How to Become a Zumba Instructor: Courses, Salary & Insurance

zumba instructor graphic

So you’ve stumbled upon the Zumba craze online or you’ve been to a few classes, and now you want to become a Zumba instructor. 

The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to get your hands on a Zumba certification, which we’re about to explain alongside all the complicated bits. You won’t have to lift a finger yourself, as we’ve done all the research for you! 

But first, check out how you can become an exercise to music instructor with our Level 2 Exercise to Music Course and find out how you can deliver freestyle and choreographed classes for clients of all ages! Get in touch with us today to find out more or download our course prospectus here.

Get familiar with Zumba! 

zumba instructor graphic

The first step to learning how to become a Zumba instructor is to simply go along to some Zumba classes if you haven’t already.

If you are a frequent member of such classes, then start doing your research on the topic (luckily for you, that includes reading this article).  

You want to know the exercise inside and out. Not because you’re going to be examined on that (just yet), but to find out if it’s something that you want to invest time and money into. There’d be no real point spending out on a Zumba teacher certification if you don’t see yourself teaching it on a weekly basis! 

Not got time to head out to a Zumba class this week? You can always check out some online Zumba classes to see what teaching the exercise involves.  

This is great, as it will even show you what it’s like to use a Zumba fitness trainer certification to teach classes online. We’ll talk more about this later, but it’s possibly one of the best routes to earning a good Zumba instructor salary with the rise in the online fitness industry. 

do you enjoy Zumba? graphic

When you get an initial gut feeling in terms of whether or not you could see yourself as a Zumba instructor, you should definitely visit some local classes before making your decision to book a course.

This isn’t only to get more of an idea of the different styles of Zumba, but more to get an idea of what already exists out there in your area. After all, we’ll assume you need to pay the bills and want to earn some extra cash from this endeavour. 

You need to gauge whether there’s a space for you in your area, and who your clients would be. Will your Zumba instructor certification pay? Or will you have to build an online business to make it worthwhile? 

These are questions you should be asking yourself in the early days. 


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Once you’ve shaped a good idea of what the Zumba world is about and where you could fit into it, it’s time to take the next step. 

Become a Zumba Instructor: Zumba Certification 

We’ll go into more detail about what you can do with a Zumba certification later, as well as other things that you should be aware of when reading up on how to become a Zumba instructor.

how to become a zumba instructor: zumba certification

As you’re probably dying to learn more about which courses are on offer, we’ll get to those first!

The two entry Zumba certification course options are Zumba Basic 1 and Jump Start Gold, which we’ll explain below. 

Zumba Basic 1 

If you’re completely new to Zumba and you’ve not quite figured out who you want your clients to be etc., then this course is probably best for you. Not only is it the cheapest option, but it’s also completed over 1-2 days, which is pretty quick considering you’re gaining a qualification. 

What’s included: 

  • Zumba Basic 1 Instructor Manual
  • Zumba Basic 1 Certificate of Completion (as long as you pass) 
  • REPS (UK)
  • Online content (so that you can review the training)
  • 1-year Zumba instructor license
  • Choreography and Music Collection 

What you’ll learn

In the Zumba certification workshops, you’ll be taught by a ZES (Zumba Education Specialist), which are classed as the highest rank of Zumba instructor in the niche. 

What you’ll learn at your training day or weekend are the ‘basic steps’ to Zumba, so it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. These include:

  • Salsa
  • Merengue
  • Cumbia
  • Reggaeton

After this, you’ll move onto the music itself. When you learn how to become a Zumba instructor, your clients will expect you to keep your playlist up-to-date, and to use the skills learned from your training to set the Zumba basic steps to their favourite songs. 

becoming a zumba instructor

Don’t sweat; you’ll learn exactly how to do this at your training. By the end of it, you’ll be able to identify the different sections that make up a song and how to utilize them to create your own Zumba classes. 

With the base skills, you’ll be able to use your own creativity and intuition to construct effective, fun routines that wipe the floor with your competitors. The course has a holistic approach, so you’ll be able to use pretty much any song after the course of the day/weekend. 

Jump Start Gold 

Jump Start Gold is the Zumba fitness trainer certification that not only includes Zumba Basics 1, but the Zumba Gold certification, which means that you can teach classes that are tailored to older adults who would otherwise be unable to attend the usual Zumba classes.

