How to Become a Dance Teacher: Step-By-Step Career Guide

Watch this video to learn how to become a dance instructor. Learn about the job, its education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career in dance education. View article »

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  • 0:02 Becoming a Dance Teacher
  • 0:36 Become a Trained Dancer
  • 1:01 Complete a Teacher…
  • 1:55 Obtain Certification
  • 2:42 Consider a Master's Degree

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Video Transcript

Becoming a Dance Teacher

Dance teachers might teach in public or private schools, after-school programs, or private dance studios. They instruct their students in the basics of movement and the foundations of various styles of dance, such as tap, ballet, modern, and jazz.

Dance teachers should be in good physical condition, since the work requires a great deal of activity. While working with children is often challenging and stressful, teaching can also be a very rewarding career when instructors observe their students' improvements and accomplishments.

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.

Success Tip:

In order to further your chances for success, consider completing 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 a teacher's basic skills and content knowledge. Passing scores vary by state.

Success Tip:

Make sure to increase the chances of passing the exams by participating in online tutorials and interactive practice tests.

It's also worth noting that in order to maintain licensure, teachers are required to participate in ongoing professional development workshops or courses.

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.

Becoming a dance teacher involves being trained as a dancer, completing a teacher education program, and obtaining professional certification, in addition to seeking a graduate-level degree to further progress in the field of dance education.

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