What do you need to teach Zumba?

by Elizabeth on June 15, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s really not difficult to get certified to teach Zumba.  I recommend taking advantage of the Zumba Jump Start program because you can get two certs (Zumba Basics 1 and Zumba Gold) done at once and for less money than doing them individually.  Saving time and money = smart.

So then what? You’ve got your Zumba cert(s) burning a hole in your hot little hand… what goes next?  First, get your CPR cert.  No exceptions.  You need it.  I’m not being your lawyer here, but many would argue it’s negligent to teach group exercise and not have it.  If someone has a medical emergency in your class and you haven’t had proper training, your booty could be in hot water.  So get your CPR cert, keep your students and your booty safe.  No one dies in my class, that’s my #1 rule.

Many gyms require you to have what’s called a primary group exercise certification.  Primary group exercise certifications come from companies like AFAA (the most popular among group ex instructors because all gyms accept it), ACE and the YMCA.  These cost around $300 (including your books) and take another day of your life.  Secondary certifications are licenses to teach a particular format like Zumba, Turbo Kick, Body Pump, Pilates etc. etc.  Primary certifications are harder to pass. While secondary cert companies want you to have fun, primary cert companies want to grill you.  Many people take the AFAA cert first and email me in terror because they can’t face their Turbo Kick certification after the trauma of AFAA.  The tone of the days are completely different, don’t worry!

As I’ve also mentioned before, a few hundred dollars here and there really starts to add up, especially if you don’t have a paying gig lined up. For my married ladies: Your husbands are going to think you have lost your damn mind when you start teaching classes anyway.  But start paying money out the wazoo for certs when you don’t have a job yet and your husband will probably have you committed. If you get Zumba certified and AFAA certified, buy some cute clothes… you could be pushing $700.  If you have $700 to throw around, well don’t be a stranger.  Throw some my way.

When I began teaching, I started in a small space that did not require an AFAA cert.  After about 4 months, I was ready to move to a slightly larger space (no AFAA cert required).  By then, I was ready to start subbing with the big boys.  I had four secondary certs under my belt, my CPR card and was decent enough I got on the sub list without my AFAA cert.  Then I landed a permanent class.

Once you’ve got a permanent class, that’s pretty much your ticket into teaching other places.  If you’ve been successful at one gym and your audition goes well at other gyms, most people just sort of assume you’re competent.  If you’re trying to get in with a super fancy gym (the ones with valet service and dry cleaners), you may have a different experience.  Those gyms probably wouldn’t even let me be a member, let alone an instructor, so I have no knowledge of their practices.

If you’ve never taught group exercise a day in your life, you really don’t need to get the AFAA cert right away.  You certainly don’t need to get it before you’ve taken your Zumba cert!  Start with the easier, more pleasant training.  Then make your way over to the grueling certification.  Many people actually fail the AFAA cert because they don’t have a lot of experience in teaching yet.

Next, get yourself a jobby job!  Find a studio or some sort of space that doesn’t require a primary certification.  Get a little income flowing before you drop another $300 on training.  It’s just smart — and in this economy, we have to be smart (unless you’re the person who is throwing money around.  Remember, my class schedule is on the right of your screen!)  You may find you’re perfectly happy teaching in a space where a primary certification isn’t required.  I was able to get by for over a year without one before I started setting goals that demanded an AFAA cert.

Instructors, how did you do it?  Do you have a primary cert? When did you get it?  Anyone ever have someone keel over in class?

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa Mormile June 15, 2011 at 9:23 am

Here’s my experience, and E pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. (I mean she pretty much always does, but anyway, I digress). I was interested in getting certified to teach and was thinking Turbo Kick. E pointed out a PiYo training that was happening and I ended up doing that one first. Then a few months later I did Powder Blue’s other two formats, Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle. I don’t have an AFFA cert yet. I don’t know when/if I’ll go for it. I’m still a baby instructor and at this point only teaching PiYo. I did get my CPR done, though where my card is I don’t know. No fatalities as of yet, though I’ve had a few women say that I’m killing them! I’m not really worried about the AFFA right now because I don’t plan on teaching at any major gyms in the near future. Maybe I will try to get on a couple sub lists a little down the road, but with my family and work schedules teaching a couple classes a week in the more intimate setting I’ve got is really the ideal thing for me.
And yes, my husband already does want to have me committed, especially when I explained my desire to go to All Star Presenter Camp, but he’s come to understand that this is something I’m passionate about.
Ok, I’m done with my long winded response now! <3

