Skip to main content

Physical Education Teacher Education (B.S.)

Apply Now    Schedule a Visit    Request More Information

PETE, student encouraging kindergarteners in relay activity

The Physical Education Teacher Education major provides knowledge, skills and abilities to students who are interested in becoming physical education teachers in preK-12 schools. Coursework includes skill and fitness competencies classes designed to teach candidates how to teach the content that forms the basis of physical education in schools as well as refine their personal skills in those areas. Content also provides candidates with knowledge to develop curriculum, organize and administer physical education and sport programs, work with children with special/diverse needs, work in recreational settings and teach dance and health in preK-12 schools.

Program Details

With this major and the accompanying teacher education coursework required for teaching licensure, candidates are eligible to take the Praxis II content tests and apply for a teaching license in South Dakota. Our recent graduates have been employed in several mid-west states, such as South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, but also on the west coast in California and as far east as Chicago. Not only does this major prepare students for teaching physical education, but it also leads to employment opportunities in areas such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and recreation programs.

PETE Mission and Goal


The Physical Education Teacher Education Program (PETE) is dedicated to preparing leaders in physical education. The PETE program meets this mission by preparing highly qualified teachers dedicated to the improvement of health and wellness in the community, state and nation. The PETE program is devoted to excellence in learning, leadership, stewardship and the effective communication of ideas.


To produce PETE candidates that will demonstrate the ability to understand and apply pedagogical and professional content knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and document their effect on P-12 student learning.

Accreditation Details & Goals

The SDSU PETE program is fully accredited by the Society of Health And Physical Educators of America (SHAPE America) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (CAEP), therefore ensuring a comprehensive vision of what a physical education teacher should know and be able to do upon teacher licensure. The PETE program has garnered national accreditation recognition by SHAPE America and CAEP through 2027.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the physical education teacher education major, teacher candidates:

  • will demonstrate an understanding of common and specialized content, and scientific and theoretical foundations for the delivery of an effective preK-12 physical education program.
  • are physically literate individuals who can demonstrate skillful performance in physical education content areas and health-enhancing levels of fitness.
  • are able to apply content and foundational knowledge to plan and implement developmentally appropriate learning experiences aligned with local, state and SHAPE America National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education through the effective use of resources, accommodations, and/or modifications, technology and metacognitive strategies to address the diverse needs of all students.
  • will engage students in meaningful learning experiences through effective use of pedagogical skills. They use communication, feedback and instructional and managerial skills to enhance learning.
  • are able to select and implement appropriate assessments to monitor students’ progress and guide decision making related to instruction and learning.
  • demonstrate behaviors essential to becoming effective professionals. They exhibit professional ethics and culturally competent practices; seek opportunities for continued professional development; and demonstrate knowledge of promotion/advocacy strategies for physical education and expanded physical activity opportunities that support the development of physically literate individuals (National Standards for Initial Physical Education Teacher Education, 2017, SHAPE America).

Student Requirements

Application for admission into the Physical Education Teacher Education program is required and can begin during the Spring semester of freshman year, providing PE 185, ENGL 101 and SPCM 101 have been completed (with a minimum grade of "C") or are in progress during the time of application, a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA is also required for admittance. Additional admission requirements are available from the Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) Coordinator.


Field placement begins early on in our program, with students teaching kindergarteners their first fall in the program. Field work continues throughout the program allowing students to spend time at all three levels, elementary, middle, and high school. We are not limited to location for these teacher candidate placements, with the use of technology, teacher candidates can be observed, and have been observed in Colorado, Texas, Illinois and California to name a few, in addition to local and regional placements.

During the student teaching semesters, the teacher candidates will sit for the Praxis II Content Physical Education exam (current pass rate is 100%) as well as the Praxis II Content Test 7-12 Principles of Learning and Teaching exam (current pass rate is over 95%).

Student Organizations and Clubs

PETE Jacks

Focus of club:

To promote a healthy campus environment while upholding the Student Code and the educational mission of South Dakota State University.

PETE Jacks Club Contact: Tracy Nelson

Other Professional Organizations

Career Opportunities

  • Coach
  • Physical Education Teacher
  • Park and Recreation Coordinator

Recent Employers

  • SD, MN and IA School Districts
  • Colorado School Districts
  • Chicago School District

Not sure if this major is for you?

Check out the Degree Explorer in Physical Education Teacher Education, to learn more.

For more information, contact: 

International Education Conference 2019

Faculty member, Tracy Nelson, presents at the International Education Conference in Oahu, Hawaii.

Tracy and long time colleague, Dr. Megan Adkins of the University of Nebraska- Kearney, presented on two topics at this year's International Education Conference.

Two students presenting "The S.T.E.M. of Academics is Physical Education."

In the presentation, Exploration of Health and Physical Activity Opportunities for Home School Children in Rural Populations, Tracy and Megan highlighted the wellness disparities within rural communities and explored their current study, which combines the Community-Based Participatory Research approach, Health Belief Model framework and Logic Model to assess current home school children's overall health and to evaluate the biophysical side of development.

The second topic the duo presented was The STEM of Academics is Physical Education. This session focused on how Physical Educators can STEM-ulate academic achievement through a cross-curricular approach that integrates Physical Education and STEM curriculum. This approach assists learners in developing physical and mental capacities, nurtures exploration and promotes academic and physical growth.