What’s included:

  • Zumba Basic 1 Instructor Manual 
  • Zumba Gold Manual 
  • Zumba Basic 1 certificate of completion (as long as you pass) 
  • Zumba Gold Achievement Badge 
  • REPS (UK)
  • Online refresher content 
  • 1-year Zumba instructor license, and Zumba Gold license (if you’re a ZIN Member) 
  • Choreography and Music Collection 

What you’ll learn 

What you’ll be learning on this course is consistent with the previous Zumba fitness certification, but with some added extras to ensure that you’re qualified to work under their brand with those who are unable to take part in standard Zumba classes. 

dance fitness group graphic

While there isn’t much info about the course online, it’s described as helping you to ‘learn the moves active older adults want’. 

What are the prerequisites? 

You’ll be glad to know is that each Zumba fitness certification that we’ve mentioned in this article require no prerequisites in terms of fitness education. 

However, you MUST be over the age of 18, and for the Jump Start Gold you must become a member of the Zumba Instructor Network to teach Gold classes.

One thing you should know is that once you’re qualified and looking for jobs in the niche, many gyms or fitness centres require extra fitness qualifications for you to teach Zumba on their premises. 

This is stated on the company’s website:

The Zumba program is considered a specialty certificate, so depending on your country or facility centre, you may need a general group exercise certificate. Be sure to check with your government or local guidelines to see what the requirements are in order for you to teach.

We’ll talk more about this in our Zumba vs ETM section, so carry on reading to find out more…

How much does Zumba certification cost?

instructor salary graphic

Naturally, it depends on which course you select. 

The Zumba Basics 1 certification costs around £274.85 here in the UK, but is subject to changes (as are the rest of the Zumba certification workshops. 

For the Zumba Jump Start Gold qualification, the Zumba certification cost as it stands for Spring 2023 is around £374.87. 

We know, this is a lot of money to spend considering it’s a niche area of fitness, and not guaranteed to be something that is wildly popular in your area (which is why you should always check this out first). 

This consequently leads many people to ask about teaching Zumba without certification. We’ll talk more about this later, including other options for those looking to begin a career in dance fitness. 

For now, we’ll leave you with the knowledge that you MUST have Zumba certification to legally practise under their brand. 

How to become a Zumba instructor in the UK: Where Can I Train? 

Before you decide on gaining your certifications, you need to determine whether you’re able to travel to a Zumba instructor certification class in the first place. 

locations for zumba certification courses

While there could be more locations that crop up when there are more available dates, these are the listed locations where you can learn how to become a Zumba instructor in the UK as of 2023 (from the official Zumba website). 

London, Surrey

Warrington, Cheshire

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Manchester, Lancashire

Oxford, Oxon

Cardiff (Barry), South Glamorgan 

Saffron Walden, Essex

Bromborough, Merseyside 

Bliston, West Midlands

Corby, Northamptonshire 

Bristol, Avon

North Walsham, Norfolk 

The information is dynamic, so you may need to double-check on the ‘Instructor Trainings’ page to avoid disappointment. 

Zumba vs ETM Qualifications: The Truth

As we mentioned earlier, there are pros and cons to learning how to become a Zumba instructor, especially if this is the only fitness certification that you’re seeking. 

In our article on gaining ETM qualifications, you’ll see that we got in touch with Charlotte Cooper, the founder of CDP Dance, and that she stated:

On my B1, which is the initial training course for Zumba, it was advised that taking an ETM (exercise to music) qualification would support and enhance our instructing ability.

She’s 100% correct there. We’re not saying this to discredit the Zumba certification workshops in any way, as it’s a great idea to sign up for them if you have the spare cash, and if you’re completely set on becoming a Zumba instructor specifically. 

Nevertheless, if you want to turn your new endeavour into something extremely profitable either alongside your current career or full-time, it only makes sense to gain the qualifications that allow you to do so. 

zumba vs etm

There are a few reasons why a qualification in Exercise to Music is advantageous when it comes to deciding between Zumba or ETM. 

Firstly, if you already have ETM or you plan to qualify in it alongside Zumba you’ll be able to teach both standard ‘dance fitness’ classes and Zumba classes in every gym or fitness centre that provides them. 

Many gyms require a qualification in ETM to teach Zumba itself anyway, so it only makes sense to have both if you’re set on teaching the branded exercise. 

Furthermore, it will allow your clients to trust in your expertise, especially if you gain it as part of a diploma in Personal Training. This can make the difference between having an empty room or stacks of paying customers, so we’d definitely take it into consideration. 

Zumba qualifications don’t actually appear on the National Qualification Framework, or the Qualification Credit Framework for that matter, which is something to remember. 

