Education

The State Board of Education provides policy leadership, advocacy, and support of the public education system in the District of Columbia, which includes developing and maintaining physical education standards.

Physical education standards are grouped into five categories:

  • Safe and responsible personal and social behavior
  • Promotion of a physically active lifestyle
  • Movement concepts and principles
  • Health-enhancing level of fitness
  • Competency in physical skills

Standards specific to each grade level, from kindergarten through eighth grade, are developed in accordance with each of these categories (known as strands). When students reach high school, their physical education studies allow them to integrate what they had learned up until that point. As such, physical education for high school students is organized into three categories:

  • Competency in physical skills
  • Health-enhancing level of fitness
  • Safe and responsible personal and social behavior

The State Board of Education and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education encourage all physical education teachers to set a goal of at least 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day) of physical education instruction at the elementary level and at least 225 minutes (45 minutes per day) at the middle and high school levels. These standards are equivalent to the daily physical education recommendation set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the National Association for State Boards of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control.

 


 

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

To become a physical education teacher in Washington D.C., you must complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Completing an Approved Teacher Preparation Program

If you do not currently possess a bachelor’s degree, you may choose to complete an approved teacher preparation program. Of the State-approved educator preparation programs in Washington D.C., four feature physical education degrees. You can view a directory of State-Approved Educator Preparation Programs here.

Approved health and physical education programs include the following content and teacher education coursework.

In addition to the general education requirements of a physical education bachelor’s degree program, approved programs in physical education include 52 semester hours in:

    • Scientific Foundations (15 semester hours), which may include:
      • Anatomy and physiology
      • Growth and motor development
      • Physiology of exercise
      • Motor learning
      • Biomechanics/kinesiology
      • Behavioral science/psychology
      • Chemistry

 

    • Historical and Sociological Foundations (6 semester hours), which may include:
      • History/principles/introduction to school
      • Sociological foundations of education and/or sports
      • History/philosophy/principles of physical education
      • History of Black Americans in sports
      • Sport psychology

 

    • Health and Safety (15 semester hours), which may include:
      • First aid and CPR certification
      • Health appraisals and referrals/athletic injuries
      • Effects of substance and drug prevention education
      • Human sexuality/family life and sexuality
      • Nutrition education
      • Chronic, degenerative illnesses, communicable and non-communicable diseases
      • Nutrition education
      • School, environmental, community and consumer health

 

    • Motor skill performance/fitness (7 semester hours), which may include:
      • Dance and rhythmic activities
      • Fundamental skills
      • Games
      • Gymnastics
      • Individual/team sports
      • Fitness/wellness exercise science
      • Aquatics/swimming/water safety/life guarding

 

  • Pedagogy specific to elementary health and physical education (12 semester hours), which may include:
    • Organization and administration of health and physical education
    • Assessment and evaluation in health and physical education or research and statistics in health or physical education
    • Coaching and officiating
    • Adaptive physical education of teaching the exceptional child

Completing a Bachelor’s Degree

If you possess a bachelor’s degree from a school other than those listed as offering approved teacher preparation programs, you may still be eligible to obtain a license to become a PE teacher in Washington D.C.

To do so, you must pass all related examinations (See Step 2), enroll in a state-approved post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program (which may result in a graduate certificate), and apply for a Regular I license (See Step 3). A Regular I license is only valid for a period of 2 years and is non-renewable. Upon completing the teacher preparation program, you must apply for a Regular II license.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Praxis Exams for Licensure

To become a licensed physical education teacher in Washington, D.C., you must successfully complete the following exams after completing your bachelor’s program and student teaching component:

  • All portions of the PRAXIS I (reading, writing, mathematics)
  • The PRAXIS II Content Knowledge and Pedagogy exams in Principles of Learning and Teaching

You must first pass the PRAXIS I, which includes testing in reading, writing, and mathematics. To pass this initial PRAXIS exam, you must receive the following minimum scores:

  • Reading: 156
  • Writing: 162
  • Mathematics: 150

The second portion of the Praxis is the Content Knowledge and Pedagogy exam. You must take the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam that corresponds to the grade level at which you will be teaching. To pass the PRAXIS II exam, you must receive the following minimum score:

  • Early childhood: 157
  • Grades K-6: 160
  • Grades 5-9: 160
  • Grades 7-12: 157

You must register and pay for the Praxis exams on the Praxis Series website. The test may be taken as a computer exam or a paper exam. Both registration options are available on the website, as are a host of exam preparation materials.

Be sure to choose your upcoming exam date and time before registering.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Licensure as a Physical Education Teacher

To apply for licensure as a physical education teacher in Washington D.C., you must complete the following:

You must also include an application processing fee of $50 (money or cashier’s check made payable to DC Treasurer) and your official transcripts (sealed) with your application for licensure. All materials should be mailed to:

State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
810 1st Street Northeast
Ninth floor
Washington, D.C. 20002

You can also contact the OSSE at 202-727-6436 or at osse@dc.gov if you have any questions or need guidance regarding the licensure process.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain your License to Teach Physical Education

To renew your standard (Regular II) teaching license in Washington D.C., you must submit evidence that you completed the following professional development activities within the past 4 years:

  • At least 6 semester hours; OR
  • At least 90 contact hours; OR
  • A combination of the two

You must be able to provide evidence that your professional development activities include at least 3 semester hours and/or 45 clock hours in topics directly related to physical education.

Acceptable professional development activities include:

  • Coursework from an accredited institution
  • Workshops, conferences, or seminars sponsored by an education or professional organization, such as:
    • Washington Teachers Union
    • American Federation of Teachers
    • National Staff Development Council
    • National Athletic Trainers Association

Your renewal must include the completion of a nationwide criminal history report. To renew your physical education teacher license in Washington D.C., you must complete and submit:

Your renewal must be mailed to:

State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
810 1st Street Northeast
Ninth floor
Washington, D.C. 20002


Phys Ed Teacher Salary in District of Columbia

The U.S. Department of Labor reports an average annual physical education teacher salary in DC of $69,190. Nationally, the average has been reported to be $63,770, so PE teachers in DC are earning roughly 8% more than their national counterparts.

The District of Columbia Public Schools reports that the salary of PE teachers is calculated by years of full-time teaching service and level of education. The difference between the very first step with the lowest level of education and the highest respectively is 51.6%, so there is a lot of financial potential. Here is an overview of their salary schedule:

Bachelor’s Degree

1 Year: $51,539
2 Years: $51,716
3 Years: $52,777
4 Years: $54,725
5 Years: $56,655
8 Years: $63,517
11 Years: $70,891
13-14 Years: $75,816
16 Years: $81,724
Master’s Degree or Bachelor’s Plus 30 Credits

1 Year: $54,975
2 Years: $56,242
3 Years: $58,699
4 Years: $61,158
5 Years: $63,611
10 Years: $78,273
13-14 Years: $87,431
16 Years: $95,366
17 Years: $96,460
19 Years: $98,285
21+ Years: $100,839
PhD or Master’s Degree Plus 60 Credits

1 Year: $60,128
2 Years: $61,158
3 Years: $63,611
4 Years: $66,078
5 Years: $68,537
10 Years: $83,199
13-14 Years: $92,613
16 Years: $101,066
17 Years: $102,160
19 Years: $103,985
21+ Years: $106,540
In table below is additional salary information about PE teachers working in the District of Columbia:

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
190
80360
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV
190
79480

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