National Careers Week: Become a PE Teacher

In honour of National Careers Week 2019, we’re profiling some of the latest jobs from Careers 2019.

Next in the list of roles is PE Teacher, download a PDF of this job profile here:

PE Teacher job profile:


Qualifications and courses

Most people enter this profession by undertaking Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) in order to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This can be achieved through a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree that includes QTS, or a sport-related undergraduate degree followed by either a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). Employment-based training programmes such as SCITT or Teach First are also available.

Alternatively, if you hold a degree in a relevant subject, such as PE or sports science, and have also gained experience working in secondary schools, it may be possible for you to start out working as a sports coach in a school before joining a teacher training programme. You will need to gain a Coaching Award, such as UK Coaching Certificates (UKCC).

All entrants must have GCSE/National 5 passes in English and Maths (and science, for those wanting to teach in middle schools), as well as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance. You must also pass literacy and numeracy skills tests prior to acceptance.

It is important to secure relevant work experience of working with young people, for example, working on a holiday camp or volunteering through youth work.


What the work involves

You will teach fitness and sport sessions in a range of sports to groups of young people of different ages and abilities in secondary schools and colleges.

You will prepare lessons and set assignments for students taking PE qualifications at GCSE and A level or equivalent.

You will be responsible for organising and attending fixtures with other local schools and colleges, both at home and away. You may also be required to arrange tours in the UK or abroad.

You will be required to participate in staff meetings, open days, parents’ evenings and other school activities.


Type of person suited to this work

You will need to be able to manage and work with large groups of young people, which will include having to maintain discipline.

A high level of fitness is needed, as you may be required to demonstrate and assist the students in warm-ups and activities.

You must possess excellent communication skills to ensure that everyone in the class can carry out the activities safely.

You will need to be organised in order to plan lessons effectively and adaptable in order to make sure that everyone is able to take part, as you will be teaching mixed abilities.


Working conditions

You will normally work from 9am to 3.30pm.

When you are not teaching, you will need to plan lessons, mark students’ work and participate in meetings and school activities.

You will also arrange matches and practice sessions for the school teams, which is likely to involve some evening and weekend working.

Teaching will take place in the classroom, gym, and on indoor and outdoor pitches, and you will be required to work in all weathers. You will have to travel to other schools for away matches and you may also organise and attend tours at home and abroad.


Future prospects

While PE is not a priority subject in England and Wales, there is currently a high demand for PE teachers in Scotland.

As you gain experience, you could move into a role as curriculum leader, a head of department or year group, or work with other schools as a leading practitioner.

With further experience, you could move into a management role and progress to assistant headteacher or headteacher with additional training and qualifications.

You could also go into teacher training, advisory work or become a school inspector. The National College for Teaching and Leadership provides opportunities for gifted teachers to develop their leadership skills.



You will have the opportunity to help students of all ages and abilities progress in a range of sporting activities.

This is a very active job, so you will stay fit and healthy.

You may have to deal with challenging behaviour.

You will be kept very busy with teaching, planning lessons, marking, organising matches, meetings and school activities.


Money guide

PE teachers starting out without a teaching qualification earn between £16,626 and £30,573 a year, depending on experience and location.

With experience, you can earn up to £47,298 a year.

Leading practitioners can earn between £39,374 and £67,305 a year.


Further information

Department for Education

General Teaching Council for Scotland

UK Coaching







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