Dance Fitness Careers: How to Become a Zumba® Instructor

CaitlynZumba Instructor Tips

Become a Zumba Instructor blog title

If you enjoy dance and would love to be paid for working out, imagine your life if you were to become a Zumba® instructor. To learn how Zumba began and what it’s all about, listen to Founders Beto Perez and Alberto Perlman tell the story. Becoming an instructor isn’t difficult, but you’ll need more than just the desire before you can teach.

Zumba Instructor Salary

First you’ll want to decide if becoming a Zumba instructor is right for you. Become a Zumba instructor, and you’ll have the freedom to find a facility you like and set your own schedule and rates. Glassdoor lists the going rate for instructors is $20 to $54 per hour. This depends upon location and gym. That brings the average Zumba instructor salary between $25,000 to $50,000 annually. There are, of course, other opportunities beyond the studio to max out your salary. Instructors at Zumba parties, for example, can receive $100 to $150 per hour. Similarly, you could be a private Zumba instructor. If you’re seeking a career that helps you lose weight and keep fit, it’s one of the top jobs out there.

Requirements & Certification Process

There are no prerequisites. As long as you are 18 years or older, you can take a training course to become a Zumba instructor. Take a class or two before the training to be sure you’ll love it, but it’s not required.

There are two ways to get training certification:

  1. People who want to teach regular Zumba classes should begin with Basics 1 (sometimes called B1). After taking B1, other courses can be taken to certify for specialties such as Zumbini® , Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba or Strong. When you have training in these kinds of classes, it gives you a leg up on the competition. Some gyms find that classes like Strong are in high demand, but they need instructors who can teach the high-intensity interval-training workout. Your certification and expertise in Strong could be very valuable.
  2. The second way to obtain training is to start with Zumba Jump Start Gold. This will give you license to lead not only Zumba classes, but Zumba Gold classes.  Zumba Gold are lower-intensity classes often taken by beginners, active older adults, or others who require special attention.

No matter what you decide, training toward certification only takes a day. When you go to the Zumba website, you will find numerous days, times, and locations for certification classes. Each training is led by a Zumba® Education Specialist (ZES). The website notes, “Every single ZES has been hand-picked by Beto for their talent and extensive dance-fitness experience.”

Cost of Zumba Certification

The cost of Zumba certification training runs between $225 and $350. Once you earn your license, it is only valid for one year. It is necessary to join the Zumba® Instructor Network (ZIN). This is a monthly membership program, for ongoing support, up-to-date information, continuing education and instructor certificate renewal. Members rave about how helpful membership is, and how cheap: $35 at the time of this article.

Other Helpful Education

In addition to certification, it is helpful for instructors to consider educating themselves and earning certification in other areas as well. This includes CPR, First Aid, and AED Certification. This can be obtained via most Red Cross locations.

While some studios won’t necessarily require Zumba teachers to have these certifications, it is a great asset to have. Further, one could argue that it’s the responsibility of every athletic coach or instructor to have proper training should something happen. You don’t want to be in a situation where a medical emergency occurs and, instead of attending to the issue, you’re searching for help. (Also, protect yourself financially for when accidents happen with Zumba insurance for instructors.)

Be aware that another certification some studios and gyms will require is a primary group exercise certification. These are obtained from organizations such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

While it may take only a day to get your Zumba certification, primary group exercise certifications trainings often take more time and are harder to pass. To prepare, many experts suggest doing a lot of reading in preparation. ACE, for example, provides online classes before taking the exam.

Get a Job

Once you have all necessary certifications, you can begin teaching whenever you are ready and able. Be sure you are physically prepared to handle the pace. Many experts suggest taking at least three classes a week to ready yourself for the energy required to get through teaching your own classes.

Plus, with Zumba being offered at more than 20,000 locations in 180 countries, there are numerous opportunities around the world where you can find work. In fact, search for available jobs and you’ll likely find more than 800 Zumba Instructor jobs.

It’s often been said that when you find a job you love, you never work a day in your life. Working as a Zumba instructor means your life revolves around dance and fitness. You will meet new people, make new friends, help others with their well-being and keep fit in the process. Additionally, the growth opportunities are almost endless. Keep fresh by picking new music when necessary, incorporating new movements and teaching to different age or skill levels. If and/or when you decide you don’t wish to be subcontractor, consider opening up your own fitness or dance studio and hiring on other instructors to offer a variety of class styles and times.


Featured Image by Lincoln Earth Day under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.