How do you become a Zumba Instructor? Zumba 101

I get asked A LOT “How do you become a Zumba instructor?”  I thought I would clear up a few things about being a Zumba instructor here.
Find out how to become a Zumba instructor here.

 

Zumba Instructor Training

To become a Zumba instructor, you just have to attend a Zumba instructor training.  These are held all over the world, and honestly, all it takes is time and money to attend a training.  You pay for the training (anywhere between $200-300) plus your travel.  The training is all day (usually around 8 hours with a short lunch break).  At the training you will learn the 4 basic rhythms (salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, and merengue).  You will also learn about marketing, teaching, and much much much much more.  When I took the training, there were people (like me) who had done Zumba for years, and others who had NEVER done Zumba.
This day is LONG and HARD.  You may have taken Zumba for years (I had been a Zumba student for 5+ years when I became an instructor), but you will look at Zumba as something to really learn and study…not just something fun.  At the end of the day, you will receive a certificate showing your license.
A Zumba license is for one year.  You also have the option of joining the Zumba Instructor Network which will extend your license indefinitely as long as you remain part of ZIN.  Otherwise, every year, you will have to take another training.
Zumba offers two ways to become an instructor.  Either through Basics 1, aka B1, or through Jump Start Gold.  B1 is for anyone who wants to teach regular Zumba (or who wants to go on and teach the specialties, like Zumba Toning).  Jump Start Gold is for those who want to teach Zumba Gold (Zumba for the older or unconditioned participant).  Jump Start Gold allows you to learn the basics of Zumba along with Zumba Gold all in the same day.
Beyond your basic instruction, Zumba offers many specialties that you can get licensed to teach as well.  Each of these trainings is also a full day.
Along with regular Zumba, there is Zumba Gold, Zumbatomic (for kids under 12), Aqua Zumba (in the pool), Zumba Toning (using light weights during class), Basics 2 (where you learn 6 additional rhythms: quebradita, soca, tango, bellydance, flamenco, and samba), and the newest member of the Zumba family: Zumba Sentao (which Zumba says is an “explosive chair-based choreography that will strengthen, balance and stabilize the core, and step up cardio work in a whole new way.”)  Each of these specialties requires training…but you must first be licensed to teach basic Zumba.
I am licensed to teach Zumba B1, B2, Zumba Toning, and Zumbatomic.  I would like someday to be licensed in Sentao.

A couple things to consider before getting licensed to teach Zumba:

  • The license is valid for one year.  If you want to teach longer than that, you either have to 1) join the Zumba Instructor Network (and pay monthly), or 2) take another training.
  • Teaching takes time.  Not just the time actually teaching.  You will likely spend (at least for your first few months) about 1 hour outside of class preparing for every hour that you teach.  That’s time learning dances, making playlists, and working on marketing.
  • There are other costs beyond getting licensed and buying Zumba clothes.  You will need to carry liability insurance (leave a comment if you want more info…I don’t recommend teaching without it), and get CPR certified.  Many instructors also become personal trainers as well.

So take all of that into consideration before you commit the time and money to be licensed.  If you’re doing it for fun, great!  But if you want to teach, there is more to it than just getting licensed.

Here is me at my Zumba trainings!

 

Me all sweaty after my B1 training with my instructor booklet.
After Zumbatomic training!

 

At B2 training!  I’m on the R with 3 other local instructors!  We made matching shirts!  In the middle is Zumba Education Specialist Priscilla Mirabel.
If you are interested in becoming a Zumba instructor, check out the list of trainings online.  Remember, you have to start with B1 or Jump Start Gold! Have any questions?  Leave me a comment!

Comments

  1. This has been such a great help I was having trouble understand their website. I really want to become a Zumba teacher but I am Not the best dancer in the world in more fun and energetic do you think I will be hindered to greatly by my lack of amazing footwork?

    • You can totally be a Zumba instructor even if you aren’t the best dancer. I am not the best dancer in my class…but you learn how to TEACH, and that is what makes you a great instructor. As long as you have a passion for Zumba and fitness, you’ll do great!

