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Water Aerobics Instructor Requirements and Job Duties

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a water aerobics instructor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Certification is required for a career as a water aerobics instructor. Those interested in a career in this field can pursue fitness certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or Aerobics and Fitness Association of American (AFAA). Postsecondary education may be preferred by some employers.

Essential Information

Water aerobics instructors belong to a specialized branch of group fitness instructors who bring aerobic exercise to the water. Many employers require candidates have a special certification in order to teach group fitness in an aquatic environment. Instructors must be able to efficiently communicate proper fitness techniques during lessons. Water aerobics classes are often frequented by the elderly or injured.

Required Education None required but post-secondary degrees are becoming increasingly necessary
Other Requirements Universal fitness certification or water aerobic certification; CPR certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% (for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors)
Mean Salary (2015)* $40,970 (for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements for a Water Aerobics Instructor

Like other group fitness instructors, water aerobics instructors must be certified. Nationally recognized fitness organizations, including American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), offer a universal group fitness certification. Some employers may require a water aerobics certification in addition to, or instead of, a universal certification. To receive certification strictly in water aerobics, potential instructors will need to pass an Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) test.

Along with a certificate to teach water aerobics, all employers require their instructors to be Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid certified. These certifications are offered by the American Red Cross and must be maintained by retaking the course and passing an exam every one to two years.

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Job Duties of a Water Aerobics Instructor

Depending on a water aerobics instructor's place of employment, he or she may be working part time or full time. Fitness instructor work hours often revolve around the participants' schedules. Since many attendees work, classes are usually held in the early morning or late afternoon. Some employers may require water aerobics instructors to monitor the pool conditions by checking the chemical levels and water temperatures. In instances when the temperature is harder to control, such as an outdoor pool, the instructor must make modifications to the fitness program to keep participants safe.

Regardless of the employer, water aerobics instructors are expected to choreograph exercise sessions to include a warm up, aerobic exercise, cool down and stretch. Instructors also select appropriate music for each stage in the workout. Beyond creating an exercise routine, instructors must be able to effectively explain and demonstrate proper technique for each individual exercise. If any student is executing a movement incorrectly, a water aerobics instructor must be able to identify the problem and correct it. Many water aerobics instructors plan their programs to suit the needs of a general population of exercise students. But, they may also be expected to customize fitness programs for participants who are injured, elderly or pregnant. They may also plan programs for those with a medical condition.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness trainers and instructors in general could expect job growth of 8%, around the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors earned a mean annual salary of $40,970.

Water aerobics instructors lead aerobic exercises in pools, usually for the elderly. They need to be able to explain to their clients how to perform each exercise correctly and demonstrate the proper execution. If necessary, they may need to identify client errors and correct them so that the exercises are completed safely and effectively.

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