How to Become a Zumba Instructor With Certification in NYC

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Zumba is a high-energy group class with a decidedly Latin twist.
Zumba is a high-energy group class with a decidedly Latin twist. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

California aerobics teacher Beto Perez stumbled onto Zumba in the late 1990s after forgetting his class music at home. Forced to improvise a class to the Latin music he had on hand, the technique quickly turned into a hit, with more than 12 million participants worldwide. Now, Perez's Zumba organization runs an official certification program that hosts classes around the world, including the New York City area. In Manhattan, starting a Zumba class is only a matter of getting certified and finding a gym or starting your own program.

Enroll in a Zumba Basic 1 or Zumba Jump Start Gold course through the Zumba.com website under the "Instructor Training" link. Search for the New York state classes, click on the "Enroll Now" button and fill in the information. Registration costs between $200 and $300, as of 2011, and classes take place in Syosset, Long Island or Bellerose.

Sign up for continuing education courses, also on the Zumba website under the "Instructor Training" link. To get a job teaching Zumba in New York City, additional certifications help in competing with other instructors.

Apply for jobs teaching Zumba in New York City fitness clubs and gyms. Since Zumba classes draw many students, certification helps in landing a position as a group fitness instructor. Top-level clubs such as Equinox may want a more advanced or experienced teacher, so aim for moderate chain clubs such as Bally's Total Fitness or Lucille Roberts first.

Teach freelance Zumba classes and create a student following. To augment the fitness club Zumba classes, look into renting studio space to hold additional classes. Use the New York City Performing Arts Spaces website to find a rehearsal space that fits your budget and charge students accordingly for single or multiple lessons.

Tips & Warnings

  • Create a website or shoot a YouTube video to help market your classes.
  • Zumba Basic 1 and Jump Start Gold offer a basic, level one certification upon completion of the one-day course, along with credits toward certification from both the American Council on Exercise and the American Aerobics and Fitness Association.

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