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Teacher - Physical Education

Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Working With Children check

Also known as Health and Physical Education Teacher and Personal Development Teacher.

Physical education (PE) teachers instruct students in sports, recreational activities and healthy lifestyle issues, in order to encourage and develop physical fitness and skills, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.

Most PE teachers work in secondary schools and are usually qualified to teach at least one other subject.


    PE teachers in secondary schools may perform the following tasks:

  • undertake general teaching tasks (see the separate entry for Teacher - Secondary)
  • prepare a year-long programme of learning experiences that link physical activities with issues related to health and wellbeing
  • teach a range of elective and senior courses depending on the needs and interests of their students
  • teach the basic techniques and skills associated with team and individual sports, dance, gymnastics, athletics, aquatics and recreational activities such as canoeing and bushwalking
  • plan and deliver activities to assist students' skill progression
  • teach students about community and personal health issues, including nutrition, sexuality, drug use and sexual health
  • instruct students in the safety practices associated with different environments, including swimming pools, gymnasiums and playing fields
  • coordinate special events such as inter-school sports programmes, swimming and athletic carnivals and lifesaving programmes
  • present special days and seminars for senior students on various topics such as stress management, study skills and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • conduct compulsory health education programmes that prepare students for life outside of school


  • enjoy and have skills in physical activity
  • enthusiastic, patient and tactful
  • enjoy working with young people
  • good communication skills
  • commitment to personal health and physical fitness
  • excellent organisational skills
  • prepared to work outside of school hours
Good Outlook
Good Outlook for this career!

Interest Area

Helping/Community Service Influencing/Personal Contact Outdoor


Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Working With Children check

To become a PE teacher you usually have to complete a degree in education, with a major in health and physical education or human movement. Alternatively, you could complete a relevant degree (such as human movement), followed by a postgraduate qualification in education or teaching.

To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact Open Universities Australia or the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree as well as teaching experience or a background in the sports, fitness or recreation industries. A number of universities in Australia offer postgraduate courses in education or teaching. They are also available by distance education. Contact Open Universities Australia or the universities you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

    Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check (NSW) or a Working with Vulnerable People Check (ACT). A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

    Teaching in schools in NSW requires accreditation with the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES). See www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au for further information. Teaching in schools in the ACT requires registration with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute. See www.tqi.act.edu.au for further information.

    Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.


PE teachers are employed in government and non-government schools. Entry to this field is competitive but prospects are better for those willing to take up positions in non-metropolitan areas. There are some opportunities for relief or part-time work.

People with qualifications in physical education may also be employed in the leisure industry (as fitness instructors or managers of recreation centres, for example).

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Teacher - Physical Education Education Directorate (ACT) NSW Teachers Federation PDHPE Teachers' Association Sportspeople NSW Working with Children Check Office of Regulatory Services (ACT)

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