How To Become An Exercise to Music (ETM) Instructor: Ultimate Guide

how to become an exercise to music instructor

If you want to motivate group fitness classes through choreographed routines, you’ll want to learn how to become an Exercise to Music Instructor. 

In this guide we’ll teach you how to do just that, as we discuss:

Before we dive in, if this is a career you're interested in exploring, get started today and enquire about our Level 2 Exercise to Music Course or download our free course prospectus to learn more! 

How Much Can You Earn As An ETM Instructor? 

how to become an exercise to music instructor

Before you become an ETM Instructor, you’ll naturally question how much you could earn in this role. The answer to this will be determined by whether you work in a contracted position or on a self-employed basis. 

For example, should you decide to work at a gym you’ll likely be employed as a freelancer, in a similar capacity to the following example from Cranford Sports Club. Here, you can see that ETM instructors will earn £20 per hour:

how to become an exercise to music instructor 1

To give you an idea of how lucrative this form of employment could be, if you worked just 20 hours per week, you could earn up to £19,200 annually:

Alternatively, you could work as a self-employed ETM Instructor, setting your prices and working hours.

Whilst working in this capacity, you could run specialist classes that target a specific demographic in society. Mum Dance in London for example, offer music fitness classes to help mums stay in shape:

how to become an exercise to music instructor 2

If you took inspiration from their services, you could earn £140 per class when 12 people purchase a ‘3 Class Pass’.

This means if you run 3 classes per week, you could earn £20,160 yearly as a self-employed ETM Instructor.

The Qualifications You Need To Become An ETM Instructor

Learning how to become an exercise to music instructor

To become an ETM instructor you will need to complete a Level 2 Exercise to Music Instructor course. 

This entry-level qualification will train you to deliver engaging and effective music fitness classes, teaching you vital skills such as how to: 

  • Write fitness programmes to help improve your classes' fitness levels
  • Adapt your teaching style and routine to assist different class members
  • Motivate clients to help them achieve their fitness goals

At OriGym, our Exercise to Music qualification is Ofqual-regulated and endorsed by CIMSPA. This guarantees you’ll be trained to the highest industry standards.

Our course is delivered via blended learning, meaning you’ll study online through our fantastic e-learning platform, whilst also attending practical workshops and assessments where you can put your skills into practice.

Within 6 weeks, you can become a professionally recognised Exercise to Music Instructor, allowing you to apply for job roles, such as this one at MoveYourFrame:

how to become an exercise to music instructor 3

From reading this job description, you can see that having a Level 2 Fitness qualification of some kind is absolutely essential! 

The employers then elaborate their preference for for candidates to hold a Level 2 ETM Course, but you could also complete a Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification.

It also states you need to be able to choreograph to music and motivate clients which you can only learn by completing the qualification. 


Kickstart a Career as an ETM Instructor!

Enrol on OriGym's Exercise to Music course and qualify in as little as 6 weeks!

Working As An ETM Instructor In A Gym Vs Self-employed

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor Career

We previously discussed how, if you decide to become an ETM instructor you can pursue various forms of employment, both in contracted and self-employed capacities. 

But how do these two roles differ from one another? Let’s take a look at the responsibilities you’ll be required to perform in each position.

#1 Working At A Gym

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor at a Gym

As an employed ETM instructor you will be able to work at a variety of gyms, studios and sports centres.

The role is beneficial, particularly if you’re looking for a regular working pattern and economic stability. This is because you will likely be employed on either a full or part-time basis.

When employed in this manner, you’ll be expected to perform a range of duties including: 

  • Supervising and leading classes
  • Creating exercise to music sessions
  • Follow health and safety regulations
  • Build a strong rapport with clients and staff

Many of these responsibilities appear in the following example from Talent UK:

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor at a Gym Ad

Job responsibilities can differ between employers, some might ask you to write your choreography whilst others might want you to deliver pre-designed routines. 

Whilst an employed position can offer job security and financial stability, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to work hours determined by your employer. 

