The purpose of this post is to explain how I got certified to become a barre instructor. I’m hoping that it’ll be helpful for anyone working toward a similar goal. Enjoy!
So, I teach barre at a local gym here in New Haven, Connecticut. Becoming an instructor wasn’t a cakewalk, though. There were a few hurdles to manage along the way.
If you decide one day that you want to be a barre instructor, the first thing you should do is figure out what type of gym or studio you’d like to teach at. If your goal is to teach at a franchise like Pure Barre, you’ll need to research their training requirements. Pure Barre, like many other barre studio franchises, requires that their instructors receive training through their franchise and in their specific method. The best way to learn about these requirements is to contact them directly.
When it comes to training, there are hundreds of barre instructor certificate programs out there; I researched quite a few of them before making my decision. I ended up choosing Barre Above because both the timing and location of their upcoming training were ideal for me. Originally, I was planning to travel to New York City for training. So, I was glad to find one much closer! Pro tip: Barre Above adds new training dates every day. Be sure to check their website for sessions near you.
There are also several online barre instructor certificate programs out there, but I would strongly advise against these. I don’t think anyone can be an effective barre instructor without a hands-on, in-person training experience. It's not just about getting the job, you also want to be a great instructor who can deliver safe and effective classes to participants. While an online class may be more cost-effective, I strongly recommend at least one day of in-person training.
I would’ve loved to attend a multi-day training (mostly available in major cities), however, these can be pretty cost prohibitive. Some cost thousands of dollars, which I wasn't willing to spend. The Barre Above program was $269.99, which I think is on par with other one-day specialty certificates.
Here are the details of the training:
It's a one-day, 8-hour live training. Prior to attending the training, you’re asked to complete two online modules (one on barre biomechanics and the other on musicality). While completing these beforehand isn't absolutely necessary, it’ll help you get the most out of your training day. You’ll need to complete them eventually if you want the full 12 credits for continuing education (1.2 ACE credits). Barre Above CECs (Continuing Education Credits) are accepted by all major Group Fitness Instructor certification programs. It’s a huge benefit!
The course was from 9 AM to 5 PM on a Saturday. The schedule was packed; we had very few breaks. And we spent the whole day in a fitness room. Our training included a full 75-minute workout and about 120 minutes of practical work. Having nutritious snacks to stay fueled was a must!
This training was actually my first time taking a barre class! I wasn't the only first-time barre attendee there, either. A lot of the trainees were already teaching another group fitness format, like yoga or Pilates, and wanted to bring barre classes to their studio.
During the training, we also spent time going over the history of barre, the Barre Above method, and best practices for a class. We learned about effective cueing, proper form, and the makeup of a barre class. At one point we broke out into smaller groups and created 10-minute warm-ups. When your group presented to the entire room, each person in the group had to lead a portion of the warm-up. This was my first time EVER teaching! Even though it was just a few minutes and this wasn't a real class, it was nerve-wracking!
This experience is one of the many reasons I recommend in-person training over an online certificate program. It’s helpful when your first time teaching is in front of a group of people you don't know, who aren't actual class participants. Teaching to family or friends just isn't the same! I was really grateful that I got this moment out of the way during training instead of during an audition.
They crammed a ton of content into this day, and I loved every second of it! It was great being able to network with the ladies in the training. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next group fitness instructor position through someone you meet at a training!
I ended up getting my first barre instructor position just a few weeks after the training. I’ll be writing a post all about that very soon, including tips on how to land your first group fitness instructor job.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the Barre Above training. Although it was just one day, I felt equipped to choreograph and teach an effective barre class afterward. Experience is the only way to really hone your teaching skills, but I found this training to be thorough and affordable. Our master trainer keeps in touch with us via e-mail and lets us know about upcoming opportunities like trainings, conferences, and job openings.
I also purchased the year-long Barre Above Elite membership after my training. It gives you access to monthly choreography releases, which include both videos and choreography notes. Each month, a few videos are released with different types of choreography. I often pick series that I like from these videos and incorporate them into my classes. Super helpful!
There are hundreds of barre instructor trainings out there. They all vary in cost and level of instruction. Do your research and find what works best for you. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend Barre Above as a thorough and affordable option. I appreciate that I can teach anywhere (with the exception of big corporate franchises like Pure Barre) rather than being limited to a specific brand or studio. With franchises like Pure Barre, you’re given specific choreography and music that you memorize and teach. I’m not knocking that format at all, but I prefer designing my own classes and having the freedom to teach something new each time. But go with whatever works for you!
Have you attended a barre instructor training? Did you feel prepared to teach after the end of your training? What are your thoughts on pre-choreographed versus classes you design on your own?
Let me know what you think!
If you liked this post, check these out:
How I Passed the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Exam
Group Fitness Audition Tips
Les Mills Bodyattack Review
Dominique Cheylise, 25 year-old engineer and group fitness instructor.