  2. So I will be okay if I haven’t done Zumba before? I have played a little with the dvd’s but in a small apartment don’t really have the room to full on do the moves. I have been approached about teaching though at a local center since I teach Yoga. How hard is the Zumbatomic? I would love to start a fitness program for kids!

    • There were people at my training who had NEVER done Zumba…not even at home! You will be fine. Zumbatomic is a different program entirely, so preparing for Zumba and Zumbatomic are preparing two different classes…but if you can keep up with it all, you can do it. I teach Zumba and Zumba Toning, which are two different formats, and I can keep them straight…so I’m sure you can too! 🙂

  3. Thanks for this. I’ve been putting off certification, fearing I didn’t have the best endurance. I’ve always been a dancer, but didn’t know exactly how long or what all would be required to become certified. Thanks!!!

  4. Good information. I am just now looking into taking Zumba classes at the local YMCA. Have been doing water aerobics for years and since they have closed the local pool for repair it is time for a change. I have only heard positive comments on these classes and am eager to learn.

  5. Fitness is something that we all need to maintain to keep ourselves healthy. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what you are made of! Try the new ,Zumba Rocks At Bandra do something different and add a bit of action and movement in your life today.

  6. Hi,I am so glad to find your page,so I know more a little about it.February I will take zumba basic 1,and I was wondering,how’s it’s gonna be…My big question is:How can I remember steps for the musics that I want to play?The instructor can teach us how to remember the steps per each music?
    Thank you so much for your advices.

    • After you do the dances enough times, you’ll remember them. There are no “tricks” to remembering the steps, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

  7. Your post was really helpful! I will become certified this June, and while I’m sure it will be covered while I’m there, I had a question about the legal aspect of Zumba. I will start off as an independent instructor, unaffiliated with any organization. Do you know if it is recommended that I become a sole proprietorship or something of the kind? Thank you for your time!

  8. i thought you only needed insurance if you were holding independent classes, outside of a gym or community center. where do you get the insurance?

    • My gym requires insurance as they consider me an independent contractor. The church I taught at also required it. From my understanding, their policies only cover their building and any accidents caused by it (like breaking your ankle on a loose tile…but breaking it doing Zumba means the liability is on me). I recommend every instructor carry it because there is a chance someone will hurt themselves and blame you. Zumba offers a discount on K&K insurance (what I use) which offers fitness insurance.

  9. Thanks for the info Brittany.
    Would you provide me with more info on insurance? And, how much is the monthly ZIN payment?

    • KeKe, currently the ZIN monthly price is $30/month, but that price is going up for new members I think to $35 a month. I use K&K Insurance at a discount provided to ZIN members. I pay for two years at a time for a discount as well. It costs around $250 for two years of coverage.

  10. Thank you. This helps me decide on becoming a Zumba instructor B1. I’m somewhat athletic and work at a private gym and am learning to instruct ballroom dancing and in the process of obtaining my personal training certificate. I know I’m not as fast as others and move at an easier pace than most due to a heart condition, will this deter me from gaining a following?

    • Alli, there is definitely a place for you! The thing that’s great about Zumba is you become the sort of instructor you want and attract the people who like your style. Even with an easier pace, you may want to look into Zumba Gold as well. Either way, you’ll fit right in and find success!

      • Great! Thank you for your response! This makes me happy and gives me the encouragement needed to go for it! I wanted Zumba Gold but need the first class/level to get started on other classes, that are more my speed. I’m definitely signing up for the next instructor class. Thank you for being my inspiration. I look forward to your upcoming posts! 🙂

  11. jamie layng :

    hey Brittany,
    was wondering if you charge for your classes or if they were free ive had never done zumba c=but seeing videos of people I know id lve to become a zumba instructor.

  12. Hi!
    Thank You so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. I would like to become a Zumba instructor myself full time. How much an instructor gets paid per class. And how many classes would it take to make a decent living.
    Thank you in advance,
    Arya

    • That’s difficult to say, Arya, because it depends on how you are set up. I teach at a location where I am paid per class regardless of how many students there are. In our area, that sort of pay ranges from $15-30 per class. I’ve also taught classes where participants pay per person, usually around $5 per person, but then the money is split with the hosting venue. I’ve taught before where the venue gets $1 out of the $5, and where they get half. With those types of classes, you are only limited by your space – so you could potentially make much more money. As for me, I have a great job with good benefits, so I’d have to teach a LOT of Zumba classses to equal my pay and benefits…so I just do it as a side job.