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Al Naimi June 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

Are you interested in working in Qatar.

qlecadeau at live.com

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Veronica July 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Thanks Lizzie and Teresa for your posting. I have joined a gym about 5 months ago, and started taking zumba classes. I fell in love with zumba: I love the music, the dance work out, the friends and everything about it.
I am thinking about becoming a Zumba instructor myself, and already got my CPR/AED certificate last sunday, and I am now signed up for the zumba instructor Class in Reston, VA on Aug. 4th.
I also was worried about the AFAA/apex group class certification, and the cost associated with it.
I am glad you posted that you started subbing even without that certificate.
I might actually try to do the same thing.
There is a big gym that is going to open at the end of September not far from my home, and I am currently a member there…I was hoping that maybe in the future I could teach there, but it might be that they will never hire me, since I have no previous experience in teaching group excersize.
Anyhow, you have inspired me to give it a try, and maybe I will find a place that will allow me to teach class just as a beginner.
thanks for “listening” to me. Greetings

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Elizabeth July 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Hey there Veronica! Thanks for the kind words! I’m so glad to help encourage new instructors! I’ll shoot you and email with some extra deets in it. Good luck to you girlfriend! <3

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Maria Melendez August 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Hi Lizzie,

I have been licensed to teach Zumba since 2009 with no prior teaching experience what so ever. My first job was at my local YMCA for $10/class – I got Zumba licensed in Jan ’09 and my mentor suggested that I soon after register for my AFAA primary cert – which I am so glad that I did. I didn’t begin teaching Zumba till March of 09 ( I took 2 months to prepare and did my CPR/AED prior to starting at the Y ) by April of 09′ I had already taken and passed my AFAA primary group cert. Had I known that I would never even need to show it I would have never dished out the $500 + for it. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I did it, but seriously get very angry when I have to explain to gyms and fitness institutions that I should make more than the average instructor that only attended an 8 hour workshop, hence the reason why I became independent. Mind you that even after obtaining my AFAA 2 months shy of starting my group exercise teaching experience I was not acknowledged nor was I even given a substantial increase a year later by the YMCA. I am certainly glad that I have that one certificate that makes me stand out above the rest because trust me I have seen some classes with no cueing, no direction, no modifications, no reminding people not to hold their breath – as many do. I actually had a lady fall once in my class and I was scared to death. The first thing everyone did in the middle of class was run to her aide. If I had not been trained my first instinct would have been to hover over her as well, luckily she was ok but my initial instinct was to get everyone away from her so that I as the instructor and the one with the CPR training be able to evaluate her and handle the situation at hand, trust me I was scared. I am honestly extremely disgusted by the Fitness facilities being run by people with no fitness experience what so ever. The gyms in my area don’t even ask to see a copy of your cert to make sure it’s not expired. I think it’s the responsibility of each individual instructor that chooses to teach a group fitness class to get themselves trained properly, if $$ is a factor then ask someone to lend you their books, check amazon, sign up for APEX which offers the group cert for $99 which is a STEAL of a BARGAIN compared to the $500 + ( at the time I was working but it still HURT MY POCKETS ) I paid to get certified. Everyone that is teaching a GROUP FITNESS class and plans to do this as a part time/ full time career should be trained and certified no questions. The fact that the general public is blind to what is needed and should be mandatory should keep that instructor from doing what’s right before something really scary happens in one of their classes. Good luck to all ~CiCi

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Carolyn S. July 22, 2012 at 1:20 am

Marla,

Thanks for the great info you added. If I may ask, what is the name of the book you are referring to (I assume containing all the info I would need to study) for the AFFA certification?

