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What Is a Barre Instructor? - Job Description, Training & Salary

Jan 16, 2019

Check out this article to see what it takes to become a barre instructor. Learn about the skills and training you'll need on the job, plus certification opportunities and your career outlook.

What is a Barre Instructor?

Like other fitness and dance instructors, a barre instructor usually works in a group setting, leading a class through exercise routines that are performed at a ballet barre and choreographed to music. A barre instructor's chief responsibility is to ensure that students learn and perform all exercises safely. While serving as a positive role model, they must communicate effectively in order to deliver quality instruction and feedback that responds to the needs and goals of the class. Other duties can include choreographing new or alternative routines, maintaining studio equipment, enrolling and mentoring students, and assisting with gym/studio events. Most barre instructors work at gyms, health clubs, dance studios, or community centers.

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent, plus certification from an accredited organization (such as ACE or AFAA)
Job Skills Physical fitness and energy, musicality, confidence, strong verbal and non-verbal communication skills, punctuality, responsibility, emergency certification (CPR/AED)
Median Salary (2019)* $30,759
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 10% (all fitness trainers and instructors)

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A barre instructor's required education will vary depending on where they choose to work. The minimum requirement is usually a high school diploma or equivalent, while some employers prefer applicants with an associate's or bachelor's degree in recreation, fitness, dance or a related subject. Beyond that, many gyms or studios only consider candidates who have earned group fitness certification through an accredited organization like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Moreover, it may be preferred that applicants have earned certification in barre instruction specifically, which can be earned from the International Ballet Barre Fitness Association (IBBFA).

Required Skills

A barre instructor should have a strong sense of musicality and rhythm, plus the ability to choreograph and perform their own barre routines. Because a barre instructor may teach multiple classes in a single day, they must be physically fit and energetic, capable of providing clear instruction to students of varying experience, aptitude and age. They must also be able to deliver sensitive feedback while encouraging a positive and safe learning environment for everybody. A barre instructor may have to handle unhappy or difficult customers, so good customer service skills are important, as well as punctuality and flexibility with one's work environment or schedule. A barre instructor should also be able to react calmly and appropriately during an emergency; current CPR/AED certification is usually a requirement for employment.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for all fitness instructors, including barre instructors, are expected to grow 10% during the 2016-2026 decade, which is faster than the average 7% growth projected for all occupations. This job outlook is the result of a growing national interest in physical fitness, with many businesses and organizations recognizing the importance of a healthy workforce and offering more incentives for employees to join health clubs. In particular, Pilates, yoga and similar forms of exercise are expected to increase in popularity as older Americans look for lower impact ways to stay in shape. As of January, 2019, Payscale.com reports that barre instructors make a median salary of $30,759 a year, or about $19.72 an hour.

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