How to Become an Aerobics Instructor

If being physically fit is important to you and you love helping others get more fit, consider becoming an aerobics instructor. Aerobic conditioning is an important part of any health and fitness routine, and as an aerobics instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of other people as you help them work toward their fitness goals.

An aerobics instructor is a type of personal trainer that specializes in cardiovascular conditioning. When you work in this field, you’ll coach or instruct groups or individuals in proper techniques needed for effective aerobic exercise. You’ll also explain any changes they may need to make for better results, and you may choreograph aerobics routines.

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What is Aerobic Exercise and Conditioning?

The term “aerobic” means “with oxygen.”  During aerobic conditioning sessions, your heart and breathing rate are stimulated, and the heart pumps oxygenated blood to the exercising muscles.

Oxygen is an important factor in this type of exercise as it helps the muscles burn fuel and move. There are many benefits to aerobic conditioning including:

  • Helping with weight loss or weight management
  • Improvement of cardiovascular conditioning
  • Improvement of lung function
  • Decreased risk of heart disease

Aerobic exercise can improve both physical and emotional health. Regular aerobic conditioning can help to prevent many types of chronic illnesses and can also helping to reduce depression and anxiety. As an aerobics instructor, you’ll be a key factor in helping others develop this important habit.

Examples of Aerobic Exercise

There are many ways to exercise aerobically, and as a personal trainer specializing in aerobics, you’ll help design physical fitness training programs for clients that include this important type of training. The specific aerobic exercise you’ll recommend may vary based on a client’s age, level of fitness and any physical limitations they may have.

Activities you may recommend to your clients include:

Your students or clients will look to you for guidance on the best exercise to begin with if they haven’t been working out, or the best exercises to incorporate into their current training program. Once you have been thoroughly trained as an aerobics trainer, you’ll be well prepared to answer any questions they may have.

What You’ll Teach Others as an Aerobics Instructor

The training you’ll complete to become an aerobics instructor will give you the knowledge and experience needed to help people determine what type of exercise to do and for how long. You may coach people one-on-one or lead group classes. The American Heart Association recommends that people aim to perform 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.

Training programs are based on several factors beginning with a client’s goals and current fitness level. As an aerobics teacher, you’ll determine a recommended level of intensity and will recommend that students participate in either high-impact or low-impact aerobic activity. The goal will be to achieve a target heart rate but not to allow the heart rate to go above a maximum number.

When clients follow your training instructions, they’ll begin to get stronger and their exercise tolerance will increase. You’ll help them work toward increasing the speed, duration and resistance of their workouts.

Training to Become an Aerobics Instructor

In most cases, you’ll need a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent to get started as a personal trainer specializing in aerobic conditioning. To gain the knowledge needed to be an expert in the field of aerobic conditioning, plan to complete a formal training program. Degree programs are offered at community colleges or at four-year colleges or universities.

As an aerobics teacher, you’ll need to be prepared not only to show others how to do exercise routines, but you also need to be prepared to handle anything that might not go as planned when you’re working with an individual client or a class. You’ll need to know basic first aid just in case any type of emergency occurs. Many employers require certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AED) as proof that you can handle medical emergencies if they happen during training.

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Degree Programs in Fitness and Health

Completing a degree program in personal training or fitness and health will give you comprehensive training in aerobic conditioning and in the role that exercise plays in physical fitness and attaining optimal health. Examples of fitness-related degrees that can be completed in either two years or four years include:

  • Physical education
  • Exercise science
  • Exercise physiology
  • Sports medicine
  • Kinesiology

A thorough understanding of how the body works and what it takes to help others improve their fitness level is usually included in these programs. Coursework may include exercise physiology, exercise programming and prescription, fitness techniques, anatomy, nutrition and strength conditioning. You’ll learn how to design exercise programs for people of different ages and fitness levels along with how to modify aerobics routines when needed.

Certification of Aerobics Instructors

Certification is often a requirement for working as an aerobics instructor in a variety of settings such as health clubs, gyms and fitness studios. Even if you choose to open your own aerobics training business, it’s important to obtain certification to demonstrate your expertise in the field of personal training with a focus on aerobic conditioning.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is the main accrediting organization for certification of personal trainers in the U.S. Some examples of professional organizations that offer certification include:

Some employers may have a preference regarding which certifications they recognize or require. If you’re hoping to work for a particular employer, find out their requirements for certification. Some certifications may also have continuing education requirements to renew the certificate. Continuing education can also be beneficial to help you keep up to date with the latest trends in physical fitness.

Other Qualities Needed to Work as an Aerobics Instructor

Certain other qualities can be beneficial for anyone who is interested in becoming an aerobics instructor. You’ll need to be in great physical shape and to be in the habit of taking good care of yourself to serve as a role model for your clients. Physical fitness is also required to keep up with the demands of leading exercise classes.

You should have a friendly, positive attitude and be able to motivate and encourage others along with having problem solving skills to determine what people may need for success in aerobics conditioning. Communication skills are essential, which includes listening to what people tell you about their fitness challenges. You may need to have the ability to sell your services.  If your goal is to establish your own fitness-related business, you’ll need education and training in what it takes to run a business.

Job Opportunities and Salary Potential for Aerobics Instructors

Aerobics instructors can find job opportunities in a variety of settings such as commercial gyms, spas and personal training studios. Some corporations offer wellness packages to help employees stay healthy, and they may employ personal trainers including those specializing in aerobic conditioning. Opportunities are sometimes available on cruise ships to run aerobics classes for the health and enjoyment of the guests. You may also choose to work for yourself, either by setting up your own fitness studio or training clients in their own homes.

The average hourly rate paid to aerobics instructors is $19.87 according to The amount you earn can vary widely based on where you live and your level of experience, and it can range anywhere from $11.63 to $34.52 per hour. As you gain additional experience or education, you may be able to qualify for advanced positions, such as management.

Your Life as an Aerobics Instructor

A career as an aerobics instructor can be fun and rewarding. If you’re enthusiastic about fitness and can motivate others to participate in aerobic conditioning, you can make an important difference in the lives of others who want to learn to develop healthier habits. You’ll be continually improving your skills and learning more about cardiovascular conditioning.

If you choose to start your own business, you’ll have to devote some of your time to marketing and running your business. You may need to invest in a website, business cards and liability insurance, and you’ll probably have to spend time attending networking events and promoting your business on social media. If you open your own studio, you’ll need to invest in a location as well as items such as a water dispenser and a quality music system.

Whether you work for yourself or for an employer, you’ll probably work a variety of hours including days, evenings and weekends. You may have the opportunity to work flexible hours that work best with your schedule. Life as an aerobics trainer can be very stimulating and satisfying, especially when you can see your clients becoming stronger, healthier and more committed to a healthy lifestyle.