So if you want to become an ETM Instructor who has greater flexibility in their working week, you might want to consider becoming a self-employed/freelance ETM Instructor.

#2 - Self-Employed/Freelance ETM instructor

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor Freelance

If the idea of becoming an ETM Instructor at a gym feels professionally and personally confining, don’t worry you’re not the first to feel this way.

Many ETM instructors choose to pursue freelance and self-employed opportunities, to have more control over when and where they work. 

Another added benefit of becoming an ETM instructor on a self-employed basis is that you will have more control over what kind of classes you teach. This will provide you with the opportunity to expand your existing repertoire or develop a specialism in one specific area. 

For example, you could decide to just focus on teaching aerobics class or alternate between the likes of kettlebell sessions and Zumba®!

Keep in mind, as a self-employed ETM Instructor, you won’t be directly contracted by a gym. This means that you won’t receive a monthly wage like an employed staff member! 

Instead, you will likely be paid for every class you teach, which can be seen below in the job ad for  MoveyourFrame. Here, you can see that the successful applicant will be offered £30 per hour, and will be required to teach a minimum of 9 hours per week:

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor Freelance Ad

If you were employed in this capacity and worked a minimum of 9 hours per week, you could earn up to £1,080 every month! This could increase even further, should you work at different locations too!

However, whilst self-employed roles offer greater professional freedom, there are also some downsides to the role. For example, some individuals may not feel secure working irregular shift patterns. 

Likewise, due to this irregular working environment, your salary won’t be fixed and could fluctuate from one month to another. This requires self-employed individuals to plan their finances accordingly, to avoid periods of instability. 

Remember, there is no ‘right way’ to become an exercise to music instructor. When deciding what form of employment is right for you, it’s important to assess both the positive and negative aspects of each role. 


Kickstart a Career as an ETM Instructor!

Enrol on OriGym's Exercise to Music course and qualify in as little as 6 weeks!

Will You Need Insurance Once Qualified As An Exercise To Music Instructor?

Question about how to become an ETM Instructor

When learning how to become an Exercise to Music Instructor, you’ll need to understand the importance of insurance. 

Whilst this may seem like an insignificant detail, without the proper coverage you could face legal issues such as financial loss and even jail time in severe cases.

Insure4Sport is a company that provides coverage for as little as £31.99 a month, with pricing varying depending on what classes you intend on teaching. 

With this particular provider, you will receive coverage for up to £10 million, covering areas such as public liability, personal accident, and personal income insurance. 

These policies will protect you financially and legally in the instance of: 

  • A specific action is brought into question following a client’s injury
  • You are personally injured during a session and will miss work
  • You require physio treatment for an injury suffered at work
  • Your equipment is damaged or stolen
  • An employee is injured during a session and claims compensation

Remember, insurance coverage varies between providers, so be sure to read your insurance quote thoroughly to make sure you’re receiving the right protection.

The Skills You Need To Be A Successful ETM Instructor

How to become an ETM instructor motivation

To become a successful ETM instructor, there are several skills you need to possess, including:

  • Communication - By directing large groups, giving them clear instructions on how to perform movements correctly
  • Creativity - To develop choreographed routines for specific classes and music genres, this will keep classes engaging for clients as it limits repetition
  • Observant - Offer appropriate feedback to struggling class members, so they can make corrections or keep class members motivated with praise
  • Broad Musical Knowledge - Understanding the tempos of different music genres will help you create routines that complement the rhythm of the music
  • Rhythm - Know how to use the speed and tempo of the music to help improve your class’ overall fitness levels

By completing an Exercise to Music Instructor Course with OriGym, you’ll learn how to incorporate these skills into every class you teach. Discovering how to deliver freestyle and choreographed sessions, suitable for different age groups and demographics.

Career Progressions Available For Exercise To Music Instructors  

How to Become an Exercise to Music Instructor With Another Career

After you become an ETM instructor it’s only natural to have the desire to progress in your career.

Holding a Level 2 Exercise to Music Qualification serves as the perfect platform for you to explore other career paths and potentially increase your earning potential.

