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Dance Instructor Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Learn about certificate programs of dance instructors, and get information on professional certification. Read on to learn about prerequisites, coursework and employment opportunities.

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Essential Information

Dance instructor certificate programs are available from a number of public and private colleges and universities. These programs provide training in the general principles of expressive movement and movement specific to various forms of dance, including modern, jazz, tap and ballet. Some schools might offer certificates in each form, rather than include them in the same program. Students learn proper alignment, demonstrate proper movement and develop lesson plans. Programs use a combination of classroom study, performance and independent projects to cover the material. While not mandatory, certification from one of the many professional dance instructor organizations will prove expertise in the field.

Education Prerequisites

In terms of academic qualifications, most dance instructor programs minimally require only a high school diploma or GED for admission. However, some university programs may require a bachelor's degree, and prior training in dance is strongly preferred.

Program Coursework

Certificate programs for dance instructors may also include electives related to physical movement, such as fitness training, kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology. Possible certificate program courses include:

  • Teaching dance technique
  • Dance composition
  • Production choreography
  • Dance rehearsal and performance
  • Tap dance
  • Jazz dance
  • Modern dance
  • Ballet dance

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

People who complete a dance instructor certificate program are qualified to teach dance in local recreation programs or as private tutors. Those who earn a certificate along with a graduate degree in education may also teach dance at the elementary, high school and college level. Although specific figures for dance instructors are not available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 11% growth in employment for dancers and choreographers over the years 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported in 2012 that choreographers and dancers earned median hourly wages of $18.33 and $14.16, respectively.

Continuing Education Information

Certification isn't required for dance instructors by law, but a number of professional organizations offer it to instructors who meet their education and continuing education standards. Organizations include the Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America, Royal Academy of Dance, Cecchetti USA and the National Dance Education Organization.

Instructors who want to work in a public school system need a state teaching license. Obtaining a teaching license generally entails earning at least a bachelor's degree, completing a teacher training program and demonstrating proficiency in the subject.

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