Physical Education Teacher Education

 The Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program at the University of Memphis is led by a vibrant and productive faculty that is nationally and internationally recognized for its scholarship. We are also highly engaged in our local community, specifically with the local school districts, the YMCA, City of Memphis Parks, and even the Memphis Grizzlies. Our programs are fully accredited by NCATE and the State of Tennessee. We provide research and service learning opportunities for students in our large partnership network. We offer financial support for students and prepare them for numerous career opportunities.

Future undergraduate students have the option of taking the PETE licensure or the non-licensure track. The licensure program prepares students to become physically literate teachers and coaches who are trained in the best practices of Physical Education and Wellness. There are multiple field experience opportunities with some of the finest teachers in the local schools. And the new Ready2Teach Residency program, which is a full-year student teaching experience, emulates an authentic school year starting at the very first day of school. This superior student teaching opportunity grooms our students to be effective teachers in a comprehensive manner.

Our non-licensure PETE option, the Community PE program, involves some of the same courses that the licensure students take, and prepares the student to teach and coach children physical activity patterns in community settings (i.e., YMCAs, local Parks & Recreation programs, Boys & Girls Clubs).

Click here to learn more about our master’s degree program in Physical Education Teacher Education.


Physical Education Teacher Education Licensure

The teaching profession, with its concern for the education of children and youth, is one of the most important professions society has to offer. A primary goal of the School of Health Studies is to prepare students to teach physical education and health, K-12. Students complete courses in general education, professional education, and physical education. Physical education courses encompass specialized courses in the foundations of physical education, skill development, and methods of teaching. Throughout the undergraduate years, students engage in clinical experiences, culminating with a full-year Residency student teaching experience during their senior year. Fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), graduates are licensed to teach Physical Education and Health, K-12, in the State of Tennessee.

Physical Education Teacher Education Non-Licensure

The Community Physical Education option is an alternative designed for students who wish to teach and work in community-based youth serving agencies. The majority of pedagogy and general education courses required in this option are the same as those required in the K-12 Physical Education. However, specific course substitutions allow students to specialize in community settings, and gain more knowledge and skill related to the design, implementation and evaluation of community-based programs, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities encountered in urban communities.


Students graduating with a BSEd are well-prepared to attend graduate school within the following areas*:

  • Physical Education Teacher Education (K-12)
  • Health Education (K-12
  • Community-Based Youth Serving Agencies

* Note: Students should seek the guidance of the Academic Services Coordinator, the pre-health professional advisor, faculty mentors, and/or the school of interest with regards to needed pre-requisite courses for graduate school admission.

The student who successfully completes the concentration in Physical Education acquires the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and coaching in traditional schools as well as community settings. Graduates elect to teach at elementary, middle school, junior high, or high school levels or seek employment with community agencies such as YMCAs, fitness centers, camps and other sport related businesses. Students are also well-prepared to begin employment within the following areas:

  • Corporate Wellness
  • Health Club Facility Management
  • Personal Training
  • Group Fitness Instruction
  • Fitness and Wellness Coaching
  • Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Internships and Employment of SHS Alumni

Student Testimonials

"The School of Health Studies at The University of Memphis, exceeded my expectations from the moment I walked into the office of my advisor, Kathy Walker. I had just returned from Romania, where I taught P.E. for a year, with no knowledge of what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted this to be my career. Knowing nothing about the Physical Education Teacher Education program at UofM, I entered the program after being out of school for sometime. Kathy Walker secured my classes and set me up for success. One of my first semesters, I had Dr. Niki Bray, Dr. Carol Irwin, and Dr. Todd Layne, along with other great teachers, many being graduate students. The amount of knowledge, passion, and desire for their students to not only pass, but to walk out of the program ready to impact children's lives everyday as a Coach and P.E. teacher was evident in each of my instructors. My professors set high expectations and pushed each one of us to be our very best, everyday. As a PETE major, I developed the professional goal to make sure a child can feel better about themselves and feel confident in the physical active world. I am thankful for this experience and can not wait to put it into practice."

-Rebekah Gosney, BSEd

"I had the privilege of earning my BSEd and am in the process of earning my MS from the University of Memphis. As cliché as it may sound, I really have learned a lot about physical education and how to go about teaching kids the right way to live a healthy lifestyle. One of the most awesome parts about being a member of the PETE program is that the faculty really want you to succeed and be great in every aspect of teaching. We hear encouragement all the time and really are being molded into great teachers and leaders in our profession. It feels like a family here and to be a Tiger for almost 6 years has been special."

-Dustin Duren, BSEd

"I cannot praise the Physical Education department at the University of Memphis enough.  I feel like I received the training and education necessary to be prepared for my own classroom as a Physical Education instructor. Physical Education is a field that I knew I had a passion in, however the PETE program opened my eyes to what Physical Education can truly be, and how it can be used to change the health of our world.  As a transfer student, I was brought in with open arms.  All of the PETE faculty are extremely knowledgeable and approachable with an "open door" policy.  The faculty have real experience and have completed extensive research to help students with their learning. Without question, much of the success I have earned as well as my potential for future success can be credited to the education acquired from the PETE Program and their exceptional faculty. I know that with my education and training at the University of Memphis, I am ready for the challenge of taking Physical Education in the classroom to the next level."

-Sam Thompson, BSEd

Human Performance Labs

Within the School of Health Studies, a collection of faculty-directed laboratories is available devoted to the scientific study of human health, performance, and fitness. View the laboratories and their respective directors.

Both undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to participate in faculty-directed research, through their acting as a participant. Students also work within the various labs as volunteers, interns, or graduate research assistants.


Learn more about the PETE Majors Club!

Growth and Development Opportunities

March 2018 - SHAPE America National Convention
Nashville, TN - March 20th - 24th


Please contact Todd Layne about this conference.



UG Catalog

Grad Catalog