  13. hiiii
    thx loads for all the info..am actually looking forward to become a Zumba instructor but i am quite confused..infact i would like to know if am registered with Zin,will i get some cd’s every month to teach people or i will have to improvise all the dance steps myself which seems to be quite difficult..thanks cheers

    • Hi Divz, if you sign up for the ZIN program, you will get materials each month. Every other month, you will get a CD with a DVD of steps. The months in between you will get just music, that you can choreograph yourself (or often, you can find routines to that music on Youtube). You don’t HAVE to use the materials they give you, but you are given materials to use. It’s not that difficult to come up with your own dances- they teach you how at the training. 🙂 You don’t do any improvising because the Zumba program and formula wouldn’t be good without a plan (it’s based on repeating the same move for certain sections). They will fully equip you, especially if you sign up for the ZIN program. I hope that’s helpful!

  14. Hey! Thank you very much for amazing information you provided! It’s really helpful! I want to become Zumba instructor but in my country they don’t have any trainings for instructors… What can I do to get licence? Thanks!

    • No Natalya- you would have to travel to where a training was. You might get contacting Zumba to see if they have an education specialist in your area- but if not, you have to attend a training to get licensed.

  15. Thanks for sharing your tips. I danced jazz and hip hop as a kid/teen and discovered Zumba a few years ago. It helped me loose baby weight between pregnancies and boosted my self confidence. After this pregnancy, 17 weeks to go, I plan to get in shape and start my journey to become a Zumba instructor! I was wondering if you instruct on your own or if you work alongside someone else? Also, do you have a specific location or have you found it more beneficial to rent out spaces for classes?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Emily, thanks for the comment. I instruct alone…and I teach a gym. I get paid a flat fee for classes. I have friends who rent spaces for classes and split the money with the facility. That can be more lucrative, but it’s also on her to make sure she fills her classes…which can get tough at times. For me, it’s easier to teach at a gym. Good luck with your journey!

  16. Hey Britt, I am so addicted to Zumba! It’s what I do for, stress, and relaxation. No matter what mood in in, Zumba makes me feel better. I would love to become certified. Do you still love it as much as you did when you started?

    • Hi Nikki, I started out teaching two classes a week, and at one point was teaching 7 classes a week! I’m down to 4 classes a week now. To be really honest, after almost 5 years, I am a little burnt out. I love teaching and I still love Zumba….mostly I wish I had my evenings free again (that’s when I teach). I might be looking to change my schedule up a bit to keep it fresh.

  17. Hello…. Dis info WS of great help but all I wanted to knw is DT I have never done zumba before and I m Nt even a very good dancer.. But I have got all of my interest in it I want be a zumba instructor….. And yes I have to take zumba instructor training… I ll I m 17 years old…. So the actual training course is takes how long?and is there any age limit to be a zumba instructor and shld opt for zumba classes first or directly instrctor training? Tnq

    • Hi! I think you are old enough to be an instructor- you’d have to check with Zumba. The training is an all day 8 hour training. I would start taking classes first and watch your instructor closely- once you know that’s for you, you could take the training. That way, you’ll know more about how a class goes so the training will be easier.

  18. I am thinking about doing Juno Start Gold instead of just B1. If I join ZIN, is it still the same cost even though I would be keeping active 2 different certifications? Or is each certification have it’s own ZIN membership cost?

    • Hi Jenn, that’s a great question. I was never Gold licensed, but I was for Kids and regular Zumba…and the ZIN cost was the same. Your specialty license came with 4 quarterly DVD/CDs (instead of the monthly) and then they were out. Your specialty license includes those, so your actual ZIN cost is only for the basic Zumba. As long as you keep it up to date, the others stay up to date. They do release more specialty continuing education materials which you can purchase after your first 4.

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