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Misty G July 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Hi Maria and Lizzie (and anyone else reading),

Thank you so much for the plethora useful of information you’ve provided. I’m so grateful to have found your website Lizzie.

I’ve signed up of APEX for my group cert, but I noticed that previous group exercise experience is required. Are there different levels of primary group certifications? (BTW, APEX is $99/day, but they also charge you $129 + shipping and tax. In the end, you’re still paying $300, but you save $200 since the workshop is $99 instead of $299.) Will the test be at the end of the workshop? I read this on the FAQ on AFAA site and got even more nervous…

“…the practical exam consists of two portions: group and individual. During the group portion, participants are required to demonstrate their knowledge and practical skills by performing safe and effective exercises for several categories. The exam includes warm-up, cardio (of choice), strength and stability exercises for the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body and flexibility stretches. Participants are scored on both content and movement execution. For the individual presentation, each participant may choose either a stretch, cardio, or strength exercise and demonstrate the way to teach it in a multi-level setting. Participants must show beginner, intermediate and advanced versions of their exercise and use verbal teaching skills. ”

I don’t have a job lined up, but I am signed up for Zumba Basics at the end of August and my CPR/AED certification class is in 2 weeks. Since I’ve taken several Zumba classes (and also Step, Kickboxing and Boxing) and have been following the Zumba DVDs at home for almost a year, I’m pretty familiar with how classes should run, but again, I have NO group exercise teaching experience at all only participation.

I was really excited about all this, but now that I’m all signed up and just biding my time, I’m kind of having a panic attack. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks,
Misty =)

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Misty G July 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Oki.. just found this website and I’m feeling a little better about APEX. I do have a month and a half to prepare for the work shop, less depending on how long it takes for the study guides to arrive.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7167161_prepare-primary-group-exercise-certification.html

See what I mean about panic attacks? I can’t stop the roller coaster of confidence/doubt.

Mantra… Nothing in life is certain except for Death and Taxes…. I need to shut my brain up I think. LOL

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hey sweet pea! The AFAA cert is extremely self explanatory as you go through it. I took it over a year ago, so my recollections are wee bit hazy. LUCKILY, I blogged it back after I took the cert! http://fitwithlizzie.com/2011/07/11/checking-the-afaa-certification-off-my-list/

Ta da! So read through that and email me if you have any questions. You got this. Don’t stress. It saps your energy. xoxoxox

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Misty G October 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I passed!!! =D Now on to memorizing some moves and teaching some classes…. Thanks again for all the info you’ve provided.

Maria Melendez August 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm

last paragraph typo

*shouldn’t

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Elizabeth August 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Thanks for the great comment Maria! Your experience is very interesting — most gyms around here do tend to require the AFAA cert. I’m surprised the YMCA did not require a group ex cert because they have their own certification program. I would assume they’d insist the instructors get certified there!

It’s also funny the YMCA didn’t pay you very highly — the one here in my neighborhood doesn’t pay it’s instructors at ALL. Hmph!

You raise some good points about safety issues and cueing. I felt that most of that I got from my secondary certifications, but I had taken a lot of them before I took my AFAA cert and they were primarily Powder Blue formats. Those really emphasize safety and cueing.

Anyway, thanks again for the great perspective about AFAA! I think you’re right, if you’re serious about teaching and about your student safety, it’s important to have it.

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Erika August 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hey girls (and lizzie!)

I am getting zumba certified tomorrow. I’ve danced since a little girl, and done zumba (off the DVDs of course) for years. One question quickly….are the new zumba DVDs worth it?

But more than anything I have a place to teach, there will be no subbing. Even though I KNOW I can DO, but I have stage fright like crazy, and will be biting my fingernails before my first classes!!!! Not to mention I gained 30 lbs after losing my daughter so how will people think of a not super skinny size 0 zumba instructor? However I’m pretty darn sure after teaching a 2 classes a week I’ll start getting back into fitness mode.

