Physical education (PE) class is a requirement for high school students across the United States. While exercise and activity are important, you may find yourself wanting to get out of taking PE for various reasons.

If you’re looking for tips and strategies to exempt yourself from PE, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here are a few quick ways to potentially get out of PE: obtain a doctor’s note citing medical reasons, switch to online school, or take PE through an equivalent alternative like a sport or activity outside of school.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore several methods you can try to get out of taking physical education class in high school. We will cover how to get a medical exemption, switch to online high school programs, use course equivalencies, and more.

Read on to find the best options to avoid PE based on your unique situation and school policies.

Get a Medical Exemption

If you want to get out of taking PE in high school, one of the most common and effective ways is to obtain a medical exemption. This allows you to be excused from participating in physical education classes due to a medical condition or injury that prevents you from engaging in strenuous physical activity.

Get a Doctor’s Note

The first step in obtaining a medical exemption is to visit your doctor. Explain your situation and the reasons why you believe you should be exempt from PE. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and determine if it meets the requirements for a medical exemption.

If they deem it necessary, they will provide you with a doctor’s note stating your condition and recommending that you be excused from PE.

Provide Required Medical Documentation

Once you have the doctor’s note, you will need to provide it to the appropriate school authorities. This may include the school nurse, counselor, or principal. They will review the documentation and assess whether it meets the school’s requirements for a medical exemption.

If approved, they will update your records accordingly and exempt you from participating in PE classes.

Renew the Exemption Each Year

It’s important to note that a medical exemption for PE usually needs to be renewed each year. This means you will need to revisit your doctor annually to assess your condition and obtain a new doctor’s note. The school will typically require updated documentation to continue granting the exemption.

Therefore, it’s recommended to plan ahead and schedule a visit to your doctor before the start of each school year to ensure a smooth renewal process.

Note: It’s essential to remember that obtaining a medical exemption should only be pursued if you genuinely have a medical condition or injury that prevents you from participating in physical education. Honesty and integrity are crucial in these situations.

Switch to Online High School

If you’re looking to get out of taking PE in high school, switching to an online high school might be a great option for you. Online high schools offer a flexible and customizable curriculum, allowing students to focus on their academic strengths and interests.

Additionally, online schools often provide alternative options for meeting physical education requirements.

Explore Accredited Online Schools

When considering switching to an online high school, it’s important to explore accredited options. Accredited online schools ensure that you receive a quality education and that your high school diploma is recognized by colleges and universities.

Look for schools that are accredited by reputable organizations such as the AdvancED or the Cognia.

Enroll in an Online Charter School

Another option to consider is enrolling in an online charter school. Online charter schools are publicly funded schools that offer online education to students. These schools often provide a variety of elective courses, including options that can fulfill physical education requirements.

Research online charter schools in your area and see if they offer PE alternatives, such as virtual fitness classes or participation in community sports teams.

Sign Up for Virtual Public School

Virtual public schools are another avenue to explore when looking to switch to online high school. These schools are typically operated by school districts and offer online education to students within the district.

Some virtual public schools provide physical education options, such as online fitness courses or partnerships with local gyms and sports organizations. Check with your local school district to see if they offer virtual public school options and if they have alternatives for meeting PE requirements.

Use Course Equivalencies

When it comes to getting out of taking Physical Education (PE) in high school, one effective strategy is to utilize course equivalencies. Course equivalencies allow students to fulfill the PE requirement through alternative activities or classes that are considered equivalent in terms of physical fitness and skill development.

Do a Sport or Activity Outside of School

One way to use course equivalencies to avoid PE is by participating in a sport or activity outside of school. Many community organizations and clubs offer sports programs such as soccer, basketball, or swimming.

By joining one of these programs, students can earn credits towards their PE requirement while pursuing their passion for a particular sport.

For example, if a student is an avid swimmer and spends several hours a week training with a local swim team, they can present their participation as a course equivalency for PE. This allows them to focus on their sport while still meeting the PE requirement.

Take Band, Choir, or Dance

Another option for utilizing course equivalencies is to enroll in band, choir, or dance classes. These performing arts courses often require physical exertion and can be considered as alternatives to traditional PE classes.

