Dance Coach: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 25, 2019

Dance coaches require no formal education, although many have a college degree. Learn about the training, job duties, and employment outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

Although a degree is not required to begin a career as a dance coach, a bachelor's degree in a related field can improve job prospects. Dance coaches should have extensive training in different forms of dance, and most dance coaches are former dancers.

Essential Information

A dance coach is a leader and mentor for competitive dancers, often with a high school, college, or private troupe. These professionals choreograph unique routines and teach them to dance team members, observing their performance and providing suggestions for refinement. Dance coaches are typically former dancers themselves, and they've received many years of extensive dance training. There's no formal education that's required to become a dance coach; however, there are college degree programs offered in dance, and it's common for employers to prefer candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree in dance.

Required Education None; bachelor's degree can improve job prospects
Other Requirements Many years of dance training; driver's license
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% for dancers and choreographers
Median Salary (2018)* $47,800 for choreographers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Dance Coach

Dance coaches must be capable of teaching students in a variety of methods, from demonstration to verbal direction. Dance coaches working within schools should demonstrate compassion and concern for the academic and physical well-being of their dancers. At the high school or collegiate level, dance coach is often a part-time, seasonal position.

Dance Coach Duties

In addition to choreographing and teaching routines, a dance coach must monitor the progress of his or her team and vary instruction to meet the needs of individual members. Additionally, a dance coach typically supervises auditions for new team members. He or she also might need to replace dancers if they're unable to complete routines as required. The dance coach usually arranges for team travel to competitions and needs to be capable of following a budget.

Requirements for Dance Coaches

A dance coach must have a strong background in the performing arts, including experience in hip hop, jazz, modern dance, and pom, according to job postings for college dance coaches in 2012. Most dance coaches need a minimum of a bachelor's degree, with preference given to those with a degree in dance or performing arts. A dance coach also may be required to continue his or her professional development to maintain an understanding of current dance trends and techniques. Most employers seek prospective dance coaches with a valid driver's license.

Additionally, a dance coach needs to be limber and able to present and follow choreography. He or she must be able to relate to younger dancers and be willing to listen to dancers' feedback. Dance coaches must be compliant with rules and regulations set by their employers as well as organizations such as the American Spirit Championships, Universal Dance Association, and National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of dancers and choreographers, including dance coaches, was expected to decline by 1% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by choreographers as $47,800 in May 2018. PayScale.com published as recently as September 2019 that athletic coaches of all kinds earned a median annual salary of $43,072.

Dance coaches instruct dancers in different forms of dance. They need to be able to demonstrate the choreography and able to teach effectively. This means that dance coaches need a strong background in dance and strong communication skills.

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