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Even in down economies, there are many opportunities for certified fitness instructors, on both a full- and part-time basis. For people who enjoy taking aerobics classes, it is a natural step to want to become an aerobics instructor. The best way to become an aerobics instructor is to talk the instructor at your club. If you enjoy his or her class, you could use that as a lead-in and ask if the club is currently hiring.
If there are opportunities, ask the instructor if he or she would be willing to mentor you to become an aerobics instructor. Many times, an established instructor will work with a promising student, teaching the student various routines and patterns, and even allowing the student to teach a portion of the class. This gives the student a chance to experience what it feels like to teach a class and to decide whether or not to take the next step, which is becoming certified.
Licensing is not required to become an aerobics instructor. Most clubs do require some sort of training and certification for people on their staffs. In the US, aerobics certification is offered by two organizations - the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Both of these agencies offer beginning instructor certification programs, and administer written and practical exams that test the applicant’s knowledge. This training includes not only the fundamentals of the various forms of aerobics, including cuing and choreography, but also gives an instructor a foundation in basic anatomy and exercise physiology. This training will enable the instructor to properly teach his or her students while at the same time, preventing injuries.
Both the AFAA and ACE require that would-be instructors are CPR-certified prior to becoming certified. Certifications must be renewed every two years and instructors are required to complete a set number of continuing education credits in order to be renewed. Many of these continuing credit courses are available online, but both organizations offer workshops in various locales that can be used to fulfill these requirements. As with any profession, an aerobics instructor develops his or her teaching style with experience. Certification training gives you the basics, but the individual instructor has a great deal of freedom in developing a program that suits his or her own style as well as the population of the class.
Starting out, it is important to keep things simple and not get too caught up in intricate choreography or difficult patterns. Using the basic moves taught during certification training, a new instructor can put together a class that will challenge the participants but not confound or confuse them. Music is an important tool for several reasons. First, it’s more fun to exercise with music. Class members can get caught up in the music and not even realize how hard they’re working. More important, however, is that the right music helps both the instructor and the students maintain a constant pace.
There are numerous Web sites that offer specially mixed fitness music in CD form or via downloads. These mixes are available in a range of beats per minute that suit everything from step aerobics to spinning, and with songs that are suitable for every age group from teens to seniors. An instructor should always try to choose music that will appeal to the majority of his or her students.
The most successful aerobics instructors are enthusiastic and friendly, but at the same time, tuned into the needs of their class members. An instructor should always let the class know which muscle groups they are working and the benefits of the exercises in which they are involved. Above all, the class should be fun and people should want to come and participate.
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