How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Mississippi

The Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Educator Licensure (OEL) is responsible for the licensing of PE teachers in the state. It provides several routes to becoming a PE teacher in Mississippi:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Including a PE Teacher Preparation Program
Take General Educator and Physical Education Content Praxis Exams
Apply for Your Mississippi PE Teacher License
Fulfill the Conditions to Renew Your Mississippi PE Teacher License

The Mississippi state legislature passed the Mississippi Healthy Students Act in 2007 to strengthen physical and health education requirements in the state. It mandates that schools provide programming to aid in reducing obesity and requires the following amounts of physical activity:

  • 150 minutes of physical education/activity a week for K-8 students
  • A ½ Carnegie Unit for 9-12 students (required for graduation)

PE teachers are the ones who instruct the state’s students in effective exercise techniques in hopes of creating lifelong habits that will improve their health. The State Board of Education and the Certification Commission set the guidelines for the licensing of these and other teachers in Mississippi.



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Including a PE Teacher Preparation Program

Traditional Teacher Education Route

Although the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) provides a list of programs approved to teach PE, the OEL will accept PE degrees from any institution that is accredited nationally or regionally. Eleven schools in the state offer a bachelor’s degree in PE that will lead to licensure, while five of them offer the option of a master’s degree to become licensed.

Bachelor’s degrees that will prepare you to become a PE teacher in Mississippi include:

  • Recreation With Emphasis in Physical Education
  • Physical Education (Teaching)
  • Kinesiology (concentration in Sport Pedagogy)
  • Elementary Education Grades K-12 Physical Education
  • Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
  • Health & Physical Education
  • Human Performance (Physical Education Licensure)
  • Education
    • Program in Physical Education
    • Major in Physical Education

These programs are housed in school departments ranging from Education to Kinesiology to the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. You can expect to study the following topics within these programs:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Kinesiology
  • First Aid & CPR

You can also expect to take additional courses in pedagogy specific to PE, in which you will be trained to apply the principles you have learned from your content-area coursework.


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Three-Year Alternate Route License

If you already have a bachelor’s degree related to health and fitness, but it is in a non-teaching area, you have the option of enrolling in an approved teaching program that will give you a Master of Arts in Teaching.

You will have to pass the two required state exams before you can apply to this type of alternate route programs. Then, you will need to complete six hours of pre-teaching courses.

One-Year Alternate Route License

Another option if you already have a bachelor’s degree but want to switch to teaching is to enroll in the Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers (MAPQT) program.

You can take part in this program if you have a nationally accredited degree from an institution and at least a 2.5 overall GPA or a 2.75 in your major.

Becoming a PE teacher through this route will involve taking part in 90 clock hours of workshops that will train you in such areas as:

  • Classroom management skills
  • Effective teaching strategies
  • Emphasis on special education
  • Planning and instruction
  • State curriculum frameworks
  • Use of technology instructions

Your school district will mentor you during your first year of teaching during which time you will complete assignments for a teacher’s portfolio.

Five-Year Educator License—Alternate Route

If you hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher learning and have met all of the requirements of one of Mississippi’s alternate route programs, you can apply for a five-year license to teach.

You can also qualify for this license if you meet the following qualifications:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree with a minor or concentration in secondary education
  • Have passed the appropriate alternate route exams
  • Possess documentation that you have completed a student teaching program from one of the following:
    • A Mississippi approved program
    • A program approved by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education)



Step 2. Take General Educator and Physical Education Content Praxis Exams

The OEL requires that you pass a rigorous test to show that you have mastered the field of teaching PE. It has chosen the Praxis set of exams as the best way to comply with the state’s licensing guidelines and the No Child Left Behind Act. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) provides these exams.

If you are getting licensed after graduating from a teacher’s education program, you have to take these two Praxis exams:

  • Praxis II Physical Education (0091 or 0591)
  • Praxis II Principles of Learning & Teaching (choose from 0622, 5622, 0623, 5623, 0624, or 5624)

If you are taking an alternate route to becoming licensed, you must take the following two exams:

  • CORE (Core Academic Skills for Educators)
  • Praxis II Physical Education (0091 or 0591)

The Mississippi Department of Education provides links to resources to prepare for these exams. You can take the Praxis II preparation tests as often as you like. The ETS provides instant grades that should help you to better recognize your strengths and weaknesses.

You will have to be prepared to either provide your original score report or have the ETS send your electronic scores to the OEL when you apply for your license. They will not accept photocopies.



Step 3. Apply for Your Mississippi PE Teacher License

Once you have obtained the appropriate education and passed your exams, you can apply for your Mississippi teaching license at the MDE website. You can either apply online or download paper applications to send in.

Traditional Teacher Education Route – If you are applying for the five-year educator license—traditional teacher education route, you have your choice of the following licenses:

  • Class A – Bachelor’s degree
  • Class AA – Master’s degree
  • Class AAA – Specialist degree
  • Class AAAA – Doctoral degree

The Class AA through AAAA licenses require that you have met the requirements for a Class A license and have either the appropriate graduate endorsement or degree in Education. You must have taken 21 hours of PE coursework with at least a C in your courses to obtain a PE endorsement.

One Year Alternate Route License – You must have passed the appropriate Praxis exams and have been accepted into the MAPQT program. Your next step is to secure a teaching position. Then, you need to get an online recommendation from the alternate route program. At this point, you can apply for your license. If you successfully complete a summer program, you qualify for a three-year alternate path PE teacher license.

Three Year Alternate Route License – Once you have passed the appropriate Praxis exams and completed 6 hours of pre-teaching courses in your MA program, your school will need to provide online verification that you have completed the program. Then you can apply for your license.

Five-Year Alternate Route License – After completing your one to three year alternate route program, you can apply for a five-year educator license.



Step 4. Fulfill the Conditions to Renew Your Mississippi PE Teacher License

You can only renew a five-year license. Licenses that have been issued for less than five years are considered provisional and are not renewable. If you have the standard certification, you will need to meet the requirements to renew your Class A license with one of the following:

  • 10 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in an area related to PE
  • 3 semester hours and 5 CEUs in an area related to PE
  • 6 semester hours in an area related to PE
  • Completion of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards process

If you have a Class AA, AAA, or AAA license, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 3 semester hours in a PE related area
  • 5 CEUs in a PE related area
  • Completion of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards process

The Mississippi Department of Education offers a list of agencies that offer coursework and CEUs.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Mississippi

Salary statistics published by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security indicate an average annual Mississippi PE teacher salary of $55,360.

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The starting salary among PE teachers averages 36.5% less at $35,130. However, experienced PE teachers are reported to average $65,480 per year, which is 15.5% more than the average statewide.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the average among PE teachers is $42,000 per year. The starting salary is 46% less at $22,700, but experienced PE teachers are reported to earn an average of 18.7% more than the statewide average of $51,640.

Further salary information, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, can be found in the table below:

Area name
Annual median wage
Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area

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