Another great point in the battle between Zumba vs ETM is that an ETM qualification can significantly boost your earnings in comparison to holding a Zumba certification on its own. This again is even truer when it’s gained as part of PT training. 

If you think about it this way, there are a good number of different avenues when it comes to teaching fitness classes, or clients interested in fitness in general. The way it works is that the more qualifications you gain, the more clients you can serve. 

exercise to music

Is it your dream to work in fitness full-time? We’d definitely recommend checking out our article on becoming a personal trainer, as we go through each of the different steps including:

  • Choosing the right course and provider for you 
  • Identifying the right career path 
  • Expanding and moving forward with your career (which is probably one of the most important steps) 

To conclude this section, when deciding between Zumba or ETM you should ask yourself what you want from a career in dance fitness. 

If it’s super important to you to teach Zumba specifically and you want to chance landing a role without spending money on ETM, then go with Zumba at first and see how it goes! 

Or, if you see yourself teaching Zumba and dance fitness on a very regular basis and want to boost your employability or profit, or you see yourself opening your own branded Zumba studio down the line, take a look at ETM. 

Teaching Zumba without certification 

Just in case you’re still unsure, the short answer to the question ‘can I start teaching Zumba without certification?’ is no

zumba instructor insurance

You cannot legally teach under the Zumba trademark without an official license from the company. If you try to do so, it can result in serious consequences, and we’d hate to see this happen to anyone. 

However, you can become an ETM or dance fitness instructor without the Zumba specific certification (as stated in the above section). 

One more advantage to gaining these qualifications over the Zumba certification is that you won’t need to pay to re-certify yourself to teach. 

With Zumba qualifications, you have to earn CECs (Continuing Education Credits) every 6-12 months, which involves a cost (sometimes similar to what you paid originally). This is a dealbreaker for some, so remember this before you sign up! 

Teaching Zumba without certification is illegal, but teaching other methods of dance fitness with an ETM or group fitness certification is permitted, and it’s a one-time cost to stay certified. 

What to look out for when getting certified

Decided that you want to go ahead with qualifications in ETM? 

The next step is finding a trustworthy UK course provider that is accredited by CIMSPA and REPs, as well as having a good reputation with previous/current students, amongst other things.

accreditations graphic, REPs and CIMSPA

Not sure what we’re talking about? He’re a quick-fire checklist to use when comparing course providers: 

  • Is the course accredited by CIMSPA and REPs?
  • Do they charge for re-sits/are there any additional costs? 
  • Do you pay for the course upfront? 
  • How is the course assessed? 
  • Where is the course located? Is it convenient for you? 
  • Is the course’s learning style suitable for you? 
  • What resources are provided within the course cost?
  • Will you receive post-course support and careers advice? 

If you follow our advice here, you’ll find the best course for you and your individual needs, and hopefully won’t have anything to worry about when pursuing your future career in fitness! 

Zumba Instructor Career

If you’ve made it to this section we’re guessing you opted to include Zumba fitness trainer certifications in your journey to becoming a dance fitness instructor! 

Whether or not you chose to go with ETM as well, we’re going to go through exactly what a Zumba instructor career looks like. 

Who Hires Zumba Instructors?

The main employees in a Zumba instructor career are as follows:

  • Leisure Centres
  • Gyms 
  • The Zumba organisation itself (the option to train to become an advanced instructor) 

Is there a demand? 

woman with megaphone graphic

A quick search of the job websites will also show you that a Zumba instructor career is somewhat of a niche. There aren’t thousands of opportunities across the UK, but then again that’s how you’d expect it to be for something that is such a small area of fitness! 

As there aren’t technically a crazy amount of instructors getting qualified each year, this also means that it isn’t too much of a competitive field. 

We performed a study of several top job websites in the UK, and came up with the following figures for Zumba instructor career keywords: 

Zumba careers websites

We know what you’re thinking, but don’t give up yet. It all ties into what we were saying earlier about fitness careers! 

Most well-paid Zumba instructor careers fall under keywords such as ‘gym instructors’ or ‘group exercise instructors’. 

As we mentioned earlier, the reason behind this is that many of the places that hire Zumba instructors (such as leisure centres and gyms) expect them to hold qualifications in ETM and group exercise, so that they can teach either Zumba or group fitness classes on top of their existing gym instructing or personal training responsibilities. 

This is a good thing as the more qualified you are, the more you’re able to make the most out of a career in fitness (especially when it comes to salary). 

