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How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is responsible for issuing PE teacher licenses in the state. The department ensures excellence with a unique teacher evaluation system that is found nowhere else in the country. This evaluation system enforces the high standards set by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Follow these steps to learn how to become a PE teacher in Massachusetts:

Complete a Massachusetts PE Teacher Education Program
Complete the Required PE Teacher Licensing Tests
Apply for a Massachusetts PE Teaching License
Maintain and Upgrade Your Massachusetts PE Teaching License

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Massachusetts PE Teacher Education Program

Although there are several pathways to become a PE teacher in Massachusetts, common among all of them is at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of physical education.

Traditional Route to PE Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

The most direct route to physical education jobs in Massachusetts is to select an in-state bachelor’s degree program that is designed to culminate in a PE teaching license. Programs of this sort will include an approved educator preparation program.

The first portion of such a program will begin with courses that cover the basics in the field of physical education:

  • Human biology
  • Musculo-skeletal system
  • Circulatory system
  • Physical injuries
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Sports psychology
  • Kinesiology
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Motor skill development

As you progress in your PE education degree you will enter the second phase that focuses on teacher preparation. This will focus on pedagogy, lesson planning, and effective PE teaching methods. A major portion of this segment will be student teaching, where you will be placed in a PE teaching environment under the supervision and direction of an experienced PE teacher. Student teaching will typically last months, over which time you will be able to mold and adapt your lesson planning and teaching style based on the response of your students and feedback from your instructor.

Non-Traditional Route to PE Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers several additional paths to becoming a certified PE teacher:

  • If you have already completed at least a bachelor’s degree related to physical education that did not include an educator preparation program you have three options:

If you are a prospective PE teacher from outside of Massachusetts you have three additional options:

  • Complete an educator preparation program that is part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement with Massachusetts
  • Have three years of certified teaching experience in your home state, which must have signed the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement with Massachusetts
  • Complete an educator preparation program that is accredited by the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education)


 

Step 2. Complete the Required PE Teacher Licensing Tests

Although you do not have to complete these tests before you apply for your Massachusetts PE teaching license, you will have to pass these before your license will be issued in most cases. As a prospective PE teacher in Massachusetts you will be concerned with two tests, sponsored by the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL):

  • Communication and Literacy Skills Test
  • Physical Education Subject Matter Test

Details on both of the tests can be found here.

You can register for both these tests on the MTEL website.

Communication and Literacy Skills Test

The Communication and Literacy Skills Test will evaluate your basic abilities in these critical areas. The test is divided into two segments, with the corresponding practice tests available for study:

You can also find an overview of this test, which is organized as follows:

    • Reading subtest – 42 multiple-choice questions:
      • Meaning of phrases and words
      • Supporting details and main ideas
      • Summarizing, outlining, and graph interpretation
      • Critical thinking
      • Patterns among ideas
      • Writer’s point of view and purpose

 

  • Writing subtest – 35 multiple-choice, 7 sentence corrections, and 2 open response questions
    • Revising sentences with errors
    • Establishing and maintaining a main idea
    • Sentence construction and grammar usage
    • Capitalization, spelling, and punctuation
    • Summary open-response
    • Composition open-response

Physical Education Test

You can also find a practice PE test online as well as an overview of the test. You will have four hours to complete this test. The exam is comprised of 100 multiple-choice and two open-response questions in the following sections, each worth 20 percent of your overall score:

  • Motor learning and physical development
  • Movement activities
  • Principles of physical fitness
  • Physical education program
  • Integration of knowledge and understanding – short answer

 


 

Step 3. Apply for a Massachusetts PE Teaching License

Once you have met the necessary requirements you can apply for an Initial License online or with a paper application. Make sure to designate the field of your employment as Physical Education.

If applying online you will use the system known as ELAR (Educator Licensing and Recruitment). Because of a high volume of applications you may not hear any news about your application for 14 weeks. The teaching license application costs $100.

Once you receive your Initial License you will have met all the eligibility requirements for PE teacher jobs in Massachusetts and you can start your search for employment. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains a useful Careers in Education website where you can find PE teacher job vacancies posted for districts all across the state.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Massachusetts PE Teaching License

An Initial License is valid for five years and may be renewed only once for an additional five years. To renew this you must submit proof of continuous employment as a PE teacher over the past five years as well as a written statement saying you plan to complete the requirements to obtain a Professional License.

After holding an Initial License for three years you are eligible to upgrade to a Professional License. To do this you will need to maintain good moral conduct and completed a teacher induction program. Teacher induction programs partner you with an experienced mentor figure and support network to provide you with as many resources as possible to allow you to be an effective PE teacher satisfied with your career.

To renew your Professional License you will need to earn the requisite amount of Professional Development Points (PDPs) as laid out in your Professional Development Plan.

Professional Development Plan

Three months after you receive your Professional License you will need to develop a Professional Development Plan. This is something you must create that sets the course for you to renew your Professional License on time.

Once you have developed this plan you will need to have it approved by your direct supervisor, in most cases the school principal. To gain the required approval of your plan, you must ensure that 80 percent of its PDPs align with the overall educational goals of the school where you are employed.

Your Professional Development Plan will be reviewed at least every two years to confirm that you are meeting the benchmarks you have established for yourself and that your PDPs are still aligned with the schools goals.

Valid Professional Development Points (PDPs) can be earned in the following ways:

  • Completion of a professional development activity with a final assessment that demonstrates you have improved your understanding in the field of physical education
  • Completion of an activity designated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as conferring a PDP
  • Completion of educator-designed professional development activity that is approved by the Department
  • Pass a test developed or approved by the Board of Education in the PE field
  • Complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs) approved by the IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training) in the field of physical education
  • You cannot earn PDPs by attending professional PE conferences

The regulations regarding PDPs are changing on July 1st, 2016. Until this time, to renew a license you will need to earn:

  • At least 150 PDPs, with at least 120 in content or pedagogy directly related to physical education
  • At least 10 PDPs in a single topic area related to PE

On or after July 1st, 2016 you will need to earn at least 150 PDPs, divided among the following topics:

  • At least 90 PDPs directly pertaining to the field of PE or pedagogy, with at least 60 of these specifically relating to PE
  • At least 15 PDPs relating to SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) or ESL (English as a Second Language)
  • At least 15 PDPs relating to instructing students with disabilities and diverse learning styles
  • At least 10 PDPs in a single topic area related to PE

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains a valuable online resource dedicated to professional development.


Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Massachusetts

Salary data released by the Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development reveals an average physical education teacher salary in Massachusetts of $68,420. The median statewide is 2% less at $66,920. The average starting salary is $42,980 while the average experienced-level salary is 47% higher at $81,140.

One other way in which to examine salary is geographically, as seen below. This is based on local data released by the Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development:

Boston/Cambridge/Quincy

Median: $70,780
Entry: $48,110
Average: $70,130
Experienced: $81,140
Springfield

Median: $63,160
Entry: $43,400
Average: $68,950
Experienced: $81,730
Based on the above, it appears that the Boston/Cambridge/Quincy area is higher paying in all categories for physical education teachers.

Additional salary figures among physical education teachers in Massachusetts can be found in the following the table:

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA-NH
140
70780
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA NECTA Division
90
67930
Springfield MA-CT
130
63160
Northwest Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area
60
Estimate Not Released

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