Dance teacher guide

A Practical Guide to Becoming a Certified Dance Teacher

Becoming a dance teacher can lead to a very rewarding career in the field. In today’s ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to make a lasting career as a certified dance teacher. 

What Does a Dance Instructor Teach?

A dance teacher is a person who teaches others the terminology and technique of specific steps and movements used in dance. There are many different disciplines in dance such as jazz, modern, tap, ballroom and ballet. Each has its own method of movement that a dance teacher must be very familiar with. 

Although there are many differences between the forms of dance, there are basic steps that overlap. With most dancers studying multiple genres of dance, it is good to be familiar with the different modes of dance to have a better understanding of the origins and how to teach them knowledgeably. Instructors are often responsible for developing lesson plans and delivering the plans in an easily understood way. 

Most students of dance are young kids and teenagers. While there are many adult dance classes, the vast majority are for children. When looking to start on a path towards becoming an instructor, it is important to know what age group you are most comfortable and suited to teach. Toddlers and young children require an instructor to have a great amount of patience while being able to teach the basic steps in a fun and inviting way. As the age group increases, the instructor should be able to demonstrate and have comprehensive knowledge of more advanced techniques and movements. 

How to Become a Dance Teacher

To become a dance teacher, it is imperative to have in-depth knowledge of the discipline you wish to teach. Dance teachers should have backgrounds with several years of dance experience. It is equally important to be in good physical condition to better show demonstrations of the exercises taught in class. Knowing what age group and difficulty level you would wish to teach is an important first step on your journey to becoming a teacher. 

After that decision is made you will need to know what genres of dance you would like to teach. Some dance instructors teach many different styles of dance, while others choose to focus on only one. The higher the level of difficulty of the class becomes, the more knowledgeable and advanced the teacher needs to be. This may be a deciding factor in whether or not you choose to focus on only one method of dance. Before pursuing an education in dance instructions, you should first look at the many different paths you can take in your dance instruction career. Education will set the foundation for your career choice. Having a vision in mind of where you are going before you even get started will help guide you through the journey ahead. 

Where Can a Certified Dance Instructor Teach?

There are many places a certified dance instructor can teach. From teaching in public schools to universities, dance teachers with the right credentials can find an array of opportunities.

Dance Studios

Private studios will give you an open environment to be more creative with lesson plans. With over 56,000 private studios in the U.S. alone, there’s sure to be a studio in any given city. 

Outside of privately-owned studios, certified teachers can find fulfilling work helping children find passion for exercise and movement in after school programs. There are more creative-leaning options such as, choreographer or even professional dancer. 

Gymnastics Clubs

Gymnastics clubs are often in need of ballet teachers and choreographers for routines. A certified dance teacher can significantly add to the staff in helping the gymnasts find finesse in professional-level choreography in their floor routines. 

Gyms & Fitness Clubs

Fitness clubs across the nation are offering classes like Zumba, a fast paced aerobic dance fitness class that allows students to have fun and let loose while they get a phenomenal cardio workout. Another emerging fitness class is barre. This graceful and beautiful form of exercise draws it’s movements directly from ballet. 

Another path is to pursue the healing field of dance therapy. It is a fast growing field of connecting the mind and body in psychotherapeutics.

Education Needed to Become a Dance Teacher

Being a student of dance will give you the physical know-how, while pursuing higher education will give you a more practical and academic approach to your teaching career. Teaching in K-12 public schools typically requires you to have a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts. College-level teaching usually requires a Masters. Instructors in dance movement therapy are required to have a graduate degree that fulfills all of the professional requirements of a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) credential. 

However, not all dance teacher positions require you to have a degree. Private studios may be more interested in your personal experience in dance. It can be beneficial, no matter where you would like to teach, to receive certificates in dance education. There are many different ways to obtain certifications. Private and public colleges may offer courses, as well as many online programs and membership organizations. While certifications are not always mandatory to a position, they aid in demonstrating your passion for learning and teaching, giving you a potential bump up from competitors in the field.  

How to Get Certified in Dance

It is always best to do your homework on any certification you are going after, as there are many different options for getting certified. In-person learning may be something you are looking for, or maybe you prefer the flexibility of online learning. Either path you choose will present you with numerous course options. Some are basic and more broad, while others are much longer and in-depth. 

For example, the national dance education organization (NDEO) has a prestigious certificate in dance education that takes 3-5 years of course work to complete. You will want to find the right fit for the style and level of dance you wish to teach. Once you find your preferred program, you will be required to complete a certain amount of course work. This course work could include history, research, introduction to new techniques, and style specific pedagogy - the method and practice of teaching. 

After completing the course work, you will have to complete a final exam. Dance teacher exams are meant to ensure that the individual has successfully learned all of the material covered in the course and can apply them in the real world. Once the exams have been passed, the certificate will be provided to the student. 

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Dance Teacher

Certifications promote a mindset of continually learning and changing to the ever growing field of dance education. Programs that help you learn new, age-specific teaching techniques are vital for reaching a broader range of students. Each student is unique, so knowing how to apply many different modes of education will help your class excel. Additionally, curricula that include the science behind the movements and introduces you to the latest technology will give you a step up in creating the most modern of lesson plans. 

Not only do certifications give you a leg up in creating lesson plans, they also show current and potential employers that you are ready and willing to expand your knowledge and education. Some certifications help you attain high quality teacher (HQT) status. No certification is guaranteed to give you a higher salary, however, teachers that hold certifications are more likely to experience pay raises. Having a certification can give you the confidence needed to go after your desired job or ask for the pay raise you have been hoping to receive. 

Do Certified Dance Instructors Need Insurance?

The need for insurance is a question dance teachers will face when starting their career. Does the studio or school’s insurance provide adequate coverage in the event of a mishap? Will you have to pay for claims out-of-pocket while you are teaching? Will you be liable to pay for a student that was hurt during class? While your studio may have it’s own insurance plan, for the best protection individual dance instructor insurance is key. 

Dance insurance covers you for a wide array of different mishaps that can happen to even the most careful instructor. Thinking of the worst case scenario is never fun but being under-prepared if the worst happens is even scarier. Weighing the risk/benefit, you can buy a full-year of dance instructor insurance for just $179.

From slip and falls to student injuries, you can have peace of mind knowing you have comprehensive insurance that follows you every step of your career. Insure Fitness Group’s dance insurance also covers many different kinds of dance so that you can enjoy full coverage for a wide variety of popular dance modalities.

Getting Dance Insurance Online in a Few Minutes

Signing up for dance insurance might just be the easiest thing you do today. A quick application online is all it takes for you to find peace of mind while instructing your next dance class. 

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