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The Florida school system remains the fourth largest school system in the United States, with more than 4,000 public schools and nearly 3 million students. Each school district in Florida is responsible for developing a physical education program that stresses active lifestyles and physical fitness.
Successfully complete the following steps to become a PE teacher in Florida:
In July 2012, the Florida Department of Education initiated revisions to its Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Physical Education, which outlines the content standards of a comprehensive physical education program.
The Florida Department of Education defines physical education as physical activities of at least a moderate intensity level and for a duration long enough to provide significant health benefits. Each of Florida’s school district boards must also ensure that students in kindergarten through fifth grade receive at least 150 minutes of physical education each week. Students in grades 6through 8 are required to have at least one class period per day of physical education for at least one semester each year.
Step 1. Complete a State-Approved Initial Teacher Preparation Program
The first step to becoming a physical education teacher in Florida is through the completion of an initial teacher preparation program, which includes a bachelor’s degree and a ten-week (minimum) field experience in a K-12 classroom setting.
There are currently 36 colleges and universities within Florida that have State-approved initial teacher preparation programs.
To qualify for certification, you must also possess a 2.5 GPA in all courses related to the physical education field of study.
Some of the courses typically found within a Florida approved physical education preparation program include:
- Administration of Physical Education
- Theory and Practice in Coaching
- Adaptive Physical Education/Physical Education for Exceptional Students
- Motor Development
- Applied Exercise Physiology
- Care and Prevention of Human Injuries
Step 2. Take the Required State Certification Examinations
Before you can apply for certification with the Florida Department of Education, you must successfully complete the following examinations:
Florida General Knowledge Test
The Florida General Knowledge test (GK) is a test of basic skills. It includes the following subtests:
- Essay subtest
- English Language Skills subtest – 40 multiple-choice questions
- Reading subtest – 40 multiple-choice questions
- Mathematics subtest – 45 multiple-choice questions
Each test has its own time limit:
- Essay subtest: 50 minutes
- ELS subtest: 40 minutes
- Reading subtest: 40 minutes
- Mathematics subtest: 1 hour and 40 minutes
You may take the GK tests by appointment, year-round. You must receive a scaled score of at least 200 per subset to pass the GK test.
You can view test preparation materials for the GK tests here.
Subject Area Knowledge Examination: Physical Education
The Subject Area Knowledge Examination in physical education assesses your knowledge of:
- Appropriate safety considerations, terminology, strategies, and rules
- Cognitive, social, and emotional development through physical education and physical activity
- Appropriate physical education movement skills and concepts
- Appropriate physical education strategies
- Human growth and development and motor learning as they relate to physical education
- Laws, liabilities, and legislation that pertain to physical education
- Lifetime health, wellness, and physical fitness
- Professional ethics, advocacy, and development
- Strategies that promote an effective learning environment
- The appropriate use of technology as related to physical education
- The history and philosophy of the physical education profession
- The standards-based physical education curriculum development
- Various types of assessment strategies that can be used to determine student levels and needs in physical education
The Subject Area Knowledge Examination is a computer-based test that includes about 120 multiple-choice questions. You will have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete this physical education examination, and you must receive a scaled score of at least 200 to pass.
The cost to take the exam is $200, which must be paid for online through Pearson.
Step 3. Apply for a Florida Educator’s Certificate
You can apply for a Florida educator certification once you have successfully completed both certification examinations. To apply for certification, you must complete the CG-10 Application Form and submit the application fee of $75 online.
You must also send in your official transcripts (not copies) to:
Florida Department of Education
Bureau of Educator Certification
Turlington Building, Rm 201
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Once your application for certification has been approved, the Florida Department of Education will send you an Official Statement of Status of Eligibility.
Your certificate is then issued after you get your fingerprints taken.
Step 4. Keep your Florida PE Teaching Certificate Current
Your teaching certificate for physical education is valid for a period of 3 years. During that time, you must complete 6 semester hours of college credit (with a C grade or better), much of which can be completed through Florida’s Educator Preparation Institutes. Professional development opportunities through Educator Preparation Institutes include:
- Workshops and conferences
- Regional training sessions
- iCPALMS Champions
- Custom webinars
- Online tutorials
You can also find a number of professional development and networking opportunities through PE Central or the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport.
To complete your certification renewal, you must request a district application from your district office and submit the completed application to your employing school district.
Just a few of the professional development seminars/courses for Florida physical education teachers that are available through the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport include:
- SPARK NEW’s for Middle and High School Physical Educators
- Cooperative Learning Activities Using Kagan and other Strategies
- Integration of the Common Core State Standards into Physical Education and Health Education
- Integration of the Common Core State Standards into Elementary Physical Education and Health
- Integrating Music, Moving, and Academics for Elementary Programs
Step 5. Apply for Employment as a Physical Education Teacher in Florida
To begin your job search for physical education teacher jobs in Florida, you can visit www.teachinflorida.com, a comprehensive website where you can seek employment opportunities, post your resume, and view job announcements that are submitted by school district personnel and principles.
Physical education teachers in Florida may work through a number of institutions, including:
- Traditional public schools (There are 67 public school districts in Florida.)
- Charter publics schools (public schools in Florida that are sponsored by the school district in which they reside)
- Non-public schools
- Florida virtual schools (statewide, internet-based, public schools)
Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Florida
Wages estimates for 2014 released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reveal an average annual Florida PE teacher salary of $69,641 and a median of $63,893. The entry-level salary is reported to be 51% less than the average at $34,006. However, PE teachers at the experienced level are reported averaging 20% more than the average at $87,460.
Given that salary among PE teachers is often different between cities and/or districts, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity also provides the following salary data by city:
Orlando – Kissimmee
Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach
Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent
West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach
Below is a salary table provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It reveals PE teacher salaries throughout Florida.