How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Michigan

Your initial preparation to become a PE teacher in Michigan involves the following steps:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Approved by Michigan
Take the Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification (MTTC)
Complete the Michigan Physical Education Provisional Certification Process
Apply for a Professional PE Teacher Education Certificate

As part of the new Michigan Merit Curriculum, the Michigan Department of Education (MDOE) has set rigorous standards for teaching the state’s students about physical education. These standards require that schools offer specific instructional periods in physical education:

  • 150 minutes per week to elementary students
  • 225 minutes per week to middle and high school students

Michigan requires that certified PE teachers provide this instruction using curriculum aligned with the Michigan K-12 Physical Education Content Standards and Benchmarks. It should equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for lifelong physical activity and influence their development of personal and social skills.

The MDOE requires that high school students have one credit in physical education and health to be able to graduate. School districts have some flexibility in how they meet this standard. Often, schools offer one semester of physical education and one in health.

State law requires that high school teachers must have an endorsement in their content area. For physical education in Michigan, this can include one of the following:

  • MB: physical education major or minor
  • MX: group major of PE, health education, dance, and recreation

You may be able to teach both PE and health if you hold endorsements in both areas.

If you are already certified to teach in Michigan, but you want to switch to teaching PE, you will need to complete 20 hours of PE coursework at an approved school and take the PE specific test to obtain your PE endorsement.



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Approved by Michigan

The Michigan Department of Education has 19 approved PE teaching programs. These programs are offered in a range of departments, from departments of kinesiology to departments of education.

You can obtain a range of bachelor’s degrees in Michigan that will teach you how to become a PE teacher in the state. These programs provide both training in teaching methods and in PE content. They include the following:

  • Physical Education (B.A. or B.S.)
  • Physical Education Teaching (B.S.)
  • Physical Education and Education (B.S.)
  • Physical Education Coaching
  • Physical Education/Teacher Education, K-12 Major (B.A.)
  • Physical Education: K-12 Teacher/Coach (B.S.)
  • General Physical Education (B.A.)
  • Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Sport
  • Health & Exercise Science (B.S.)
  • Kinesiology—Pedagogy Teacher Preparation Track (B.S.)

Two other programs offer minors for teaching physical education to special education students.

The coursework varies depending on the department, but PE specific courses that you are likely to take include the following:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology & Anatomy
  • First Aid & Emergency Care
  • Philosophy of Physical Education & Sport

Many departments also offer courses in specific types of exercises such as invasion games and aquatics.

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Step 2. Take the Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification (MTTC)

You will need to take two tests to be able to teach PE. If you want to become an elementary school teacher, you will need to take a third exam: the Elementary Education Exam.

Physical Education Certification Exam

Before you can become a PE teacher in Michigan, you must have taken and passed the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) in physical education. The Michigan Department of Education provides candidates with preparation materials.

You should become extremely familiar with the test objectives, which include the following:

Test Objectives
Percentage of Test
Movement/Lifelong Physical Activities
Physical Activity/Fitness/Health
Foundations/Reflection/Professional Collaboration

The website breaks down the details for these different categories. It is critical to review the descriptive statement(s) in each objective, so you can estimate what areas you may need to study up on. It also offers two study guides: one on general preparation and test preparation and another that has sample questions for the exam.

Taking the sample test will help you to figure out areas you might be weak in and give you an idea of how long it will take you to complete the test. In addition, there is a video tutorial on how to prepare, and an explanation of the score report, so you can understand your test results.

Once you pass the PE MTTC, it will be good for five years. If you do not get a certificate or endorsement in that time, you will have to retake the exam.

Professional Readiness Exam

You must also take the Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) before you can be certified to teach in Michigan. This exam has three subsets that you must pass:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Writing

After taking the PRE you will get a score report that provides detailed information on your performance. You only have to pass this test once and will not need to take it again to renew your certificate.

Preparation for the Exams

Before you sign up to take your MTTC exams, you should go through the checklist of information necessary to register. The fees to take the exams vary depending on whether you take the exams on paper or on a computer.

There is no limit to how many times you can take the MTTC, but after your fourth failure, the Michigan Department of Education requires that you obtain academic counseling from college or university staff to address any deficiencies that you might have in your education. You must repeat this process if you continue to fail the exam.



Step 3. Complete the Michigan Physical Education Provisional Certification Process

Your school will recommend you for your initial teaching certificate—the Provisional Certificate. This credential is valid for up to six years.

Although you will be teaching PE to students, Michigan state law mandates that you continue your learning process during your first three years of teaching. There are three phases to this process:

  • Structured teacher induction
  • Quality, trained mentor support
  • Quality professional development opportunities

Your school will assign a mentor to you. He or she might be a master teacher, a college professor, or a retired master teacher. You will implement your knowledge of content and pedagogy while you continue learning through a planned program of study.

State law requires that you take part in at least 15 days of professional development. This must include classroom management and instructional delivery. This framework was developed to ensure a strong teaching force and to help new teachers stay employed in their field.

Certificate Renewal

You can renew this certificate three times, and each renewal is valid for up to three years. For your first renewal, you must complete one of the following requirements within the three years prior to renewing:

    • 6 semester hours at one of the following:
      • A school approved by Michigan to teach PE
      • Any accredited school that provides academic content appropriate to the grade level and the field of PE


  • State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs): 180 appropriate to the grade level and physical education
  • Combination of the two: 30 SCECHs = 1 semester credit hour

The process for the second renewal is the same and requires that you obtain the education within the three years prior to renewal. The requirements for a third renewal include the following:

  • Sponsorship by the local private school or school district
  • MED approval
  • Having completed all of the academic requirements for the Professional Education Certificate

You cannot get a third renewal if you have not met all of the requirements for a Professional Education Certificate.



Step 4. Apply for a Professional PE Teacher Education Certificate

When you have successfully completed the following, you can apply for a Professional Education Certificate to be able to teach PE independently in the state of Michigan:

  • Three years of teaching
  • Semester hours of reading methods: 6 for elementary certified teachers and 3 for secondary certified teachers
  • 3 semester hours of reading diagnostic and remediation coursework
  • One of the following (or the combination) obtained within the previous five years before the application, and since getting the most recent Provisional Certificate:
      • 6 semester hours in one of the following:
        • A planned program at a Michigan approved school (credit towards a Master’s degree in education or a field related to education) or in an approved endorsement program
        • Coursework appropriate to the grade level and PE


    • State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs): 180 appropriate to the grade level and PE
    • District Provided Professional Development (DPPD): 150 clock hours
      • If you only use DPPD, you need to have 150 hours (no more than 30 hours a school year count)
      • If you combine this with SCECHs and semester credit hours, you need to have 180 hours

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Michigan

Occupational salary data published by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget reveals an average Michigan PE teacher salary of $61,290. Entry-level salaries are noted to be between $33,500 and $38,380. Tenure-level salaries are between $81,920 and $101,010 at the top 75th and 90th percentiles respectively, which is a range of about 19%.

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Additionally, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget published data relating to PE teachers’ salaries by location:


Average: $66,150
Median: $65,580
25th Percentile: $49,260
75th Percentile $83,200
90th Percentile: $97,780
Ann Arbor

Average: $50,320
Median: $38,750
25th Percentile: $24,400
75th Percentile $61,900
90th Percentile: $93,090
Lansing/East Lansing

Average: $43,970
Median: $36,420
25th Percentile: $24,240
75th Percentile $56,150
90th Percentile: $77,320
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following table, which includes PE teacher salaries throughout Michigan:

Area name
Annual median wage
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn MI Metropolitan Division
Estimate Not Released
Detroit-Warren-Livonia MI

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