How to choose the right pole instructor certification course.
There are many things to consider when choosing a program and not all of the same things apply to everyone. What is right for one person may not be right for another.
Certification courses are primarily offered in two different formats – one is teaching you how to teach and build your own program and the other is teaching you how to teach their curriculum.
Certification courses are just as important for experienced pole dance instructors as for inexperienced ones. As an experienced instructor you likely would not pass up the opportunity to train with a pro – and the people who teach (good) instructor certification courses are recognized pros in what they do best, teaching pole dance.
Consider taking different certification courses. Every other professional industry does this. You will often see that most fitness professionals have several certifications and licenses behind their names…as pole instructors so should we!
Other points to consider and questions to ask about a pole dancing program:
What is the background and experience of the person who authored and is presenting the course?
Is that background relevant to training someone how to teach pole or are they just great pole dancers themselves?
Being a great pole dancer doesn’t automatically mean you can teach!
Does the author keep himself or herself up to date by taking other programs and classes to continue their own education and training?
Is there more than one presenter and if so what are the other’s backgrounds?
What is the length of the course is the course and what type of information do you review in that amount of time?
Are several levels covered in the same amount of time as another course covers just one level? This may be fine if you feel you really don’t need all that training but consider how much content the longer course has and what you may be missing?
What is the cost of the program and is it relative to the experience of the presenter, the number of hours of training and the amount of course content in the program?
Is the program recognized by a respected fitness organization for CEUs?
This will not mean that the program was reviewed by pole dance professionals who understand any of the concepts of pole dancing and therefore might even have some content which is not safe or correct in relation to pole dancing.
However, it does mean that this program has passed the standards of a well planned and thoroughly designed course based on their organization’s standards.
Is the program recognized by a respected pole dance organization (or authored by one) in which recognized pole professionals have reviewed the content for appropriate pole instructional techniques?
Is the program a certification program or is it providing a certificate of completion?
Certification courses are approved by a third party provider who is considered an expert in the field. Examples of such providers would include but are not limited to The Pole Fitness Association, The Pole Dance Community and the US Pole Dance Federation.
What are the pre-requisites to the program you are considering? Are they too easy to meet?
Are there different levels to the program based on the participants’ experience or do they allow all levels of experience to participate in the same group?
What are the renewal requirements for ongoing certification?
What is provided in ongoing support, perks, classes or other services after you complete your program? Do you now have a resource and mentor to go to?
Is the presenter available for a phone interview or consistently available by email to answer your questions about the program?
What is the criteria for passing this program? Is it something YOU can be proud of? Do you just pay and walk out with a "certification" or do you have to prove your abilities through thorough and fair testing?
Does the program offer an opportunity for teaching with the studio or offering the training program itself?
More information about the difference between certifications, a certificate of completion and continuing education can be found on the ACE website here: ACE FAQ
While it is the opinion of ACE that only NCCA and ANSI are qualified to recognize a certification program, neither has a recognized board of professionals who are proficient in pole dancing. They are both based in the traditional fitness industry of personal trainers and group exercise professionals, etc.
Obviously other fields have certification programs which are not recognized by NCCA - health care for example. However, the points made about what determines the difference between certification, education, CEUS, and certificate of completion are explained well on the above link.
With that in mind, at this time the pole industry has it's own groups to recognize and sanction pole dance certifications like the Pole Dance Community and the Pole Fitness Association, however from a fitness perspective, achieving such recognition from the traditional fitness industry also has it's own benefits.