How to Become a Dance Teacher: Step-By-Step Career Guide
Learn how to become a dance instructor. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career in dance education.
Requirements for Dance Teachers
Public school dance teachers are required to have at least a bachelor's degree in education. Dance teachers who possess teaching certificates in dance are qualified to teach dance education to K-12 public school students. Dance teachers may teach in public schools, private schools, after-school programs or private dance studios. The following table contains essential requirements for dance teachers:
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree*|
|Degree Field||Education, dance education, fine arts***|
|Licensure/Certification||Certification in dance is required for employment in K-12 public schools**|
|Experience||Years of formal dance training*|
|Key Skills||Creativity, teamwork, leadership*|
|Computer Skills||Imaging software, data entry software, spreadsheet software****|
|Technical Skills||Physical stamina and balance*; instructional skills****|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **University of Georgia Department of Dance, ***Shenandoah University, ****O*NET Online
Step 1: Become a Trained Dancer
Many dancers begin training at a young age (typically 5-8 years old for ballet dancers) and continue to gain skills throughout their careers. Leading dance companies may offer regular full-time training programs. Many dancers also study drama and literature to learn how to portray characters through dance.
Step 2: Complete a Teacher Education Program
Aspiring dance teachers must complete a teacher education program before they can teach in public schools. Bachelor's degree programs in dance education are also beneficial for students who plan to teach dance in a private studio or students who would like to pursue graduate-level studies in dance or dance education. Degree programs in dance education aim to develop technical, performance and choreographic skills.
- Complete an internship or student teaching experience. Most teacher education programs require the completion of a field experience, such as directed teaching. Through these programs, students demonstrate teaching techniques and the ability to create learning experiences for elementary and secondary dance classrooms.
Step 3: Obtain Certification
Earning a teacher certification requires courses in education, dance education and the completion of a teaching internship. Other dance certification programs are linked with master's programs in dance. Students must also earn satisfactory scores on the PRAXIS exams. PRAXIS exams are state-administered exams that measure teachers' basic skills and content knowledge skills. Passing scores vary by state.
- Prepare for the exams. Increase the chances of passing the exams by participating in online tutorials and interactive practice tests.
Step 4: Consider Obtaining a Master's Degree
Many schools offer master's programs in dance that culminate in K-12 dance teacher certification upon graduation. With a master's degree, dance teachers can teach at community colleges in addition to educating students in K-12 public schools. Graduate-level dance programs have artistic, performance, research and teacher training components. Students who earn a master's degree in dance are eligible for a doctorate program that can lead to more lucrative dance teacher jobs in postsecondary schools.
- Seek professional development opportunities. In order to maintain licensure, teachers are required to participate in ongoing professional development workshops or courses.
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