In my opinion, I think every teacher has their own style. On mine, not only do I plan to bring some uniqueness to the class (at the end I want to focus on core training and stretching….so I’m thinking about calling the class zumbafusion). I want to bring personalization to the class. Would it be appropriate to make a paper to fill out (only if they wanted to) with each persons individual goals and what they want out of the class? I also want to invite the clients to feel free to ask for help, and/or a move or a song or and idea they’d love to incorporate int0 the class. Maybe to make them feel more connected and at ease with me and the class itself? What is your take on that?

The dumbest part is I have performed dance and LOTSA music over my lifetime, yet still get stage fright!

Is it helpful to take the zumba basic 2, or just keep on going with the others? I’d love to do zumbatonic (no stage fright there!)!

I’d love to hear from ya, if you could give me some pointers!!! (And I do work in healthcare and obviously have my CPR, so I’m good there). Love the APEX idea and will look into that asap! Is that as accepted as AFAA? And by the way I ordered a motivational CD from Charlene Johnson already, she seems awesome!

Get in touch if you could! I would love some pointers so I’m not bulemic before me first class LOL!!!!
thanks!!!!
erika :)

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Carolyn S. July 22, 2012 at 1:34 am

Erica

All of your ideas are great to me. As a student of a class, the more unique and involved the instructor is, I enjoy coming back again and again. As an instructor, your reputation will be a major factor in your overall success. As for the stage fright…SMILE….A LOT!!!! If you are having fun your students will have more fun and within a song or two you will forgot you were ever nervous to begin with. And, ALWAYS encourage questions about the steps, moves, arm and hip form, etc… It is so easy for a student to get injured if they are doing something incorrectly (this I know from personal experience ;-)).

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Sylvia Middlestadt September 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

This post was super informative! I started Zumba less than a month ago and already paid for my instructor class with Gina Grant in October. I’m excited to go and have been worried about working toward the AFAA. It’s nice to read that I can get experience without it and that’s definitely the route I’ll be taking. My husband definitely thinks I’m insane, but is being really supportive.

I looked into our YMCA and it looks like they take volunteers to teach classes. I think I’ll do it anyway just to get the feel of teaching since I’m pretty much an instructor still in the womb. Here’s hoping I can at least get a volunteer job.

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Rachel October 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Just stumbled on your website today and have been eagerly devouring all the excellent posts. I’m signed up for Zumba Basics certification at the end of this month, so finding your website could not have come at a more opportune time. You answered a lot of questions I had about ZIN membership, what went on in the Basics 2 workshop, teaching, other exercise certifications, etc. Thanks for this great resource, and I’m looking forward to becoming a regular reader!

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Wondering January 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

There are so many facilities in my area advertising Zumba, but the instructors are not even Zumba certified, and have absolutely no experience in the fitness field. Even scarier, they’re adding toning to the routines. I hear about their classes, no warm ups or cool downs, 100 mph through the routines, no cueing, backs turned, etc. I taught Zumba for 4 months before getting my personal training certification. PT or group ex cert is required at the facility I teach . Next month I test for the AFAA Group Ex cert. I’m so so so glad I’ve taken the addition certifications. My classes are so much more effective now, and I feel so well rounded as an instructor. I know the warning signs to look for in participants, how to properly monitor a class, how to shape bodies without causing injury or muscle imbalances. The extra certifications are worth every penny, in my opinion.

I’m curious…is there a law against teaching a class without a certification? I know calling a class Zumba, without being certified is copyright infringement and whoever teaching can be made to stop, but what about other exercise classes?

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Elizabeth January 12, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hi there!

The law about teaching exercise or personal training will vary depending on your state/country. My state does not require a group ex certification to teach classes, though it may require a personal trainer’s cert to do 1 on 1 training (I can’t remember).

So they may not be violating any law by hosting exercise classes without a license from Zumba (or other company). However, if they are violating Zumba’s copyright, Zumba takes that very seriously. You can report an unlicensed Zumba instructor here: legal.compliance@zumba.com and verify their Zumba status by looking them up under “find an instructor” on their website.

I would assume other exercise classes would be the same — you would report the violation to their legal department.

Hope this helps! Good for you for your diligence in getting proper certs!

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Wondering January 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thank you for the reply and the website! I will ask at the AFAA testing on my state’s requirements.

