Zumba instructor's aren't actually certified, they're licensed -- essentially becoming their own franchises in the fitness craze that's swept the world, with more than 15 million people taking Zumba classes in 180 countries. If you've tried Zumba and just can't get enough of it, and feel comfortable leading a group from on stage with body movements and no verbal cues, you might just be a Zumba instructor in the making.
Zumba is the workout; Zumba Fitness is the organization that offers training and licenses instructors. New Zumba instructors can opt for either of these one- or two-day instructor training sessions: Zumba Basic 1, which preps you for teaching the public, or Jump Start Gold, which includes a Zumba Basic 1 license and also prepares you for working with active older adults in Zumba Gold classes. Zumba Basic 1 is a prerequisite for most more advanced Zumba instructor training, while Zumba Jump Start Gold or a Zumba Gold training is required to attend training for more advanced Zumba Gold styles.
Prerequisites and Perks
You don't need any special training or knowledge to participate in either Zumba Basic 1 or Zumba Jump Start Gold training; you'll receive training in four basic Zumba rhythms -- merengue, salsa, cumbia and reggaeton -- plus a four-DVD review set, instructor manuals and the option to join the Zumba Instructor Network or ZIN. Paying the monthly ZIN dues gives you access to special choreography, music, continuing education and marketing materials.
Adding Boosts and Specialties
Once you're a licensed Zumba instructor you can participate in three-hour training "Boosts" to master new varieties of Zumba; Boosts are available for Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Kids, Zumba Kids Jr., Zumba Gold and Zumba Sentao, or seated Zumba.
You don't have to attend continuing education classes to retain your Zumba license; as long as you're a member in good standing of the Zumba Instructor Network or ZIN, your license never expires. Still, continuing education classes are the best way to learn new Zumba rhythms and learn to teach other Zumba styles, like Zumba Step. Notable continuing ed opportunities include the one-day Zumba Basic 2 workshop, which introduces new rhythms such as flamenco, samba and quebradita; Zumba Core and Zumba Glutes for targeting specific body parts; Zumba Burst for high-intensity interval training; Zumba Step and Zumba Step 2 for including aerobics steps in your workouts; and Zumba Pro Skills to increase your marketing skills.
Getting Into the Circuit
Finding a Zumba teaching job in a city that's already saturated with Zumba instructors can be a challenge. Make yourself stand out from the crowd by taking as much training as possible, securing the first aid/CPR and fitness trainer or group fitness certifications that gyms may require in addition to your gym license and -- above all -- practicing your choreography and presentation. In a Zumba class, how you present yourself matters almost as much as what you're teaching.
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