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Pathways to PE — Physical Education in NYC’s Elementary Schools

The application for Pathways to PE has closed, but the DOE is still actively recruiting certified Physical Education teachers. If you have questions about how to become a certified PE teacher, please visit the NYSED site.  If you would like to sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about future Pathways to PE alternative certification programs, please complete this survey.

Through an unprecedented City Hall commitment to Physical Education (PE) under the PE Works initiative, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is leading the nation in revitalizing quality PE, especially at the elementary level, with an infusion of certified PE teachers to provide quality instruction and lead health and wellness efforts in schools with grades K-5. An investment to hire more than 500 new certified elementary PE teachers by 2019 ensures all elementary students learn about their bodies, how to take care of them, and how to move. We’re looking for inspired leaders who are passionate about teaching students the skills and benefits of setting individual fitness goals, being good team players, and becoming part of a health-focused school community.

This new alternative certification program, called Pathways to PE, is designed to recruit and train committed individuals with a demonstrated interest in fitness and education to become fully-certified PE teachers in NYCDOE schools by September 2017.


Interested in a new career as a PE teacher in an NYCDOE school? Consider these great benefits available to Pathways to PE participants:

  • Make a lasting impact on New York City students. PE is an important academic subject that teaches students to be physically active, work as a team, and set fitness goals that can last a lifetime. Emerging research shows that students who are more physically active in school also perform better in the classroom.
  • Train with the best. Experienced, high-quality PE teachers are eager to open up their classrooms to aspiring Pathways to PE participants. Participants will gain exposure to best practices of PE instruction and acquire hands-on experience with NYCDOE students.
  • Continue your education. Pathways to PE participants will be set up for success through their coursework at Brooklyn College, skill-building sessions that focus on practicing and mastering teaching techniques, and citywide learning opportunities offered specifically for PE teachers.
  • Join a network of dedicated professionals. The NYCDOE’s 75,000 teachers are passionate, goal-oriented, and committed to students’ success. Once hired, Pathways to PE participants are entitled to all NYCDOE employee benefits, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) membership benefits, and the benefits associated with collaborating with the NYCDOE’s Office of School Wellness Programs. There are numerous opportunities for growth, continuous learning, and leadership available to NYCDOE educators throughout their careers.

Timeline of Program


Pathways to PE prepares aspiring PE teachers through the following components:

  • A multi-week immersion in an established PE teacher’s classroom for observation, hands-on experience, and exposure to high quality PE instruction
  • Skill-building sessions from the NYCDOE’s Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality Training team
  • Content-specific trainings from the NYCDOE’s Office of School Wellness Programs
  • A summer experience designed to strengthen and refine teaching skills
  • Job search and hiring support
  • A school-based mentor during Year 1
  • Access to all citywide resources and supports for early career teachers

During their training, participants receive a stipend of $5,000 ($1,000/month from April–August) in advance of becoming full-time teachers in the fall of 2017.

Program Eligibility

Strong candidates for this program possess the following:

Minimum education requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree, conferred by March 1, 2017 (candidates with a degree in exercise science, health science, sports management, kinesiology, or related fields are strongly encouraged to apply, but please note that all fields of study will be considered).
  • An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (Case-by-case consideration will be given to applicants with lower GPAs pending their completion of the GPA statement found in the application). Candidates who have completed graduate coursework should include their graduate coursework transcripts with their application.

Citizenship requirements:

  • U.S. citizenship, or permanent residency status with a valid green card
  • Fluency in both written and spoken English

Previous work requirements:

  • Applicants should not hold, nor have ever received, a teaching certification from any U.S. state or territory. Those who have already received a teaching certification, as well as those who are currently completing a certification program, should review our application and hiring process to begin their careers in New York City schools
  • Applicants should not have previous experience with any NYCDOE program that subsidizes a master's degree towards teacher certification
  • Previous work experience with children, particularly in an urban setting, is preferred but not required

Master's Degree Program

Participants will earn a subsidized Master of Science, Physical Education Teacher degree at Brooklyn College. While enrolled as Brooklyn College graduate students, participants will have full access to university supports and resources, including ongoing field supervision from a university-trained consultant during their first two years in the classroom.

Coursework will begin on March 27, 2017. Class schedules are designed to accommodate participants’ teaching schedules; classes are held in the evenings and during the summer. The master’s degree takes two to three years to complete depending on each participant’s undergraduate credits and prior coursework.

The NYCDOE subsidizes most of the cost of university tuition (excluding books and materials). For the 2017 program, participants are responsible for contributing $11,500 total towards their degree. This amount will be deducted in 44 installments from the participants’ regular paychecks once they begin teaching. There is no need for participants to take out student loans or write up-front checks for their graduate education.

Participants must remain in good academic standing with Brooklyn College throughout the duration of their master’s coursework in order to receive full subsidization benefits.

Job Search Process

Upon successful completion of their spring and summer training experiences, participants will be encouraged to find positions at one of 200 PE Works elementary schools. PE Works schools are committed to hiring high quality PE educators starting Fall 2017. All participants are expected to commit to at least three full years of teaching. Program staff will provide this list of schools and assist participants in choosing one that is a good professional and personal fit. Participants are hired through a process of mutual consent, meaning that both the principal and participant agree to the hiring decision. This process allows for successful matches for both schools and teachers.

In order to remain in good standing with the Pathways to PE program, participants must maintain their status as active full-time PE teachers.

At this time, Pathways to PE is only recruiting Physical Education teachers to teach at the elementary level. If you are interested in teaching PE at the secondary level, and have not received a classroom teaching certification for PE, visit the New York State Education Department (NYSED) website to find institutions offering teacher preparation programs or the NYCDOE's Office of School Wellness Programs to learn more about other options available to you.

If you are interested in teaching PE at the secondary level and have received a teaching certificate for PE – or you will receive one by September 2017 – review our application and hiring process and complete an Online Teacher Application in order to be considered for secondary PE positions.