How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Iowa

If you want to become a physical education teacher in Iowa, you must complete the following steps:

Complete an Approved Course of Study
Complete all Required Praxis Examinations
Apply for an Initial Iowa PE Teacher License
Renew your PE Teacher Educator License

The Iowa Department of Education, through the Iowa Administrative Code, ensure that physical education instruction includes movement experiences and body mechanics; stunts and tumbling; fitness activities; rhythmic activities; simple games and relays; water safety; and sports skills and activities.

Iowa has established a core set of state requirements for physical education curriculum; however, it is up each district to develop their own content standards, provided they incorporate state standards. In 2008, Iowa developed and mandated the Iowa Core for all Iowa schools, which requires physical education at all levels.



Step 1. Complete an Approved Course of Study

The minimum educational requirement for becoming a physical education teacher in Iowa is a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

But beyond a four-year degree, you must successfully complete an approved PE teacher preparation program, whether at the bachelor or post-bachelor level.

Some PE teacher preparation programs are offered as blended programs that include not only a bachelor’s degree, but also all educational requirements needed for licensure in Iowa, including coursework in the professional education core, a student teaching experience, and the following coursework in the content area:

At least 24 semester hours in physical education, including:

  • Adaptive physical education
  • Curriculum, assessment, and administration of physical education
  • Emergency care
  • First aid
  • Human anatomy
  • Human growth and development
  • Human physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Personal wellness

You can view a directory of approved teacher preparation programs in Iowa here.

Non-Traditional Licensure: Teacher Intern License

If you possess a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 from a regionally accredited institution, you may qualify for the Teacher Intern Program (for secondary teachers only) if you meet the subject matter course requirements for a secondary teaching endorsement in physical education (see above) and if you have at least five years of experience in an area related to physical education.

You must complete the Teacher Intern Program through an Iowa State Board of Education-approved university or college. The intern program consists of all introductory pedagogy coursework, as well as 60 contact hours of field experience with students and 6 credits of seminar during your internship year.

Upon completing the introductory intern program, you will serve in a one-year internship, during which time you will engage in extensive supervision and participation in a state-approved mentoring and induction program.

Upon completing the internship, you need only complete the required examinations (See Step 2) in order to be eligible for PE teacher jobs in Iowa.

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Step 2. Complete all Required Praxis Examinations

Praxis testing in Iowa is required to receive an initial PE teacher license. You must take and pass:

  • Physical Education: Content and Design K-8 or Physical Education: Content and Design 5-12
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Pedagogy test; choose one:
    • Early childhood
    • Grades K-6
    • Grades 5-9
    • Grades 7-12

The physical education content examination is broken down into the following topics:

  • Core concepts (terminology, principles, and applications of basic sciences as they relate to motor skills and movement activities; principles of biomechanics and kinesiology; movement concepts; exercise physiology; anatomy and physiology; current trends and developments in physical education; liability and legal considerations, etc.)
  • Student growth and development (developmentally appropriate learning opportunities; individual performance; developmental readiness; perception in motor development, etc.)
  • Management and motivation (classroom management practices; physiological and social factors that affect learning; organization and allocation of resources; motivation of students to participate in physical activity, etc.)
  • Planning and instruction (teaching skillful movement and physical activity; sequencing of motor skill activities; activities designed to improve health-related and skill-related fitness; etc.)
  • Communication (verbal and nonverbal communication skills; instructional feedback; communication of classroom management and instructional information, etc.)
  • Student assessment (assessment of student skill performance; understanding fitness assessments; types of assessments and assessment methods, etc.)
  • Reflection
  • Technology (design, development, and implementation of student learning activities, use of technologies to communicate, etc.)
  • Instructional design (fitness instruction, skill instruction)

You can view upcoming test dates and test center locations here. Registration instructions can be found here.



Step 3. Apply for an Initial Iowa PE Teacher License

Your initial educator license in Iowa is valid for a period of 2 years. You must complete the Application for Licensure, or the Out-of-State Application for Licensure if you completed your teacher preparation program in another state.

  • The fee for in-state applicants is $85, along with $65 for the background check.
  • The fee for out-of-state applicants is $210, along with $65 for the background check.

All checks or money orders should be made payable to the Board of Educational Examiners. All applications and required documentation must be sent to:

Board of Educational Examiners Licensure
400 East 14th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319



Step 4. Renew your PE Teacher Educator License

Your initial educator license is valid for two years, during which time you must successfully complete six college credits or achieve at least two years of teaching experience.

A standard license, which is valid for five years, requires at least three years of successful teaching experience. The master educator license, which is valid for five years, requires the completion of at least five years of teaching experience and a master’s degree in a program related to physical education (the focus must be on school curriculum or instruction).

License renewals in Iowa may be submitted either as a paper application or may be completed online.

All applications and renewal instructions can be found here.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Iowa

Occupational wage data published on the Iowa Workforce Information Network, which is the online portal of the Iowa Workforce Development, shows that there is an average phys ed teacher salary in Iowa of $58,830. The median is 7.2% lower at $54,560. The lowest bracket of salaries is between $34,430 and $41,370, which likely represents starting salaries among new phys ed teachers. Experienced phys ed teachers are likely to be earning in the top 75th and 90th percentile brackets at $75,370 and $91,430 respectively.

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One of the most important ways to look at salary is geographically, which is shown below with salary data provided by the Iowa Workforce Information Network:

Council Bluffs

Average: $47,170
Median: $30,410
Bottom 10th Percentile: $16,690
Bottom 25th Percentile: $18,490
Top 75th Percentile: $73,920
Top 90th Percentile: $95,610
Northeast Iowa

(Allamakee, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Hardin, Howard, Mitchell, Winneshiek, and Worth Counties)

Average: $52,740
Median: $48,470
Bottom 10th Percentile: $38,890
Bottom 25th Percentile: $42,400
Top 75th Percentile: $59,670
Top 90th Percentile: $77,380
Additional salary figures are shown in the table below:

Area name
Annual median wage
Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area