How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in New York

If you want to become a physical education teacher in New York, you must be able to successfully complete the following steps:

Choose a PE Teacher Preparation Pathway
Complete PE Teacher Certification Testing Requirements
Apply for an Initial New York Teaching Certificate
Maintain your Certification through Professional Development
Achieve a New York PE Teacher Professional Certificate

The New York State Education Department has a clear and well-established Physical Education Profile, a State-developed resource that details the physical education component within the New York State Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences.

The Physical Education Profile is used by physical education teachers in New York to ensure individual student achievement of the learning standards and for evaluating the quality of their physical education program. It also serves as means by which physical education teachers can demonstrate accountability for achievement in physical education.

There are two commencement-level assessments for determining the competency and proficiency in eight different categories of physical activity:

  • Team Passing Sports
  • Target Sports
  • Fitness Activities
  • Striking/Fielding Sports
  • Dance and Aesthetic Activities
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Net/Wall Sports
  • Personal Performance Activities



Step 1. Choose a PE Teacher Preparation Pathway

There are a number of paths you may take to begin pursuing a physical education teaching career in New York, depending on your background and education:

Pathway 1: Completing a Teacher Preparation Program

If you are a high school graduate without a bachelor’s degree, your pathway should include pursuing a bachelor’s degree from an approved teacher preparation program approved by the New York State Department of Education. Approved teacher preparation programs meet the following requirements:

  • 36 semester hours in approved health and physical education courses
  • 12 semester hours in a college-supervised student teaching experience

You must complete your bachelor’s program through a regionally accredited higher institution or one that has been approved by the New York State Education. You can view a list of the Approved Teacher Preparation Programs in New York here. There are currently 67 approved programs for physical education in New York State.

Upon registering for the bachelor’s degree that leads to certification in physical education, the institution will provide you with a Student Application Information Sheet, which will clearly outline all of the steps you need to take to complete the program and apply for a certificate through that approved program pathway.

Before you can enroll in a physical education student teaching experience, you must have a grade of C or better in all physical education core courses, and you must meet all other competency requirements as set forth by the academic institution.

Pathway 2: Completing a Higher Preparation Teacher Preparation Program

If you have already obtained a bachelor’s degree, you may enroll in a graduate program through a college or university in New York that leads to a teaching certificate. You must complete your graduate program at a New York State higher preparation institution and complete an internship at a K-12 school to qualify for certification.

Pathway 3: Completing an Approved Teacher Preparation Program through Alternative Certification

If you already possess a bachelor’s degree that demonstrates subject matter expertise (such as a bachelor’s degree in sports fitness) and you want to become a physical education teacher in New York, you can enroll in one of the Alternative Teacher Certification (ATC) programs that are offered by college-school partnerships in a number of locations throughout the State. ATC allows you to complete your teacher education study to qualify for certification.

To qualify for ATC, you must possess a bachelor’s degree, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a subject-specific area, or at least 18 semester hours in physical education with at least 12 semester hours in a related subject.

Upon completion of the ATC program, you must pass the Assessment of Teaching Skills – Written (ATS-W) to be recommended for a teaching certificate.

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Step 2. Complete PE Teacher Certification Testing Requirements

To become a physical education teacher in New York, you must take and pass the following tests, which are designed to measure your knowledge and skills in the liberal arts and sciences, in teaching theory and practice, and in physical education.

  • Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
  • Educating All Students Test (EAS)
  • Content Specialty Test (CST): Physical Education

Pearson administers all testing for the New York State Education Department. You can register and pay for the required exams and find test schedules and locations, test frameworks, and test study guides on the Pearson website.

The following fees must be paid to take the required examinations:

  • Academic Literacy Skills Test: $131
  • Educating All Students: $102
  • Physical Education Content Specialty Test: $79

The minimum passing score on both the ALST and EAS exams is 520, and the minimum passing score for the Physical Education Content Specialty exam is 220.

Physical Education Content Specialty Test

The Physical Education Content Specialty Test includes the following components:

  • Physical Fitness and Health
  • Lifelong Movement Activities and Sports
  • Personal Growth and Development
  • The Physical Education Department
  • Physical Fitness and Health: Constructed-Response Assignment

Additional information on the framework of the Physical Education Content Specialty Test can be found here.



Step 3. Apply for an Initial New York Teaching Certificate

Upon receiving a recommendation from the college or university for certification and passing all required exams, you may register to take the certification test in New York for physical education.

To do so, you must log into the TEACH Online Services site and choose “Pathway: Approved Teacher Preparation Program” as your pathway. You can also use TEACH to check the status of your application and pay the $50 application fee.

After you have completed your application and entered the application fee payment, you will see an “Application Confirmation” screen. This will indicate that the Department has received your application. This screen will also provide you with any additional information (if any) that needs to be completed before you can receive your certificate. Once you have created an account through TEACH, you can log onto the system at any time to check the status of your application.

Any required documentation must be sent to:

New York State Education Department
Office of Teaching Initiatives
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234



Step 4. Maintain your Teacher Certification through Professional Development

All teaching certificate holders working in New York public schools must complete 175 hours of professional development every 5 years. Your professional development period begins on July 1 following the effective date of your certificate.

You can view a wide variety of professional development programs here.

If you are employed by a school district, the district will report your professional development hours on your behalf. If you are not employed by a school district, you must maintain a log of your professional development hours by filling out a Continuing Professional Development Individual Record.

You can find a wealth of information, including professional development opportunities, through the New York City Physical Education Teacher Community and the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.



Step 5. Achieve a New York PE Teacher Professional Certificate

Your initial teaching certificate is valid for a period of 5 years, during which time you must complete the following to earn your professional (permanent) certificate to teach physical education in New York:

Professional certificates have a 5-year professional development cycle (see Step 4).

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in New York

Data published by the New York Department of Labor reveals an average PE teacher salary in New York of $73,090. This is significant in that it exceeds the national average by almost 13%. The median, however, is 17% lower at $60,500.

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Starting salaries are reported to average $40,180 per year while tenure-level salaries are reported to average $89,560, so the difference between entry level and tenure is 55%.

The salaries below are given to illustrate the difference in PE teacher salaries throughout New York:

Capital District

(Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties)

Average: $58,420
Median: $49,420
Entry: $38,060
Experienced: $68,600
Central New York

(Including Syracuse)

Average: $55,800
Median: $53,880
Entry: $40,580
Experienced: $63,400
Finger Lakes

Average: $59,570
Median: $48,320
Entry: $36,720
Experienced: $70,990
Hudson Valley

Average: $59,410
Median: $51,010
Entry: $35,830
Experienced: $71,190
Mohawk Valley

Average: $59,180
Median: $54,550
Entry: $36,350
Experienced: $70,590
New York City

Average: $93,650
Median: $74,470
Entry: $45,870
Experienced: $117,530
North Country

Average: $92,050
Median: $75,670
Entry: $52,100
Experienced: $112,020
Southern Tier

Average: $70,260
Median: $60,190
Entry: $42,740
Experienced: $84,020
More salary information, as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, can be seen in the table below:

Area name
Annual median wage
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Rochester NY
Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
Central New York nonmetropolitan area
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area

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