How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota requires all of its school districts to adopt the National Standards for Physical Education. The purpose of this is to provide students with the information they need to make healthy decisions throughout their lives. PE teachers provide the K-12 students of Minnesota with this vital knowledge.

The standard preparation process to become a PE teacher in Minnesota involves the following steps:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Approved by Minnesota
Take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE)
Apply for Your Minnesota PE Teacher License

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has rigorous standards for those seeking PE teacher jobs, including passing certification tests in pedagogy, basic skills, and in the content area of PE. There are several different ways to become a PE teacher in Minnesota. All involve getting a degree and being recommended by a preparation program that is based in a university or college.

The most common way to become a PE teacher in Minnesota is to complete a bachelor’s degree in the field of physical education and then obtain the appropriate full time teaching license. If you have not done this, you may still be able to teach at a school that has demonstrated problems in locating a fully licensed PE teacher.



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

First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License

There are a number of bachelor’s programs available at Minnesota colleges and universities that will prepare you to teach PE in the state. The MDE has a link to an Excel spreadsheet of 19 schools that offer PE programs at either the undergraduate or master’s level.

Most of these programs will train you both in the field of PE and in pedagogy, so you will be thoroughly prepared to apply for your license to become a PE teacher. A few of the programs are not designed to lead to licensure.

You can get the following bachelor’s degrees in Minnesota, all of which will prepare you to become a fully licensed PE teacher.

  • Physical Education B.A., B.S., B.A.Sci.
  • Physical Education K-12 B.A.
  • Physical Education—Teaching B.S.
  • Physical Education & Teaching
  • Health, Physical Education (Teaching) B.S.

The details of the different programs that lead to licensure vary a great deal. All of them combine rigorous coursework in PE and pedagogy with the opportunity to teach children while being supervised by a teacher or professor. In many cases, you will start out by teaching children that have been brought to the university. Later on, you will teach school children in their school setting.

In some cases, you have to apply to become part of the PE teaching program. In one case joining the bachelor’s program involves the following steps:

  • Submitting an essay
  • Receiving a 7/10 score on a writing rubric
  • Completing an interview

This school also requires that you pass the state’s Basic Skills Test before you can take the program’s methods classes.

There are also two master’s programs in Minnesota that will train you how to become a PE teacher. One program will accept you if you have a current Minnesota license in another area. The other program is designed for people without PE training who want to learn to teach K-12 students in this field.

Limited Full Time License

If you have a bachelor’s degree with at least a minor in a field related to PE, but have not taken teacher preparation courses, you may be able to teach PE in schools that have difficulty in finding a fully licensed PE teacher.

The school district will have to verify that they have had hardship in finding such teachers. You can find the current list of teacher shortages in Minnesota to determine if PE is on the list.

Two-Year, Short-Call Substitute

You may be able to become a substitute teacher if you have a bachelor’s degree that is not in education. You will have to find a school district that can verify that they have trouble finding fully licensed PE teachers.

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Step 2. Take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE)

The knowledge you gained while obtaining your bachelor’s degree in physical education should have prepared you to take the exams that you must pass to be able to get your license to teach. You will have to take three sets of exams:

  • Basic Skills Test
  • Pedagogy Tests
  • Content Area Test in Physical Education (Grades K-12)

Before you can register to take the tests, you will have to verify that you have reviewed Minnesota’s policies on testing, registration, and score reporting.

Basic Skills Test

The MDE requires that you take this set of three tests to get your initial license to teach. The first part is a 60-minute multiple-choice test on reading.

The second is a 105-minute test on writing that involves both multiple choice answers and constructed response.

Finally, you have to take the test on mathematics that will last 75 minutes.

You will have to pay $25 to take each of these tests.

Pedagogy Tests

If you want to teach grades K-12, you must also pass this test to obtain your initial license. You have to choose between the Elementary or Secondary pedagogy test. You do not have to take both. Each of these tests has two subtests of an hour that cost $35 each.

Content Area Test on Physical Education

This exam involves two subtests of approximately 50 multiple-choice questions that cost $35 each. Each subtest takes about an hour. Subtest 1 assesses the following areas:

  • Development of Motor Skills
  • Movement Activities

The second subset examines these areas:

  • Physical Fitness and Wellness
  • The Physical Education Program

Preparing for the Exams

Although you have been well trained by this time, the Minnesota Department of Education still strongly recommends rigorously preparing to take these exams. They provide links to preparation materials for all of the tests on their website. This department strongly recommends planning your course of study using the following strategies:

  • Reading the test objectives to assess how well prepared you are
  • Answering the sample questions
  • Developing a study plan

Appropriate resources to use to study include the following:

  • Your basic textbooks from college
  • Your class notes and additional assignments
  • Textbooks currently being used in local elementary and secondary schools
  • Publications from professional organizations (national, local, and state)

The MDE provides extensive preparation materials for the PE test. These include the following:

  • Test content and sample questions
  • Text preparation worksheet
  • Worksheets to map test content to course taken
  • Videos and tutorials on preparing

You can also buy an MTLE Expanded Study guide at this site for $19.95, along with a Practice Test for $29.95.



Step 3. Apply for Your Minnesota PE Teacher License

In all cases, you will need a recommendation from an approved preparation plan to become licensed as a PE teacher in Minnesota. These programs will assist you if you are just getting your first license or if you already have a different type of teaching license and are seeking to obtain a PE teaching license.

Once you have passed your MTLE tests, you can apply for your license through the MDE’s Online Licensing System. You can apply for the following types of licenses at this site:

  • First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License
  • Limited Full Time License
  • Two Year, Short-Call Substitute

To obtain the latter two licenses, you will need to have a district verification form signed by your school district that verifies that they have had difficulty finding fully licensed PE teachers for their schools.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Minnesota

Occupational data released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development finds that the median physical education teacher salary in Minnesota is $53,683, while the average is about 6% higher at $57,099.

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There is strong earning potential among PE teachers in the state, with those in the top 25% statewide earning $68,896.

Among the top ten percent, earnings are 43% higher than the statewide median at $94,274.

Local salaries released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development indicates that Duluth is the highest paying area for PE teachers.

Here is a look at Minnesota PE teacher salaries according to city:

Minneapolis – St. Paul

Average: $55,050
Median: $50,818
25th Percentile: $34,851
75th Percentile: $63,686
90th Percentile: $93,367

Average: $61,198
Median: $58,924
25th Percentile: $49,727
75th Percentile: $71,272
90th Percentile: $84,078
Seven County/Minneapolis/St. Paul

Average: $54,749
Median: $49,511
25th Percentile: $34,272
75th Percentile: $63,186
90th Percentile: $97,367
Below is a table of salary data for physical education teachers in Minnesota, furnished by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area name
Annual median wage
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI

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