How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in Montana

Follow these steps to earn the standard Class 2 license and become a PE and health teacher in Montana:

Complete a PE and Health Educator Program Approved by Montana
Complete a Supervised PE Teaching Experience in Montana
Apply for a Montana State Physical Education Teacher License
Meet Montana’s Continuing Education Requirements

The Montana Office of Public Instruction mandates that its K through 12 students receive physical education during school hours. In fact, graduation requirements in Montana state that students must earn at least one health-enhancement credit, and that those in grades 7-12 must engage in no less than 225 minutes of physical education per week.

Physical education has moved beyond just teaching physical activities, and is now more about placing an emphasis on fitness as an important aspect of healthy living. It is Montana’s PE and health education teachers that have taken on the responsibility of providing this important lifestyle training to students in the state. In addition to teaching about general health and fitness, the state of Montana requires its PE teachers to incorporate information on preventing the spread of HIV and other STDs into their curriculum.

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) offers several types of licenses to PE teachers:

  • Standard (Class 2): Teachers with a bachelor’s degree in PE education
  • Professional (Class 1): Teachers with a master’s degree in professional education and three years of K-12 teaching experience
  • Post Secondary Faculty (Class 8): College instructors who teach high school students getting both college and high school credit for PE courses

An alternative (Class 5) license is available for candidates who meet some, but not all of the requirements for a Class 1 or 2 license. It is typically used when the candidate has a bachelor’s degree and needs to complete a teacher preparation program or has failed to complete the renewal requirements. Class 5 license holders must obtain the required credentials within three years of the license being issued. Applicants can only apply for a Class 5 license once.

In light of Montana’s emphasis on teaching children about health in addition to just instructing them in physical education, PE teachers in Montana are officially referred to as PE and health teachers.



Step 1. Complete a PE and Health Educator Program Approved by Montana

The Montana OPI has approved nine college campuses to provide teacher education programs. Of these, eight offer a major in PE, and three of them also offer a PE minor.

Available PE teacher degrees in Montana include:

  • Health and Physical Education B.A.
  • Physical Education and Health B.S.
  • Health Enhancement K-12 Major
  • Physical Education & Health K-12 Minor

The coursework found in the Health and Physical Education B.A. includes:

  • Adapted Physical Education
  • Assessment in Health and Physical Education
  • History, Philosophy, and Sociology of HPE & Recreation
  • Kinesiology and Applied Anatomy
  • Methods in Physical Education and Sports
  • Personal Health
  • Physical Education, Recreation & Fitness Management
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
  • Structure and Function of the Human Body

Some of the schools that prepare PE and health teachers maintain rigorous standards. One school that offers a Health Enhancement K-12 Major requires enrolling students to meet the following requirements, which are representative of most programs:

  • A completed application signed by their advisor by the end of their sophomore year
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
  • A 2.5 GPA in all required courses
  • No record of immoral conduct related to teaching
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Step 2. Complete a Supervised PE Teaching Experience in Montana

There are two ways to satisfy the student teaching experience requirement necessary to obtain a Class 2 PE and health teacher license in Montana:

Option 1 – One is to take part in a supervised teaching program as part of the PE and health teacher preparation program while obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Some of the undergraduate programs require that students teach in a public school for two semesters. Commonly, this involves two semesters of experiential learning. Students are paired with a licensed teacher as they participate in the teaching experience.

The requirements to take part in the student teaching component of a teacher preparation program can be rigorous. One school requires the following:

  • Being certified in first aid and CPR
  • Having been cleared through a federal background check
  • Passing the Praxis II PE exam one semester before student teaching
    • This two hour 120 multiple choice question exam measures content knowledge in PE

Option 2 – Another way to obtain the required teaching experience is to successfully complete a year of teaching experience in an accredited elementary and/or secondary school. Having this experience is typically a way for out of state students with physical education teaching experience to be able to meet the requirements to get their license in Montana.

Between academic coursework and experience in a supervised teaching program, students learn how to become effective PE teachers while meeting the requirements for a teaching license.



Step 3. Apply for a Montana State Physical Education Teacher License

Section 10.58.520 of the administrative rules of Montana requires that all PE teacher license candidates master the general skills and principles of effective teaching, particularly those emphasized in the pedagogical content of their degree programs.

Graduates must also master the following skills to teach PE in Montana’s public schools:

  • Describing performance strategies and concepts related to skillful movement and physical activity (e.g. game tactics, fitness principles, and skill improvement principles)
  • Participating in the professional health and physical education community (e.g. national, state, district, school)
  • Identifying, seeking, and utilizing community resources to promote health enhancing opportunities
  • Describing and applying psychological and bioscience (biomechanical, anatomical, physiological) concepts to skillful movement, fitness, and physical activities
  • Motor skills:
    • Identifying critical elements of motor skills and combining them into appropriate sequences to improve learning
    • Demonstrating competent performance in a variety of physical activities

College graduates who have completed the requirements to become a PE teacher in Montana can apply for a Class 2 license on the OPI website. Documents and fingerprint cards required for the background check through the Montana Department of Justice are also available here.

Applicants must meet the following requirements from Section 10.57.201 of Montana’s administrative rules:

    • Verification that they have completed the following:
      • An accredited professional educator preparation program
      • A supervised teaching experience


  • Must have either of the following:
    • A degree conferred through an accredited professional educator preparation program earned within the past five years
    • Six graduate semester credits obtained within the past five years

Applicants with licenses from other states must complete the full process for becoming licensed as a PE teacher in Montana and include a copy of their current license with the application.



Step 4. Meet Montana’s Continuing Education Requirements

Class 2 PE teacher licenses in Montana are good for five years. After five years, they must be renewed by August 31 immediately following the expiration date of the license.

In order to be eligible to renew their license, teachers must earn college credit and renewal units as described here:

  • 3 semester credits and 15 renewal units
  • 4 semester credits
  • 4 quarter credits and 20 renewal units
  • 5 quarter credits and 10 renewal units
  • 6 quarter credits

Renewal units can be obtained in the following manner:

  • 1 unit = 1 hour of workshop attendance
  • 10 units = 1 quarter college credit
  • 15 units = 1 semester college credit

The activities involved in earning the continuing education required to renew a teacher license in Montana must include:

  • Being a planned and structured experience
  • Being a benefit to professional development
  • Involving exposure to a new idea or extending an existing idea or skill

Another way to obtain renewal units is to become licensed at the national level through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Renewal units obtained in this manner can substitute for college course credits.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Montana

According to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Research & Analysis Bureau, the average PE teacher salary in Montana is $45,840, while the median is not far behind at $45,020.

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The low end of middle range wages in the state is $41,210, but the high end is $48,810.

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Research & Analysis Bureau has also been able to differentiate average salary by institution of employment:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools: $50,150
Junior colleges: $43,979
In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the top ten percent of salaries statewide is $65,350, which exceeds the overall average by nearly 30%. This salary figure likely represents tenured physical education teachers with the greatest amount of experience.

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