What Is a Zumba Instructor's Certification?

Research what it takes to become a Zumba instructor. Learn about licensure, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Zumba Instructor?

A Zumba instructor is a fitness instructor who specializes in teaching Zumba, which is a group fitness workout that blends a variety of dance styles and Latin music. Zumba classes combine low- and high-intensity exercises that are designed to improve aerobic capacity, muscle strength, balance and flexibility. Instructors lead and motivate often large groups of students, some of whom may face physical limitations. They first master the workouts themselves, then prepare routines and improvise depending on student needs. Official Zumba certification is available; additional kinds of certification may also be preferred or required for employment.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Training Required Zumba Basic Steps Level 1 course
Certification Certificate from Zumba Academy required; some employers may require additional certification, such as first aid, CPR and/or national fitness certification
Key Responsibilities Lead group exercise classes, help individuals needing additional guidance, monitor safety of all class members
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% for all fitness trainers and aerobics instructors*
Average Salary (2015) $40,970 for all fitness trainers and aerobics instructors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Become Certified as a Zumba Instructor?

Zumba Academy offers certification for prospective Zumba instructors. The first step is to complete the Zumba Basic Steps Level 1 course, which introduces you to foundational techniques and the four basic rhythms. It also teaches you how to construct a routine and provides you with tools needed to teach a class, including DVDs, CDs and an instructor's manual. The only prerequisite to take a Basic Steps class is that you must be at least 18 years old. Certificates are valid for one year, and then they must be renewed; it is illegal to teach a Zumba class without a current certificate.

What Are My Job Duties?

As a Zumba fitness instructor, you conduct group exercise sessions. You lead the group through a Zumba workout, instructing them on how to perform the moves, when to change styles and what else to do throughout the session (including form and breathing techniques). You may provide beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons. This can mean assisting individuals who are having difficulties with the moves, offering one-on-one sessions and serving as an exercise mentor for people taking your class.

You must also maintain a safe environment and lead a safe workout. You monitor each class member to ensure nobody is overexerting, provide sufficient rest periods and confirm that members are performing moves correctly. If someone is injured, you may have to provide first aid and contact the appropriate medical services.

Do I Need Additional Training or Certification?

Depending on where you work, you may need to obtain cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or first aid certification. Employers may require or prefer you to have national fitness certification, such as that offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association or other organizations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

What Is the Earning Potential and Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors earned an average annual salary of $40,970 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Although specific figures are not available for Zumba instructors in particular, the same source reports an expected growth of 8% for all fitness trainers and instructors between 2014 and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a fitness trainer, instead of working as a Zumba instructor, you could specialize in teaching a different type of group class, such as yoga or stationary cycling. You could also work one-on-one with clients to provide individualized exercise plans as a personal trainer, which could include solitary workouts as well as group classes like Zumba. Another occupation where you could help people achieve wellness is a job as a physical therapy aide, where you would perform clerical duties in the office of a physical therapist and assist with the setup and cleanup of physical therapy equipment that can help injured patients improve their strength and mobility. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a high school diploma.

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