Physical Education Requirements

All students must take Physical Education (PE). It’s part of NY State law. The State also sets the learning standards for PE. Students are not exempt from PE for any reason. If your child has a medical condition or disability, speak to your school’s principal or PE teacher.


Learning Standards

As in any subject, NY State sets learning standards at each grade level. They describe:

  • what students should know, and
  • what they should be able to do.


NY State law also sets physical education requirements for all students in grades K–12. They determine:

  • The amount of time per week students must have PE
  • How often students must have PE
  • Who can teach PE
  • What the curriculum includes


Elementary School

Students in kindergarten through grade six must have PE for at least 120 minutes per week. Grade six students in a K–6, K–8, or K–12 school follow the elementary school requirements. Depending on your student’s grade level, they may have PE on different days of the week:

  • Students in kindergarten–grade 3 must have PE every day
  • Students in grades 4–6 must have PE at least three times per week

Middle School

Middle school students must have PE every semester. The PE time requirement depends on the students’ grade level:

  • Grade six students:
    • In a K–6, K–8, or K–12 school: Follow the elementary requirements.
    • In a 6–8 or 6–12 school: Must have PE for at least 90 minutes per week.
  • Grade seven and eight students:
    • In all schools: Must have PE for at least 90 minutes per week.

High School

All students in grades 9–12 must have PE in high school.

  • Students must have PE for at least 180 minutes per week for 7 semesters, or 90 minutes per week for 8 semesters.
  • All high school students must earn the equivalent of 4 credits in PE in order to graduate.

Class Size

Elementary School

The maximum number of students in a PE class cannot be more than the number allowed in a classroom.

Middle School and High School

There must be at least one teacher for every 50 students in a PE class.


For all grades, certified PE teachers are the most qualified to teach Physical Education. A certified teacher has completed the education and training that NY State law requires.

Elementary School

Classroom teachers are allowed to provide PE instruction if they are under the guidance of a certified PE teacher or a PE-certified supervisor.

Middle School and High School

Physical education must be taught by a certified PE teacher.


The PE curriculum must follow state and city standards. We recommend a curriculum that helps students learn:

  • Why physical activity is important.
  • How to be physically fit.
  • How physical activity and fitness benefit a person now and for a lifetime.

We encourage you to speak with your child’s PE teacher to learn more about the PE curriculum.

For more information about physical education requirements, email