Becoming a licensed Zumba® instructor requires attending an official training session and mastering all the basics. After successful completion of an instructor training session, which varies between one and two days, attendees leave fully licensed to lead group classes and can later pursue additional Zumba specialty licensing.
No Experience Required
There are no specific requirements needed to sign up for the training class. Participants do not need teaching experience or group fitness certification, nor do they need to have CPR certification in order to attend. While it is technically not necessary to even have taken a Zumba class before, those who have already enjoyed a few Zumba classes will likely have an easier time than those who have never set foot in a class. Zumba routines feature some very specialized moves, and learning these for the first time at an instructor training event may prove difficult.
Choose Your Certification
Training sessions within the United States can be found on the Zumba website. Choose between two options for initial training:
- Zumba Basic 1 is the session where you learn the basics of everything you need to know to teach a Zumba group fitness class. Successful completion of this class results in a one-year license to teach Zumba.
- Zumba Jump Start Gold is the session where you learn the basics, plus the specialized "Gold" format, which is appropriate for older attendees. Successful completion of this class results in licensure to teach both Zumba and Zumba Gold classes.
The Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) is a membership-based program for licensed Zumba instructors. During the initial training, attendees are urged to join this network for a monthly fee. This is not a requirement for new instructors, but ZIN's perks include new music every month, new choreography every other month and continued licensing as long as they are ZIN members in good standing. Those who do not join ZIN must re-license annually.
Graduates who join the ZIN network are eligible to pursue additional certifications by attending specialized training sessions. Options include, but are not limited to:
- Zumba Basic 2: This session expands upon the core learning from the first session.
- Zumba Toning: This session is designed to teach toning routines congruent with the Zumba brand.
- Aqua Zumba®: This session teaches the water aerobics format for Zumba.
- Zumba Sentao™: This session teaches the popular Zumba format featuring a chair.
- Zumba Step: This session teaches the step aerobics format of Zumba.
New formats are periodically introduced.
After selecting the certification you desire, use the search feature on the Zumba website to find a session near you. Options vary widely by time and location.
The amount of money you pay for your training depends on how far in advance you sign up to attend as well as the location in which the training takes place.
- Early registration (three or more weeks before class) is typically around $225 for Basic and $300 for Gold.
- Regular registration (up to two days before class) generally costs around $280 for Basic and $320 for Gold.
- "Rush" registration (class day or the day before) generally costs around $300 for Basic and $340 for Gold.
After registering for the training session, you will receive an email from your instructor letting you know what you can expect. The instructor is also your point of contact for any questions you have before your training.
Training Day Tips
Initial training is a one or two-day event. The training typically begins with a master class, followed by plenty of practice and review of the materials you'll receive at the beginning of the training. It is great fun for those who truly enjoy Zumba, but come prepared for a lot of physical activity.
- Get a good night's sleep the night before.
- Eat a healthy breakfast beforehand.
- Bring a healthy, substantial lunch and a few healthy snacks.
- Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Bring a workout towel.
- Bring a change of exercise clothes.
It is also a good idea to bring a credit card in case you decide to join the ZIN network. Also, there is an excellent chance the instructor will bring along some Zumba gear available for purchase.
Earning Your License
Upon successful completion of the class, you will receive your license to teach Zumba. You receive a paper license the day of your class and will receive an electronic version later via email. You are then allowed to seek out employment immediately as an instructor, although it is a good idea to first hone your Zumba skills before jumping in and leading a full class.
While some fitness centers accept Zumba instructors who only have a license, most also require proof of CPR certification and some require additional group fitness certification through another organization such as American Council on Exercise (ACE) or Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Check with the fitness centers in your area to find out if your Zumba license is sufficient, or follow in the footsteps of some other instructors who offer classes in nightclubs or other non-gym facilities.