How Do I Become a Dance Teacher?

To become a dance teacher, you'll need years of dance experience, training, and dedication to qualify. Read on to find out more about dance teachers' responsibilities, as well as degree programs that can prepare you for a professional career. Take a look at potential salaries. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Dance Teacher?

As a dance teacher, you will educate others on the techniques and principles required to become a dancer. Physical fitness and overall health may be a component of your instruction, instructing students on how to avoid injury during dance and proper diet and nutrition for optimal performance. What you teach will depend largely upon the style of dance you are proficient in. While becoming a dancer typically does not require any specific higher education, college-level teachers of dance typically hold a master's degree.

Education Required Varies by school; bachelor's degree required for public schools, master's degree for postsecondary education
Training Required Long-term on-the-job experience
Licensure/Certification Teachers in public schools need to be licensed
Key Responsibilities Teaching students, mentoring pupils on diet and physical preparation, organizing and leading dance recitals
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 5% for all dancers and choreographers*
Median Hourly Wage (2015) $20**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Will I Do as a Dance Teacher?

Dance teachers provide dance instruction in a number of different dance styles. They teach ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, lyrical, ballroom, liturgical, and jazz. Dance teachers teach in a variety of different settings. They provide instruction in colleges, universities, and private studios. Many work with dance companies. Some teachers focus on kinesiology, nutrition, injury prevention, and dance history.

You may also focus on studio performance, taking on a mentor's role by working with young adults and professional dancers. You'd help assess your students techniques, provide constructive feedback, and offer coaching to help students reach their training goals. As a dance teacher, you must also be able to inspire young and inexperienced dancers in order to help them showcase their abilities in dance recitals.

What Training Do I Need?

Professional dancers begin training at an early age - most start dancing between 5-15 years of age. Many dancers typically stop performing in their mid-thirties, at which point a number of dancers turn to teaching.

However, in addition to the experience you have as a dancer, you'll need a degree in education and state teacher certification, if you wish to teach in public schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,(BLS), you'll need a master's degree when you apply for a teaching position at a college or a dance conservatory. A number of universities and performing arts colleges offer degrees in dance instruction. A master's degree in dance education prepares for the challenges of dance instruction. During your master's degree program, you'll learn how to assess your students' skills and learn to understand the developmental stages of a dancer. You'll also learn how to create curricula, help dancers avoid injuries, and apply multiple learning style strategies for a variety of dance skills and levels.

How Much Will I Make?

According to PayScale.com, most dance instructors earned between $10.71-$39.56 an hour as of October 2016. The BLS reported that about half of dancers and choreographers worked in schools and performing arts companies during 2014. It predicts an average 5% growth rate for these professionals.

What Are Some Related Careers?

Actors typically follow a similar path to dancers, though their skill set is slightly different. These professionals need to memorize scripts, interact with other actors in a natural way on stage or in front of the camera, and audition for parts regularly. Like dancing, acting can be a mentally and physically taxing career path, and success often hinges on talent and determination. Another potential career option is choreography. Choreographers work closely with dancers to develop routines, potentially working as teachers to instruct others on their techniques. Postsecondary teaching is a broad field covering all educators after high school. If you're interested in teaching other subjects and want to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in your subject of choice, you might consider this career route.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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