Dance Instructor Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Dance instructor certificate programs give individuals the knowledge-base and skills necessary to teach others formal dance, choreography and the history of the field.

Essential Information

Dance instructor certificate programs provide training in expressive movement principles and various forms of dance, including modern, jazz, tap and ballet. Some schools might offer certificates in each form, rather than include them all in the same curriculum. Students develop lesson plans and learn proper alignment and movement. Coursework is a combination of classroom study, performance and independent projects. Often available are electives related to physical movement, such as fitness training, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology. While not mandatory, certification from one of the many professional dance instructor organizations will prove expertise in the field. Generally speaking, only a high school diploma or the General Education Development (GED) equivalent is required, but some university programs may expect a bachelor's degree. Some prior training in dance is strongly preferred across the board.

  • Program Levels: Certification and bachelor's
  • Prerequisites: Some programs expect a bachelor's degree, but most require only a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Program Specializations: Physical movement electives, like kinesiology and anatomy, are an option

Dance Instructor Certification

Dance instructor certification classes cover elements in performance and style, including:

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

Popular Careers

Graduates of a dance instructor certificate program are qualified to teach in local recreation programs or as private tutors. Certificate holders who go on to earn an advanced degree in education may teach at the elementary, high school and college level.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Although specific figures for dance instructors are not available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment growth for choreographers over the years 2012-2022 will grow at a rate of 24%. Their mean annual salary as of May 2014 was $51,390 (

Continuing Education Information

Certification isn't required for dance instructors by law, but a number of professional organizations, like the Dance Masters of America and National Dance Education Organization, offer it to instructors who meet their background and continuing education standards. Instructors who want to work in the public school system need a state teaching license, which generally entails earning at least a bachelor's degree, completing a training program and demonstrating proficiency in the subject.

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