Adapted Physical Education Specialist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Provides individualized physical education instruction or services to children, youth, or adults with exceptional physical needs due to gross motor developmental delays or other impairments.

This career is part of the Education and Training cluster Teaching/Training pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Provides adapted physical education services to students with intellectual disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury, orthopedic impairments, or other disabling condition.
  • Adapts instructional techniques to the age and skill levels of students.
  • Instructs students, using adapted physical education techniques, to improve physical fitness, gross motor skills, perceptual motor skills, or sports and game achievement.
  • Maintains thorough student records to document attendance, participation, or progress, ensuring confidentiality of all records.
  • Assists in screening or placement of students in adapted physical education programs.
  • Assesses students' physical progress or needs.
  • Provides students positive feedback to encourage them and help them develop an appreciation for physical education.
  • Prepares lesson plans in accordance with individualized education plans (IEPs) and the functional abilities or needs of students.
  • Establishes and maintains standards of behavior to create safe, orderly, and effective environments for learning.
  • Writes or modifies individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with intellectual or physical disabilities.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Adapted Physical Education Teacher --
  • Certified Adapted Physical Educator --
  • Physical Education Teacher --
  • Adapted Physical Education or Adapted Physical Activity Specialist --
  • Adapted Physical Education Specialist-Workshop Leader --