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Able Mabel January 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

As a fitness instructor I am concerned with the fact lots of ‘Zumba’ instructors are popping up all over the place with out any real knowledge of the body, bones, muscles, tendon, synovial joints, how many know about slow twitch and fast twitch? Are they screening the people who come to the class with regards problamatic joints, or possibly a bad back. Seems to be all to easy to become a ‘Zumba’ instructor and then be let lose on the general public. Just a tad worrying, has any one thought of how much the first law suit will be for, when some one gets badly damaged.

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Carolyn S. July 22, 2012 at 3:51 am

What are the repercussions of taking Zumba with a bad back? Also, with a persistent injury to the extensor tendons in my foot?

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Hey Carolyn! That’s a complicated answer, so I’m going to email you! <3

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Sara Williams January 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

THANK YOU!!! I have been searching for many months on this exact information… mainly, whether I have to have the ‘scary’ primary certification before getting certified in Hip Hop Hustle. Gosh! This is so helpful! I was a dance instructor (all ages) for 8 years and I love Chalene Johnson’s stuff. So, along with my new found love for fitness and encouraging others, this seems like a perfect fit. But I wasn’t sure where to start, until I found your information. Thank you!!!

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Anna Talley February 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hello…I’ve gotten my zumba certification…but my problem is I dont have anywhere to instruct a class…gyms around here are not hiring…I was told to do it in my house but its not big enough for all that moving around! just wondering if you can give me some ideas of where and what are some places I can hold a class! Just tired of everyone around here saying no….or they already have instructors!! so please if you have any ideas of where I can have a class…i’d appreciate it!! without having to go through all the hassle!!
Thank You for your time,

Anna Talley

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Nikki March 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi Anna..I can only imagine your fustration. I would suggest you start with the schools in your area, if you have kids maybe you can speak with someone on the pta committee..Also stop by your local churches.. Alot of the memebers want zumba but dont want to go to a gym…LAst but not least..word of mouth always works best..Hopefully those suggestions work out for you…Good Luck!!

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Laura December 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Anna – we have Zumba classes at our locals VFWs, American Legions and Volunteer Firefighter Banquet Halls. You may want to check there.

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Tatyana May 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

Hi i think you can start give clases at the local library, once a week!

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Leslie March 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Thank you for your information about instructors who are teaching Zumba classes, without being certified/licensed. There is a gym owner (in the town I live in) who is not certified/licensed…yet…she advertises (via local newspaper & flyers) her scheduled Zumba classes for adults and children.

She has also advertised that she is a Certification Specialist for the American College of Sports Medicine, yet….she is not in the ACSM database (I checked).

What can be done about this fraudulent woman who misrepresents her credibility in the Health & Fitness industry? She has a recent DUI and is seen smoking behind the local bar. It is incredible what this woman does and gets away with.

I live in a very small town, in N. California. I cannot be the one to report her.

How serious is Zumba about seeking out those who are illegally using the Zumba copyright and trademarks??

Thanks for “listening”………. :))

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Elizabeth May 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

Hi Leslie! Zumba is extremely serious about pursuing unlicensed instructors/clubs. If you suspect that she is using the license improperly, you can report her to: http://www.zumba.com/en-US/trademark/

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! I don’t always see my comments. xoxox

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monica May 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

It looks easy to become a volunter after you have yor certification,everybody tells you just get the license,good I got my license in March and I wanted to be a volunter for Zumba trainer in the ymca and now they sad that it is a paid position and they can’t accept me like a volunter…I feel very dissapointed and frustated.What could I do?

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Elizabeth May 7, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Monica! This happens… the class opportunity dries up after you get certified. Boo! But guess what? YOU make your own opportunities baby doll, they don’t come to you. Contact dance studios, martial arts gyms, yoga studios in your area. Call other gyms. How about you get a paying position instead of volunteer? Zumba takes a lot of time and energy — even if you’re only teaching 1 class a week. You’re going to want some compensation or it will start to feel like a burden.

