Your Complete Roadmap To Becoming a Barre Instructor: From Choosing A Training To Landing Your First Gig

Step by step blog post

Wondering how to become a barre instructor? Like how to really do it, beyond the “get certified” part?

We’ve been there and so has every single instructor we’ve ever hired. Today, we’re breaking down everything you need to do to get from “I really love barre and I think I’d like to get certified” to landing your first gig and getting paid to do what you love!

Step 1: Get clear on WHY you want to become a barre instructor

There are so many good reasons to become a barre instructor! Maybe you want a side hustle that’s creatively challenging and helps you stay active. Perhaps you’re looking to change careers to something that gets you out from behind a desk and away from spreadsheets.

You might already be a fitness instructor who’s looking to add a new certification so you can work at better studios or with different clients. Or maybe you want something that’s “just for you” - a challenge beyond taking the kids to their practices or coordinating the bathroom remodel.

All of these reasons are equally valid! When you know why you’re interested in getting certified to teach barre, it’ll be MUCH easier to choose a certification program, decide how you want to work with clients, and more!

Step 2: Choose your barre certification program

There are essentially 4 barre instructor certification program formats:

1. Online
2. Online + in-person intensive hybrid
3. Long-form in-person (meet weekly or bi-weekly in-person over the course of 6 - 8 weeks)
4. Weekend in-person intensive (meet for a 3-day weekend of intensive training)

There are pros and cons to each of these! Think about which would work best with your learning style and lifestyle.

Online barre teacher training pros:

  • Can be done on your own timeline, from anywhere
  • Usually much more affordable
  • You can review the material as many times as you need to
  • You’ll likely receive lifetime access to all training videos, which are great to reference to keep your classes fresh and creative
  • Depending on the program, you can receive MORE 1:1 support than an in-person training (our training includes twice-a-month live calls with our master trainer where you can ask questions and get feedback!)

Online barre teacher training cons:

  • Has less outer accountability, requires you to remember to log in and stay on top of lessons
  • Requires a certain amount of tech knowledge - recording and uploading videos, using Zoom, etc.

Online + in-person barre teacher training hybrid pros

  • Gives you outer accountability
  • Creates a deadline so you “have to” complete the training (good for those of us who are procrastinators!)
  • Still have access to online training program that you can reference whenever you need it
  • Creates a short-term, in-person community you can lean on during that weekend
  • Gives you an excuse to travel somewhere cool for your training ;)

Online + in-person barre teacher training hybrid cons

  • Training itself is more expensive than an online-only format
  • Added cost of travel and lodging for training

Long-form in-person barre teacher training pros

  • Tons of outer accountability - your trainers are expecting you to turn up!
  • Make friends and build community where you live
  • Build a relationship with the studio where you’re doing your training (and maybe eventually get hired there!)

Long-form in-person barre teacher training cons

  • More expensive than online-only format (Prices range from $800 - $2,000)
  • Requires you to drive there, potentially find childcare, schedule the rest of your life around it
  • Not all in-person programs have supporting course work, so if you don’t get it during the in-person lessons, you’re lost
  • Hard to make up missed classes if you’re sick, have car issues, out of town, etc.

Weekend in-person intensive pros

  • Again, lots of outer accountability!
  • Gives you an excuse to travel somewhere cool for your training ;)
  • Probably more affordable than a long-form barre teacher training program
  • Great if you already are a fitness instructor and have the basics of leading a class down

Weekend in-person intensive cons

  • Honestly, unless this is paired with an online training program you can reference later, we’d discourage you from enrolling in one of these
  • If you’re not already an experienced fitness instructor and / or experienced barre student, a weekend intensive will probably just overwhelm you
Step by step blog post

Step 3: Get certified!

Whatever program you choose, getting certified will require good time management and persistence. We have faith that you can do it!

If you miss a session at your long-form, in-person training, ask what their makeup policy is. Some programs may be lenient, but some may require you to pay a missed session fee and make up any hours in order to graduate.

