How do I Earn a Tai Chi Certification?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2019
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To earn a certification in one or more of the styles of the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi, or Tai Chi Chuan, you must first take formal classes in Tai Chi and then demonstrate your understanding and expertise by instructing Tai Chi classes. The candidate for Tai Chi certification may also be required to pass a written exam about the history and health benefits of the art. Approximately 2,000 hours of classes and practical experience may be necessary in order to qualify for Tai Chi certification offered by a recognized school or master. The certification process is voluntary, however, and not always necessary to teach Tai Chi, but may be a good match for those who have already earned other exercise-related certifications.

Most schools that offer Tai Chi certification do not have prerequisite requirements to begin in-person classes. Topics of study include such subjects as the technique, history, and philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan, including its martial applications. You must also demonstrate an understanding of the various Tai Chi forms, the ability to do the movements, postures, and applications correctly, and the skills to assist beginning students in proper technique and alignment. Additionally, Tai Chi certification programs may include instruction about running your own Tai Chi classes and how to market your own school.


Although the number of hours required to earn Tai Chi certification varies widely, most schools require approximately 150 to 2,000 hours of formal instruction and practical experience teaching Tai Chi classes to others. The more advanced Tai Chi certifications require a higher number of hours training and instructing others. Tuition for classes varies. You may also have to pay an annual fee to keep your Tai Chi certification active.

Many Tai Chi centers and instructors have websites with information about the particulars of earning Tai Chi certification. To find the program that meets your needs, contact several different schools, compare the courses, and obtain information about the chief instructor's credentials and experience. Organizations offering Tai Chi certification and continuing education classes include the International Fitness Professionals Association, the American Fitness Professionals Association, and the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association.

Individuals with other types of fitness certifications, such as personal trainer certification, yoga instructor certification, or other martial arts training, often decide to become certified in Tai Chi. Doing so allows these instructors to increase the scope of classes that they are able to offer to the public. As the population ages, more and more people in the world are turning to low-impact Tai Chi for health, fitness, and stress reduction. As such, the demand for Tai Chi classes may be on the rise.


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