Keep me updated sweet pea and thanks for reading! xoxoxo

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Al Naimi June 9, 2012 at 11:23 am

Are you interested in working in Spa and fitness club in Qatar.

qlecadeau@live.com

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laura June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hello! Im taking Zumba classes and im.very interested in becveoming a zumba instructor i live in Denver, colorado..please giveme somi e ideas h iow should I stirted and

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laura June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hello sorry my phone was getting crazy and everything was spellimg wrong! Again my name is laura and im taking zumba classes everyday! I love it and im thinking in become a zumba instructor! I live in Denver, colorado..but i dont know where should i start? I heard that i need a CPR certification ? Please can somebody give me some ideas in what i need to do first or where should i go? And did anybody knows how long is going to take to get all the certifications i need to become a zumba instructor?? Thank you!!

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Jen Edmund Gelfman June 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi everyone!

I’m registering for (next month’s) Zumba instructor training here in NY and have additional questions which I’m awaiting a call back from the contact person. Meantime., glad I checked online and found your website. I got the answers to my questions. :) Thank you Elizabeth & Maria for sharing and helping.

Maybe some of us will meet in the future at Zumba convention. Until then, Keep on!!

P.S. Laura, just a suggestion, let your class instructor know you’re interested in becoming an instructor too. You can also check out http://www.zumba.com for all that relates to available training dates, cost, registration and lots of other info.

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Elizabeth July 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Great suggestion Jen! <3

Laura, your questions about CPR certs and my opinion about them (ie, yes, get one) and the other certs are all answered in the post you are commenting on. As I’ve mentioned above, the requirements vary from gym to gym. There are also links in that post to other Zumba blogs. I’d really recommend going through and reading them. I spent a lot of time putting the info out there for ya. ;)

Best of luck to you!

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Ellie@Fit for the Soul August 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Hii Lizzie! I know this is a really old post~but I have to tell you that I really appreciate it because there are a few ways I can go career-wise for the present moment, and fitness is definitely something I’m passionate about! I think your thoughts on cert. really shed some light on the things I’ve been wondering about. :)

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm

So glad to help Ellie! I’m always here if you have questions! xoxox

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Danyel August 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I too am glad I found this post and see folks are still responding to it. I am getting certified for B1 next month and I’m super excited. However, in October I will be giving a demo, and I’m totally stalling because I am so nervous about learning routines for the demo. On top of that, I think practicing a routine has caused my Plantar Fasciitis to flare up… and now I feel stuck in this cycle.

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Marchelle August 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I am currently a primary group instructor through AFAA, can I teach Zumba with only this certification or do I need to have Zumba license too?

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hi Marchelle! You may not use the Zumba license name for your class unless you have a current license from Zumba. So while many AFAA instructors teach “cardio salsa” or “cardio dance”, they can’t call it Zumba without the company license. Check out Zumba.com for more specifics about how they regulate their licensing. I hope this helps! xoxox

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Rasheda August 30, 2012 at 4:17 am

Thanks for the great post! I became certified in Zumba last week– shout out to my Zumba Mamis. I can’t wait to start teaching classes, and, like so many others, don’t have a job lined up. That’s ok. I want to start teaching classes a few times a week in my apartment complex’s clubhouse. The apartment managers are interested. I’m excited.

However, I’m stressing out because I’m not sure what I need to do, or what forms I need to fill out in order to be an independent instructor. Because I want to charge for the classes, do I have a special tax form? Do I need a special license? How do I report earnings? Do I have to report earnings at all (I’m not sure many people are)? And not to mention questions about liability insurance and music licenses.

I need a checklist of what an independent Zumba instructor needs to get started. Bare mininum (overhead is expensive!), to ideal. Can anyone please help?!

Sincerely,

Overwhelmed and Stressing

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Chris September 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

i want to get certified in zumba (b1) so i can make extra money while in college. some of my questions are,
can i teach anywhere? (there is a church in my neighbor hood that rents out the basement for square dancing and weight watchers and it would be a great place to have a zumba class).
If i teach in a place like that I dont need a certification for group exercises ?
(I plan to get cpr training since I plan to be a camp counsler and will need it there too and cause it is a good idea to have. )
Is it hard to start a class from scratch?
Sorry i have so many questions. this blog helps so much! :)

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Elizabeth September 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

Emailed you Chris! xoxox

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Carla October 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Hi there!

