Begin Main Content Area

​CSPG 47 - Health and Health and Physical Education (PK-12)

Modified: September 1, 2019

Health and physical education is the science or art of teaching knowledge related to the physical, mental, emotional and sociable dimensions of health and physical education.

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for health education or health and physical education is qualified to teach all courses in grades PK-12.

Certification Assignment

An educator holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for Health and Physical Education (Code 4805) is qualified to teach: health; kinesiology; motor skill development and motor learning; group interactions; personal fitness; principles of exercise and training; the effects of physical activity on the body systems; games and sports; lifetime leisure skills; dance and rhythmic activities; outdoor skills and activities; and adaptive physical education and swimming/aquatics.

An educator holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for Health (Code 4810) is qualified to teach: human anatomy and physiology; human growth and development; human sexuality; personal health; nutrition, weight control and eating disorders; alcohol, tobacco and chemical substance abuse; mental and emotional health; personal hygiene; consumer health related information, products, services, and consumer choices; first aid, safety and prevention; diseases and disorders, HIV/AIDS education; community health; and violence prevention.

Special Considerations

  • An educator certified in this field may:
    • Provide professional development;
    • Serve in the role of mentor or advisor; and
    • Assist students in understanding how to read content area materials.
  • Swimming/Aquatics:
    • Any Instructional I or II certificate area may teach swimming/aquatics if they also hold:
      • A Water Safety Instructor’s (WSI) certificate from a Pennsylvania Department of Health approved provider; OR
      • A Lifeguard certificate from a Pennsylvania Department of Health approved provider.
  • The instructor of lifeguarding must be a Certified Lifeguard Instructor from a Pennsylvania Department of Health approved provider.


An educator with a Health certificate only is not qualified to direct or conduct classes in physical education.


Program Specific Guidelines for Certification.

Pa. Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604

22 Pa. Code: Chapter 4 §4.22, §4.23, §4.31

Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject: Previous printing dates on this subject: 3/75, 3/88, 7/04, 3/14.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #47
​9/1/2019​Updated grade scope for consistency and clarification.
  • Simplification of Certification Assignment.
  • Clarifications of Special Considerations.
  • Added staffing information for swimming/aquatics.
  • CSPG #47 – Health and Physical Education (K-12)
    • Lists more detailed subject matter to be taught under the physical education scope.
    • Lists additional detailed subjects to be taught under the health education scope.
    • Issues no longer addressed under the Health/Physical Education CSPG or a swimming related CSPG:
      • Mobility orientation.
      • Recess and play activities.
      • Swimming/aquatics.
      • Self-contained classroom.
  • CSPG #90 – Swimming Instruction and Activities
  • All bathing facilities (PA) are required to comply with the health and safety regulations promulgated by the Department of Environmental Resources (DER) regardless of a facility’s location in a school building or its operation by a school district.
  • A person with any Level I or II certificate is qualified for assignment as an aquatics instructor.
  • The Department of Education (PDE) requires that the individual aquatics instructor hold educational certification, but lacks the authority to mandate additional aquatic qualifications. PDE strongly recommends that the school entity make every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of its students. This may include requiring the aquatics instructor to demonstrate role competency by either: (1) possessing an appropriate current aquatic certification from a recognized agency or organization which provides such certification and training or, (2) having prior training and/or experience.
  • Because the aquatics instructor may be occupied with instructional duties during the class period, the school entity may consider having a second person on duty in the pool area.
  • Aquatics instruction is a specialized activity within the school’s health and physical education program. Therefore, aquatic instructors are under the direction of the supervisor designated to coordinate the health and physical education program.
  • Public school certification is not required to coach interscholastic aquatics sports teams.
  • CSPG #55 – Health and Health and Physical Education Certification and Assignment Scope (K-12)
    • A person holding a Health and Physical Education certificate may teach adaptive physical education at any grade level for handicapped students, but cannot include immobility training and other forms of physical therapy conducted for health/medical objectives.
    • Within a self-contained general education classroom, a person holding a certificate endorsed for elementary education or an area of special education may teach health and physical education.
    • A person holding an elementary or special education certificate may be assigned to conduct supervised plays activities and recess periods with students assigned to elementary education or special education.
  • CSPG #55 – Certification in Health and Health/Physical Education
    • Teachers certified in science or biology or as public school nurses and dental hygienists shall not be assigned to teach health as a separate subject.
    • When playground activity is scheduled and credited as a part of the school day (instructional time), such activity shall be under the direction of a certified physical education teacher.
    • Certification in physical education does not automatically qualify the holder to render instructional or coaching services in swimming.
    • Certification in physical education does not automatically qualify the person to serve as a part-time employee assigned as a coach of an interscholastic team.