How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Missouri

There are several ways to become a PE teacher in Missouri. The traditional route is to get a bachelor’s degree in PE education that involves student teaching, while alternate routes are available to obtain PE certification.

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and Complete a PE Teacher Preparation Program
Take the Missouri State Exams
Apply for Your Missouri PE Teacher License
Fulfill the Conditions to Renew Your Missouri PE Teacher License

Skilled physical education teachers can inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives—setting the stage for lifelong physical activity. To achieve this, the state of Missouri mandates that its students engage in regular and ongoing physical education.

Certified PE teachers are required to instruct elementary school children for 50 minutes a week. Middle school children are required to take part in 3,000 minutes a year of PE, at an average of 75 minutes a week. High school students must complete one unit of PE to be able to graduate.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has rigorous standards for certifying its prospective PE teachers. Missouri provides certifications for:

  • PE teachers who teach K-9 (emphasis on motor skills)
  • PE teachers who teach 9-12 (emphasis on sports skills)
  • PE teachers who teach all of these grade levels



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

Traditional Route – The standard way to become a PE teacher in Missouri is to get at least a bachelor’s degree in PE from a university or college that has been approved by the DESE. As of 2014, 22 schools in Missouri were approved to train students to teach physical education.

Many of these programs are in colleges of education, while some are in dedicated kinesiology departments. You can get the following types of bachelor’s degrees at approved schools in Missouri:

    • Education
      • Major in Physical Education
      • Degree in Physical Education
      • Physical Education Certification
      • Certification to teach either K-9 or K-12


    • Physical Education
      • Option 1—Elementary and Secondary (Cert. K-12)
      • K-9
      • K-12
      • K-12 with Health K-12 add-on
      • K-12 and Secondary Education
      • K-12 (double major with Secondary Education)
      • 9-12
      • 9-12 and Secondary Education


  • Physical Education and Health, K-12 Certification
  • Physical Education—Teacher Education
  • Health Education with a Major in Physical Education

Some programs offer coaching as a minor. The DESE requires that you take specific units of PE coursework to be able to become certified to teach:

Adapted Physical Education
First Aid/CPR and Care of Activity/Sport Injuries
Health Related Fitness/Wellness
History and Philosophy
Lifetime Activities and Dance
Measurement and Evaluation
Methods in Physical Education K-4
Methods in Physical Education 5-9
Motor Development/Motor Learning
Movement and Rhythms
Physiology of Exercise
Psychological Aspects of Physical Education
Sociological Aspects of Physical Education

To be able to be qualified to receive your license, you will need to maintain a GPA of 2.5 out of a scale of 4.0 in both your overall courses and those in PE. In addition to your coursework, you will have to complete a semester of supervised student teaching to get your PE degree.

Alternative or Innovative Route – If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a content area related to health and fitness that you obtained in Missouri, you may be able to study at a college of education and teach simultaneously. You will have to complete about 30 semester hours of post-bachelor’s coursework and pass an exit test.

Some of these types of programs lead to certification through post baccalaureate training while others lead to a Master’s degree in Education. You can obtain either an M.S. or an M.A. in Education in Missouri.

Temporary Authorization Route – Another way of getting certified to teach PE with a bachelor’s degree in a related content area is through a Temporary Authorization Route program. It involves:

  • Taking self-directed courses in PE
  • Teaching for two years
  • Being mentored by the school district
  • Passing at least two exit exams
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Step 2. Take the Missouri State Exams

The Missouri State Board of Education requires that you take two exams to be able to apply for your certification to teach PE.

MoGEA – One is the general teaching exam known as the Missouri General Education Assessment. It includes sections on the following:

  • English language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social science
  • Writing

Praxis II – The other test is the Praxis II exam for PE. You can take either the paper test (0091) or the computerized test (5091). You can prepare to take this exam with a free Study Companion or by purchasing a Study Guide designed by people who prepared the questions.

The developers of this exam strongly advise developing a study plan to guide you in your preparation. You should use the Study Companion to define the areas of PE that will be covered to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Then, identify the resources such as textbooks that you will use to study and develop a schedule of regular study periods. They also recommend joining a study group with others who will also be taking the Praxis II PE test.



Step 3. Apply for Your Missouri PE Teacher License

Traditional Route – Once you have passed your exams, you will need a recommendation from your school from the designated official for teacher recommendation. You then need to complete an online application and submit it to your school. They will send it to the DESE to be processed.

You will also need to undergo a background check. This involves scheduling an appointment to be fingerprinted by the State Highway Patrol. They will run your fingerprints through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS). If you have already had a background check within the past year, you can skip this step.

It can take some time for the DESE to approve your license, and you can monitor the status of your certification at the bottom of your profile screen. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an initial certificate to teach.

Alternative Route – If you are taking the alternative route with an existing bachelor’s degree, you will have to apply for a Provisional Certificate. You must be within 12 hours of completing a traditional teacher’s preparation program or be enrolled in an approved alternative program.

You will also need to go through a background check and have your original transcripts sent to the following address:

Educator Certification
P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102

In addition, your school will need to send the plan of study that you will complete.

Once you have completed your courses, passed the two exams, and been recommended by your school, the DESE will provide you with an initial certificate.

Temporary Authorization Route – When you are taking self-directed courses in PE and teaching, you need to obtain a one-year certificate that is renewable. You will have to take 9 semester hours of college courses each year to get your certificate renewed. Once you have completed all of the requirements, you will get an initial certificate.



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

With the exception of the temporary one-year authorization certificates, only initial certifications can be renewed. After you have taught for four years, you will need to submit your application to be upgraded 1-2 months before your certificate is due to expire. You will need to have 15 hours of professional development contact hours. This equals one college credit hour. You will also need to show proof that you have been mentored.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Missouri

Although the Missouri Department of Economic Development has not established a statewide average or median Missouri PE teacher salary, some of the school districts throughout the state publish the salary schedules on which they pay their PE teachers.

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Below is a look at the salary schedule of the Kansas City Public Schools:

Bachelor’s Degree

Step 1: $33,922
Step 2: $34,601
Step 3: $35,293
Step 4: $35,998
Step 5: $36,718
Step 6: $37,453
Step 7: $38,202
Step 8: $38,966
Step 9: $39,745
Step 10: $40,639
Step 15: $46,800
Step 16A: $49,937 (maximum)
Bachelor’s Degree and 12 Grad Hours

Step 1: $34,601
Step 2: $35,293
Step 3: $35,998
Step 4: $36,718
Step 5: $37,453
Step 6: $38,202
Step 7: $38,966
Step 8: $39,745
Step 9: $40,541
Step 10: $41,452
Step 15: $48,926
Step 16A: $52,205 (maximum)
Master’s Degree

Step 1: $35,465
Step 2: $36,442
Step 3: $37,443
Step 4: $38,472
Step 5: $39,531
Step 6: $40,617
Step 7: $41,735
Step 8: $42,883
Step 9: $44,062
Step 10: $45,274
Step 15: $52,484
Step 20A: $63,642 (maximum)
The U.S. Department of Labor provides the table below of PE teacher salaries across Missouri:

Area name
Annual median wage
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO
Kansas City MO-KS
St. Louis MO-IL

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