Below are a couple of examples of the careers you can pursue:   

#1 - Personal Training

How to become an ETM instructor instruction

Becoming a personal trainer is a natural progression after you’ve been working as an ETM instructor! 

Compared to being an ETM instructor, personal trainers predominantly work with clients on a 1-1 basis, creating bespoke workout programmes to help them achieve their individual goals. 

To pursue this professional milestone, you must complete a Level 3 Personal Training course. 

At OriGym our personal training course is Ofqual-regulated, ensuring all our students are trained to the highest possible industry standards. 

Completing a Level 3 PT qualification is a natural next step in your professional career, as you will already meet the prerequisites required to enrol on this course - For reference, we ask all applicants to be aged 16+ and to already hold a Level 2 ETM qualification.

After becoming a qualified Personal Trainer you will be able to pursue new job opportunities and generate a higher income, with an expected salary of £29,105 per year

For more information on how to achieve this, check out our in-depth guide exploring the average salary of a personal trainer

#2 Start Your Own Class Business

Leading ETM Classes Instructor

Alternatively, you may decide to become an ETM instructor who runs their classes, rather than going through an employer.

One of the biggest advantages of pursuing this role is that you will have limitless earning potential. This is because you will be in charge of setting the prices for your classes. 

In addition to this, you could also decide to pursue a specific demographic, tailoring your ETM classes directly to this audience. For example, this could include classes suitable for pregnancy or elderly individuals with mobility issues. 

If you’re looking for ways to get started why not read our guide on Starting a Fitness Class Business? 

#3 - Zumba® Instructor

How to become an ETM instructor musicality

After completing your Exercise to Music Level 2 course, you may think you can instantly teach Zumba® classes.

What you may not know is that officially certified Zumba® instructors hold branded  certificates. Meaning individuals who hold holistic qualifications will not be able to teach Zumba®.

If you’re interested in pursuing this branded certificate, there are several things you will need to be aware of.

First and foremost, those with branded Zumba qualifications will only be qualified to teach approved Zumba classes! You won’t be able to become an ETM instructor with this certification alone


Kickstart a Career as an ETM Instructor!

Enrol on OriGym's Exercise to Music course and qualify in as little as 6 weeks!

Additionally, this qualification will cost £336.50 and will take 1 day to complete, covering topics such as:

  • Basic Movements
  • Choreography 
  • Queuing

The course only takes one day to complete, allowing you to pursue new career opportunities instantaneously. However, keep in mind that Zumba requires its instructors to renew their qualifications every 6 months. 

For this reason, becoming a Zumba instructor will provide you with an additional stream of revenue, but should not be considered as an equivalent to becoming an ETM instructor.

#4 Gain CPDs To Teach Different ETM Classes

How to Become an ETM Instructor Boxercise

Following your work as an ETM Instructor the role will feel like second nature to you, which means you can start looking for new variations of fitness classes to deliver.

You could achieve this by completing additional CPD courses to expand your skill set. For example, during the CPD kettlebell course you'll learn:

  • How to incorporate the equipment into workouts
  • Exact movements & modifications for clients
  • How they can benefit your client's health and fitness goals

This will complement your work as an ETM instructor, allowing you to teach classes that combine music with this engaging piece of equipment.

The skills acquired during your ETM course will help you lead these classes, as you can create choreographed routines focused on lifting and movements that will match the rhythm of the music.

Before You Go!

Remember, completing a Level 2 ETM course is a vital first step in this process and will help to set you up for future success. Alternatively, you check out all the other qualifications we offer at OriGym by downloading our FREE course prospectus.

Written by Liam Donohoe

Content Writer and Fitness Enthusiast

Liam graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing. He has also co-written a short film that has been featured in several film festivals. In October 2023, he ran and completed his first half marathon and for 2024, he's now training to complete his first metric marathon.

In his spare time, Liam likes to teach himself German, read books, lift weights and listen to metal music that only passionate fans of the genre will understand.

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