I have a lot of questions like Chris. I really want to get into teaching but I never have done any sort of fitness class teaching. I love Zumba and dancing in general and I’d love to do it to make extra money and have fun doing it!

Right now I’m in grad school, how time consuming is it to get everything ready for the class sessions?
Can I teach anywhere? I have CPR training
Like chris asked, is it hard to start a class from scratch?
How can I check songs to use them for classes?

I have lots more questions but these are my top ones! Thanks and you have a great blog! :)

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Sebrina October 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I currently work as a manager for a women’s workout facility. I’ve had so much trouble finding a Zumba instructor in our area. They are either taken, or too far away. So I thought about getting certified myself to do Zumba instructing. I work there already and have taken the CPR classes required for the facility. Just wondering if it’s worth the money? My boss says she will pay me as if I was an independent Zumba Instructor if I decide to take the class. What do you think? Kinda like you said my husband thinks I’m crazy a long with my 3 kids. So is it worth the extra money?

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Micheal Rubinoff November 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

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Stephannie November 22, 2012 at 10:00 am

Hi Lizzie. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m new to your site, but not new to Zumba. What can I say, I love Zumba! Your site is so refreshing and wanted to ask you and other instructor opionions about an idea that has been burning in my heart. Ready…here goes! LOL

I live in SE Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Chicago. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science and Bus Mgmt, and Masters in Nutrition/Education. I will be getting my Zumba certification in Jan 2013. I work a full-time J.O.B. during the day. I’ve been teaching group fitness classes for over 10 years.

With that bit of history, here’s my idea. I would like to lease and renovate a 3500-4000 sq ft space (which would hold over 50 Zumba participants) so I can teach Zumba a couple nights a week. The going class rate in this area is approx $50 for a six week session. Instead of being affiliated with a local club getting paid $12/hr, I would love to continue helping others while opening a fitness studio. I’m not quite ready to quit my full-time job and have the studio as my only source of income. Therefore, to help off-set the monthly costs, I was thinking of renting time slots each day to other instructors who may be interested in teaching fitness classes like Zumba, Yoga, Hip-Hop, etc. I have read many comments on your site where instructors got certified in Zumba, but had no where to teach. All that effort, should be put to good use. :-)

The space would include a new aerobic floor, new sound system, and new microphone. Instructors would not be employed by me, but simply rent the space. They would sign waivers in case of injury. I would have a main website to help promote their class schedule in the studio, but each instructor would be in charge of their own classes including marketing and registration. They would not have all the responsibility of overhead costs, but still teach and be their own entity and get paid what they are worth.

Here’s a quick example, each instructor could charge $50 for each six week class (and for easy math) you have 50 people sign up. That would be $50×50=$2500 or $416.67 per class per week in your pocket.

As instructors, could you see yourself renting a space to teach? If so, what would you pay to rent the space from me?

Thank you for taking the time to “listen.” I would appreciate any comments. If you think I’m nuts, I will accept that too. LOL. Thanks again!

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Courtney January 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm

This has been extremely helpful! I am a college student and go to Zumba twice a week. It’s so much fun and such a great workout and I’ve just fallen in love with it. Lately, I’ve been really set on getting certified one day and have been trying to look into it, but I honestly still don’t really know where to start! I am already CPR and First Aid certified…any advice? Thanks!

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Omi March 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Hi All, and a special shout out to Elizabeth for posting this article.
this was very nice and helpful to read. Just yesterday i took a zumba class(was dragged to it by my family) and i LOVED IT! …im a bit lazy when it comes to excercise and id really like to shed 20lbs but need something motivating…so since i love dancing and i can pick up steps quickly, my sisters and mom thought i would enjoy this and i really did. One person infront of me turned around and asked “are you sure this is your first time doing Zumba?”…that made me happy…
it also made me think of the possibility of getting certified…first i didnt even realize that is required so i googled it and this article came up first…
very informational–thank you..

i still have many questions and have been reading through peoples comments..very helpful and congrats to those who have taken the courses and passed and are now teaching.

