Beginners and fitness professionals might find Zumba to be more than a fun workout. For some, it could be a new career. There are no prerequisites for becoming a Zumba instructor and there is no exam to pass. Candidates simply attend a training course where they learn the fundamentals of Zumba and are eligible to teach classes as soon as it is over.
Sometimes called the original "fitness party", the Zumba fitness program has 14 million people worldwide moving and grooving to the Latin-inspired dance steps that melt calories away. Still in it's youth, the company was created in 2001, and is the brainchild of founder Alberto "Beto" Perez. Beginning with a DVD and infomercials, the program's popularity has created a demand for live classes and instructors. The Zumba Academy was created in 2005 to train Zumba instructors.
People interested in teaching this dance-fitness phenomenon can become a Zumba fitness instructor through the Zumba Academy. Anyone can go to a Zumba instructor training class to learn how to teach Zumba classes, including the steps to four dances. Zumba instructors pair these steps with a song and voila, they are ready to teach. To become newly certified, you must attend an introductory course. The Zumba Basic or Jump Start Gold courses lead to an instructor license. Zumba Basic prepares instructors for high energy classes; whereas Jump Start Gold prepares instructors to teach less intensive classes to special populations.
There is no need to travel far to attend a Zumba training course. Classes are offered in cities all over the U.S. You can locate the one nearest to you on Zumba Fitness's website Zumba.com. The standard price for Zumba Basic 1 training, an introductory course leading to an initial instructor license, was $270 in 2013. Early birds can shave a little off this price and folks signing up last-minute pay a little more -- if they can get a spot. Courses fill up and sometimes sell out before the course date.
The initial instructor license is good for only one year. To maintain an active license, existing instructors are required to attend additional Zumba Academy courses or join the Zumba Instructor Network, or ZIN. Additional training can also help you become more marketable since you will be able to teach more classes. Zumba Basic 2 teaches instructors the steps to four more dances. The Zumba Toning instructor training teaches instructors how to incorporate body toning and sculpting exercises. The Zumbatomic instructor training preps instructors for teaching kids and the Aqua Zumba instructor training brings dance into the water. Some instructors may work at a fitness facility that requires general exercise certification in addition to the Zumba license.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.