Begin Main Content Area

Health and Physical Education

Health and physical education provides students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve and maintain a physically active and healthful life, not only during their time in school but for a lifetime. Health and physical education are integral components of a balanced educational program. Children who are healthy and physically active increase their chances of achieving to their highest academic potential and are better able to handle the demands of today's hectic schedules.

Health and Physical Education Academic Standards

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education requires that:

  • Every student in a primary (generally grades K-3), intermediate (generally 4-6), middle school (generally grades 7-9) and senior high (generally 10-12) programs must be provided with planned instruction that is aligned with academic standards in health and physical education.
  • Schools provide sufficient time and planned instruction in order for students to achieve proficient levels on the Pennsylvania Academic Standards in health, safety and physical education.

Since health and physical education are not assessed via a statewide assessment, school districts must have a local assessment system in place and determine the proficient levels on those assessments. Neither the Pennsylvania Department of Education nor the State Board of Education mandates a specific number of minutes or times per week that health and physical education is provided. Each school district has the authority to make the decision as to the most appropriate manner in which to schedule classes as long as it is within the boundaries of the Pennsylvania School Code and the Pennsylvania Code.

**Please Note: Neither the Pennsylvania School Code nor the State Board of Education allows for waivers for students from the requirements of health and physical education due to participation in a physical activity, such as interscholastic sports, band or ROTC. Physical activity is only one component of physical education and physical activity does not meet all of the requirements and standards of physical education.

The Standards Aligned System (SAS)is the Pennsylvania Department of Education's digital curriculum and instruction resource site. SAS is comprised of six distinct elements which provide a common framework for continuous student, teacher, and school and district growth. The elements are Standards, Assessment, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials and Resources, and Safe and Supportive Schools. SAS is designed to organize and deliver educational content carefully aligned to Pennsylvania Academic Standards.

Available on SAS are resources for teaching and developing high quality health, safety and physical education programs.


A person holding a valid and active Pennsylvania teaching certificate in the area of Health and Physical Education K-12 is qualified to teach all health and physical education courses in grades K-12.


An educator holding a valid and active 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.

Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines (CSPG) that pertain to health and physical education certification and course assignment include: CSPG 47 – Health and Physical Education; and CSPG 69 – Grades PK-4.

Questions regarding certification requirements should be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.

Organ Tissue Donation Awareness Project

The Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness (OTDA) Project was created by Act 102 of 1994. Act 102 established The Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund and designated the responsibilities of the Departments of Health, Transportation, Education, and Revenue to support statewide efforts that foster an understanding of the importance of organ and tissue donations. The Department of Education's OTDA Program strives to develop an awareness of organ and tissue donation, and transplantation through education in Pennsylvania's secondary schools. The OTDA Program provides educators with curriculum resources, professional development and implementation mini-grants. The OTDA Program is managed by Lancaster/Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 in partnership with the Department of Education.