If you “get behind” in your online training, block out some time on your calendar to recommit. If you’re taking our training, you could find an accountability buddy in the Facebook group and hold each other accountable!

Step 4: Understand the 3 main ways that barre instructors make money and choose the one(s) that work for you

Now that you’re certified, it’s time to figure out how, exactly, you’re going to teach and make money. (We dig a lot deeper into this in this free video workshop.)

Here are the 3 main ways barre instructors make money:

Teaching classes at studios

This is the most common way that barre instructors make money. Responsibilities may include: coming early so you can check in students as they arrive, creating unique playlists and choreography for each class, cleaning up the room after each class, attending meetings or trainings as required by the studio.

You can expect to earn between $20 - $50 per hour, depending where you’re teaching.

Pros to teaching at a studio

Working at the right studio can be incredible. It will give you a sense of community, professional development, support, and room for professional advancement. They’ll do all the marketing for you; you just show up and teach and then collect your paycheck!

Cons to teaching at a studio

If you live in a smaller city, there may only be one barre studio in town - or none! If you’re only teaching classes at one studio, you could lose your job if the studio closes; you’re also limited by their pay structure. If you want to earn more, you have to teach more classes or take on extra responsibilities like managing the studio or doing social media.

Teaching private 1:1 barre classes

Sometimes, when people are new to barre, they’re too shy to take a group class and want 1:1 support. They might have a weird schedule that doesn’t match with the barre studio or they might have the resources for 1:1 instruction and prefer that!

Pros of teaching barre 1:1

You can charge more; $60 - $100 per hour. The class can feel “easier” because you only have one client to pay attention to, rather than an entire class. If you get lucky, good clients often know other people who would appreciate your services and you’ll end up with tons of referrals!

Cons of teaching barre 1:1

When you’re teaching barre 1:1, you’re essentially a small business owner - with all the challenges that accompany that. You’ll need to market your services, collect payment, follow up with missed payments, file taxes, fire challenging clients, etc. You also might end up spending a lot of time in your car, if your clients live far from you or far from each other.

Teaching private barre classes to small groups or corporate clients

This can be a great middle ground! Earn a higher rate and grow your earning capacity.

Pros of teaching private barre classes

It’s usually easier to find 5 friends who are each willing to pay $20 per private class than one person who will pay $100 per private class. If you can partner with a corporation as part of their benefits or wellness package, you can easily charge $100 or more per class.

Cons of teaching private barre classes

Like teaching barre 1:1, you’ll have the challenges of essentially running a small business. Getting a contract to teach classes in a corporate environment can be a challenge if you don’t have an “in” already.

Now that you know three main ways that you can make money as a barre instructor, which one feels like the right fit for you, your personality, and your lifestyle? If you’re not sure, we’d recommend starting by teaching barre at a studio to get your feet wet and then go from there.

Once you’re a bit more experienced, you can branch out into 1:1 and private classes or explore these four ways you can bring in even more money!

Step by step blog post

Step 5: Choose the studio where you’re going to audition for your first barre teaching gig!

If there’s only one studio in your town, go ahead and skip to Step 6! If you know you’re going to audition at the studio where you currently take barre classes, you can also go ahead and skip this step.

For everybody else, here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Decide how far you’re willing to drive to teach, keeping in mind the cost of gas and traffic patterns. You probably don’t want to sit in rush hour traffic for 45 minutes each way to teach a one-hour class, right?
  • Do a Google search for “barre classes near me.” Remember that yoga studios and gyms might offer barre classes a few times a week, but that wouldn’t show up in a preliminary search. You might have to check their site or call them.
  • If you live in a city with lots of barre teaching options, the best way to stay organized is to keep a spreadsheet of all the information about each of these spaces.

Step 6: Stop by these studios in-person and ask if they have any openings

Take a few classes first in-person! Stopping by in-person is incredibly helpful. It’ll give you a more realistic idea of how long the commute would take and what the parking situation is. You’ll be able to get a much clearer read on the vibe of the studio when you visit and introducing yourself in-person will really help you stand out from other applicants! Taking classes in-person will also show that you’re genuinely interested in being a part of the community.