To give you an idea of how many Zumba classes are out there in the UK, here’s a sample from the website of just the Liverpool area alone:

locations of zumba classes

That’s a lot of of Zumba instructors, and also provides evidence that Zumba is pretty popular… it looks good for those looking to teach it, but we’d still recommend picking up the extra qualifications as a good deal of these locations will require them. 

There’s answer to the question of whether or not there is a demand for instructors is yes, but there’s also a lot of competition. Extra quals will help you to stand out from the crowd and bag the most work! 

Zumba Instructor Salary in the UK: How much will I earn?

When it comes to earning a salary with Zumba instructing, it all boils down to what career route you choose. 

When added onto your earnings in either your current day job or as a PT a Zumba instructor salary can be a nice bonus, especially if you teach a few classes per week. We scoured each of the top job websites and found the following average figures:

inside London and outside London graphic

Take a look at the average salary for Personal Trainers, which is £21K-25K, or the higher bracket which is £51-60K after a few years of experience and learning the ropes of freelance work.  

It’s clear that a Zumba instructor salary is a nice bonus on top of these more ‘stable’ salaries, than can be earned through working for popular fitness centres or setting yourself up as a freelance PT. 

Want to take the plunge into a full-time career in fitness whilst earning a great salary and making your passion worth it? Check out some PT qualifications before you become a Zumba instructor. 

Zumba Instructor Insurance

Don’t let this put you off getting certified and earning a great Zumba instructor salary. We know it’s another hurdle to jump and makes things seem complicated, but it’s not all that bad!

To save you the trouble of trying to find Zumba instructor insurance yourself, let’s take a look at some of the trusty insurers out there that we already know of: 

zumba instructor insurance graphic

Whether you decide to check out any of these companies or another Zumba instructor  insurance provider, there are a few boxes that they need to tick to make their services worth having. 

You should ensure that there isn’t anything important missing, as this could cause problems for you down the line. You want to have the maximum amount of cover that you can get for a decent price! 

An insurance provider should:

  • Insure any equipment that you may use 
  • Cover you for injury or illness 
  • Re-assure clients that you are a fully qualified Zumba instructor 
  • Cover you from claims involving injury to clients or third-party damage 
  • Build trust with prospective clients 

Once you’ve made sure that your chosen provider ticks each of these boxes, go ahead and purchase your Zumba instructor insurance before you start teaching. 

To be properly insured when working in the fitness industry is a must, so don’t skip this step!


#1 - How do I become a Zumba instructor? 

This article is in the form of a step-by-step guide, so you can find out everything you need to know about the journey to becoming an instructor if you read it in full.

However, the sequence and answer to how do I become a Zumba instructor? goes something like this:

  1. Ensure that you enjoy Zumba/do your research!
  2. Get your Zumba instructor certification 
  3. Search for roles as an instructor online at a gym or fitness centre 
  4. Earn a great Zumba instructor salary (especially on top of a PT career!)

#2 - How long does it take to become a Zumba instructor?

It may sound surprising to those who haven’t completed any fitness qualifications/CPDs before, but the answer to how long does it take to become a Zumba instructor? is simply 1-2 days. You can’t argue with that! 

#3 - Do I need Zumba instructor insurance?

Yes. If you don’t grab yourself some notable insurance, you run many risks that aren’t worth taking, as they could even lead to the end of your career in fitness…

Take a look at our insurance section for more info, including suggestions for Zumba instructor insurance providers! 

#4 - What is the Zumba instructor salary in the UK?

So, the Zumba instructor salary in the UK can be pretty varied depending on how you structure your career after gaining your Zumba fitness trainer certification. 

If you want to make fitness a full-time career and ditch your day job, then the best way to maximise your earnings as an instructor is to pair Zumba classes with PT sessions (and therefore gain your PT quals alongside Zumba!). 

#5 - How much does it cost to become a Zumba instructor?

The question of how much does it cost to become a Zumba instructor depends on which package you start with. 

If you want to become a Zumba instructor in 2023, the certification cost is £374.87 for the Zumba Basics 1, or it’s £374.87 for the Zumba Jump Start Gold qualification. 

Before You Go!

It’s a lot of information to digest, but hopefully you found our guide to becoming a Zumba instructor helpful. 

Can you see yourself learning how to become a Zumba instructor, or will you be going for other group fitness qualifications? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

But before you go, enquire about our Level 2 Exercise to Music Course and learn how you can deliver fun freestyle and choreographed classes to a range of different classes.

Drop us an enquiry below or download our latest prospectus.


Enquire to Become an ETM Instructor

Qualify in as little as 6 weeks with our Level 2 Exercise to Music Course!

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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