Keep young minds and bodies healthy.

Good health, nutrition and exercise are important for our nation’s children, and physical education teachers play an important role in their students’ overall development. Physical education teachers help students learn the importance of physical activity and how it contributes to their overall health and wellness. If you love sports, are passionate about health and fitness, and want to work with kids, becoming a K-12 physical education teacher could be a great career choice for you.


Program type:

Major, BSEd



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Physical Education

The Bachelor of Science in Education -

Physical Education, K-12 Emphasis

The BS in Education, with an emphasis in Physical Education, prepares future and practicing teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to teach physical education in the schools. The program emphasizes the development of professional skills in the teaching/learning processes that lead to the promotion of healthful and physically active lifestyles in children and youth.

The College of Education will recommend you to the Missouri Department of Elementary/Secondary Education for teacher certification in Physical Education K-12 at the completion of this program, if you have met all state requirement. Physical education students who have obtained their initial certification can add the health K-12 endorsement by passing the appropriate content area exam.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to improve and enhance student learning; integrate technology to create meaningful student learning within the context of a global digital society; apply content and pedagogical knowledge to create authentic and deep learning experiences; use learning science principles to design, implement and evaluate curriculum based on learning standards; design and establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment that nurtures the intellectual, social and personal development of all students; and use equitable frameworks and inclusive practices to create a variety of instructional and assessment opportunities adapted to diverse learners to encourage all students’ critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills.

Employment of K-12 physical education teacher is projected to grow up to 8% to 2029, with a median annual salary of $45,355, according to wage and employment data from and O*NET Online.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2029

Career Opportunities

  • Physical Education Teacher,
    Elementary School
  • Physical Education Teacher,
    Middle School
  • Physical Education Teacher,
    Junior High School
  • Physical Education Teacher,
    Senior High School


Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Student organizations

From leadership, to cultural, to just plain fun, Recognized Student Organizations at UMSL make it easy to get involved. Students who join RSOs make new friends, learn new skills, and perform better in classes. Plus, with over 120 student organizations on campus, there’s something for everyone! You might like:

Internship opportunities

The College of Education hosts many centers and initiatives that enhance student experiences in our programs and work with more than 36 different public, private and charter schools throughout the region. We also sponsor eight charter schools.

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.