So much of enjoying your work as a barre instructor is vibe-based. It's a lot easier to enjoy teaching when your colleagues are friendly and you teach in a gorgeous, light-filled space. Visiting in-person is one of the fastest, easiest ways to vibe-check a potential studio and show your commitment to becoming a part of their team.

If the studio you like doesn't have any current openings, ask if they’re auditioning instructors for their sub list. If you really like a studio and you have other teaching certifications that might be helpful to them - yoga, pilates, Zumba - ask if they have any openings for those types of instructors, but make sure the class style you are suggesting matches the studio's atmosphere. Once you start working with them, you’ll be the first to know when barre teacher spots open!

Step 7: Prepare for your barre instructor audition

You’re almost there! Once you’ve got an audition secured at a studio, spend a good bit of time preparing for your audition.

When you audition to be a barre instructor, the studio managers are usually considering:

How are you leading the room - Do you speak with confidence? Can you give clear directions?

Your musicality - Do you move and teach in-time to the beat? (If this doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry! We have several lessons devoted to this inside of Barre Soul Academy.)

Can you accept feedback and are you teachable? If the master trainer tells you that you need to remove those weird pauses in your playlist, can you hear that without getting defensive?

Availability - If the studio is looking for an instructor for the 9 am barre class every Monday and you work full-time, in-office, this might not be the studio for you. (Here are our best tips about how to teach barre while working full-time!)

Knowing all this, here’s how we’d recommend preparing for your audition:

1. Make sure you understand the format of the class where you’ll be auditioning

At Barre & Soul we have 45-minute express classes and our 55-minute full-length classes. You certainly don’t want to prep a playlist and choreo only to realize it’s a format for a different studio! Ask for details. Get a copy of their format and ask what they’re looking for in the audition.

2. Create a playlist you truly love and feel confident with, using songs that pump you up

We wrote about how to create a playlist your class will love here and you can find some barre playlists from Barre & Soul’s master trainer Paige Lawrence here.

3. Make choreo notes short, sweet, and visible

It’s okay if you don’t have your audition choreo 100% memorized, but you probably don’t want three pages of handwritten notes either.

Keep your choreo notes short, sweet, and visible - it’s okay if your choreo notes for “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart” are “P-P-H, FR, B/E, Fin”, which only you know means “Pulse Pulse Hold, Full Range, Bend Extend, then Finale.”

It’s also important to make sure your notes are visible. Keeping a notebook nearby works great!

4. Remember to practice your intro

Anytime you teach a class - audition or not - you’ll want to introduce yourself as clients arrive, tell them what they can expect, thank them for coming, and ask about any injuries you should know about.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Run through your audition till you feel comfortable. Practice saying the cues, guiding transitions, and offering encouragement to your imaginary students. If you have any friends who are willing to be your guinea pigs, run a test class with them.

6. Run any questions you have by your Barre & Soul Academy master teacher!

We’ve built TONS of support into our certification program, including twice monthly live calls with our master teachers. Use this time to ask them for feedback on your playlist, your cueing, anything!

Lastly, remember that auditioning to become a barre instructor is just like any other job interview; the same rules apply. Spend a bit of time researching the studio, respond to their emails or calls in a timely manner, show up for the audition early, dress nicely, be polite, thank them for their time.

Many studios would rather hire an organized, friendly, freshly-certified barre instructor than an experienced one who’s surly and always late!

Bonus tip: If you want to teach more barre classes …

If you’re interested in teaching more classes there are lots of ways you can make that happen! Stay in touch with those studios you researched when you were deciding where to audition and offer to audition for their sub list.

If you have space in your schedule, tell all your colleagues that you’re happy to sub when they need you. If you found a gym or studio you love that doesn’t currently offer barre, offer to teach a pop-up introductory class to their members. You never know who will get hooked and ask the studio to add barre classes to their roster!

Whew! We hope this exhaustive walk-through of how to go from certification to leading a class was helpful. When you’re ready to get certified, check out our online barre teacher training. We think you’ll love it!