For instance, participating in a dance class can provide students with a rigorous physical workout, improving their flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. Similarly, playing a musical instrument in band or singing in choir requires physical coordination and breath control, contributing to overall physical fitness.

By taking these classes, students can fulfill their PE requirement while pursuing their artistic interests.

Enroll in JROTC

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is another course equivalency option for students who want to avoid PE. JROTC programs provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, physical fitness, and teamwork through military-style training and activities.

By enrolling in JROTC, students can fulfill their PE requirement while also gaining valuable life skills. This program offers physical fitness training, including activities such as running, calisthenics, and obstacle courses.

Additionally, JROTC focuses on character development and leadership, making it a unique alternative to traditional PE classes.

See If Your State Allows Exemptions

When it comes to getting out of taking Physical Education (PE) in high school, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of your state. Each state has its own policies regarding exemptions from PE classes, so it’s important to know what options are available to you.

Look Into Religious Exemptions

One possible avenue for exemption from PE is through religious reasons. Some states allow students to be excused from PE classes if their religious beliefs conflict with certain activities or dress codes.

It is important to research your state’s guidelines and provide any necessary documentation to support your request for a religious exemption.

Check for Exemption Based on Age or Grade Level

Another option to explore is whether your state offers exemptions from PE based on age or grade level. Some states allow older students or students in certain grade levels to be exempt from PE requirements.

This could be due to a variety of factors, such as physical limitations or participation in other physical activities outside of school. Be sure to check your state’s specific guidelines to see if you meet the criteria for age or grade-based exemptions.

Review Homeschooling and Independent Study Rules

If you are considering homeschooling or independent study, it is worth investigating whether these options provide an exemption from PE requirements. Some states allow students who are homeschooled or participating in independent study programs to be exempt from certain physical education requirements.

However, keep in mind that homeschooling and independent study have their own set of guidelines and requirements, so be sure to thoroughly research and understand the rules before pursuing this option.

Remember, it is important to approach the topic of getting out of PE in a responsible and respectful manner. Physical education is an important part of a well-rounded education, and it is designed to promote physical fitness and overall health.

If you genuinely believe that an exemption is necessary for you, be prepared to provide valid reasons and follow the appropriate procedures outlined by your state.

Make Your Case to the School

Talk to Your Counselor

One of the first steps to take in getting out of taking PE in high school is to talk to your school counselor. They are there to guide you through your academic journey and can provide valuable insight and assistance in navigating the process.

Discuss your concerns and reasons for wanting to opt out of PE. They may have suggestions or alternative options that you haven’t considered.

Get Parental Support

Having the support of your parents or guardians can greatly strengthen your case for opting out of PE. Talk to them about your reasons and concerns, and ask for their help in advocating for you. They can communicate with the school administration, attend meetings with you, and provide additional information or documentation if needed.

Remember, having a united front can make a significant impact.

Propose Schedule Accommodations

If you have valid reasons for wanting to avoid PE, such as medical conditions or commitments outside of school, proposing schedule accommodations to the school may be a viable solution. Research alternative classes or activities that align with your interests or goals, and present them as substitutes for PE.

This can demonstrate your commitment to physical well-being and personal growth while accommodating your unique circumstances.

It’s important to approach the school with a well-thought-out plan and a clear understanding of their policies and requirements. Remember, every school has its own guidelines for opting out of PE, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them.

Additionally, be prepared to provide any necessary documentation or information to support your case.

For more information on the guidelines and policies for opting out of PE in high school, you can visit This website provides comprehensive information and resources for students seeking alternatives to PE.


While physical education is an important part of a well-rounded high school curriculum, you may have valid reasons for wanting to be excused from the PE requirement. As you have seen, there are various potential options you can explore, from medical exemptions to online school to course substitutions.

Do your research to understand the exemption policies and alternative paths available in your school and state. Reach out for guidance from your counselor, teachers, and parents where needed. With proactive planning and persistence, it is often possible to get out of taking standard PE class during your high school career.

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