I live in Maryland and not sure what i need to do to start the process, but ill look up local places that could provide the training and start there..
i am however afraid of getting up there and leading a class as i have never taught anything to anyone…i can easily pick up any dance moves, but teaching a class is a whole different ball game…
i do however feel that this would be motivational and a great way for me to stay disciplined while also staying in shape and dancing by butt off!. its like being in a club but better! everyone around you is there for one reason only…TO DANCE AND GET IN SHAPE!
so now im semi-hooked and will welcome any suggestions on where to start..as im starting from scratch with no prior knowledge of ZUMBA or TEACHING!.

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Omi March 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

i forgot to ask…

can you give me a ball park figure on what a Zumba instructor makes?
perhaps one with the AFAA certification and one without?
how does the process work? as in when you go to the gym, do you establish a rate per person attending or the gym tells you how much they pay you per class?

it would be helpful to understand how the process and logistics of this type of teaching works?
let me know.
thanks!

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Chrissy April 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

Hi,

I am planning on getting certified in Zumba. However, I have many questions like above as far as the paperwork, forms, waivers needed to start a class and just starting some choreo.

It looks alot easier than it is. I feel like I am going to have a hard time coming up with one hours worth of choreo and memorizing it. Not to mention stage fright for the first time until becoming confident.

Thanks!

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April June 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I was curious if I could teach zumba privately without having a certification in NJ.
I have been doing zumba and know many people who can’t really afford zumba classes, so i was thinking to do it at a local park where we would have space and just charge a little amount or take donations. But as i mentioned I am not certified in ant way, I am just good at it (well I think I kind of am ( : )

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Karina June 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Do you need a bachelor degree to become a zumba instructor and to open your own little place

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dana November 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I become a certified zumba instructor a week ago and am having a hard time memorizing my routine. Any helpful hints? Also can you tell me what some key points to a proper warm up and cool down would be? I want to make sure I am doing them properly. Thanks so much! Dana

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Jeda January 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

I’ve been doing Zumba for about 5 years now, and I love it! My husband swears that my abs look better than when he married me 14 years and 2 kids ago. My dilemma is that I will be teaching overseas for a semester, and I don’t think that there is a Zumba class in Quzhou, China, the city where I’ll be working. I’m considering getting certified and teaching them myself. Unfortunately, when I inquired with the Zumba website about what it would take to teach classes there, I received a barely coherent reply that didn’t address my question. When I inquired again, I got no reply at all. Does anyone who reads this blog have ideas/info about starting Zumba classes where they haven’t been offered before?

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zahra February 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

So just a quick question, I was browsing the ZUMBA website because I am an Elementary School teacher and sometimes when it is too cold to go outside I do ZUMBA with my students! (I learned just by going to classes). So I thought hey, I could do this! So i started browsing through and wanted to ask to start teaching ZUMBA at gyms that do not require a AFAA certfication, all I would need is the one day ZUMBA fitness basic 1 course? And I can start?

thanks! and awesome blog!

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Faye March 13, 2014 at 7:06 am

Hiya
I am signed up to take a Zumba Jump Start Gold course in April, but am now leaving the country a few days after the course for another work contract not finishing until November. Do you think it is still worth my while taking the course now when ultimately I will really being paying for a 12 month license, but may only end up using this for 5months or less out of the year? From looking on the the zumba website, it suggests that you either become a ZIN member, or renew you liscense every year by taking another course. This seems a little pricey to invest in each year (along with Reps, Insurance etc if registered), and I wondered if it would be technically or lawfully be wrong to continue teaching Zumba after the first year’s license expires and without renewing the license?
Any advice or suggestions would be really appreciated!
Thanks!

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Madeline Colon April 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Hello! everyone I would like to become a zumba instructor and would like to know what i need to do to become licenced… I am now in chicago illinois but i am back and forth to Puerto Rico and here, please let me know how i can go about this thank you.

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Elizabeth November 5, 2012 at 1:31 am

Misty! OMG congrats honey!!!!!!

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