My insider tips series continues for new and future Zumba Instructors.  If you missed some of the others, you can find them here, and here, and here and here.  Oh! and here.

Your Zumba certification will work like this:  You show up sort of at the ass-crack of dawn (8 am) and register.  You get your instructor DVDs, manual and an agenda for the day.  You being a “master class” (a really awesome hour long Zumba class, which is just for fun, you’re not being judged).  Then you spend the rest of the day learning the 4 Basic rhythms (salsa, merengue, reggaeton and cumbia).  Towards the end, you learn about the special Zumba choreography method and then you’re broken up into groups to experiment with the method and come up with your own choreography.

Don’t freak out about that part — you can just hang quietly in the group if you’re uncomfortable coming up with choreography on the spot.  Then your group performs a few phrases of its choreography.  It’s actually really interesting to see how people interpret the same song differently.

You fill out your instructor evaluation form, get your certificate of completion, pick up your proof of continuing education (to maintain your primary certification, if you have one) and you’re on your merry way.

During the training, you have the option to become a ZIN.  ZIN stands for Zumba Instructor Network.  It seems grammatically incorrect to call an individual a “ZIN,” but it just means you’re a member of the network.  A ZIN is not the same thing as a licensed Zumba instructor.

Your license to use the Zumba name and call yourself a Zumba instructor is only good for 1 year.  After that, you have to certify for a new Zumba license.  If you decide you want to re-certify using another workshop, you must have a current B1 license to take the B2 class, so make sure you don’t let your license expire! Also remember that if you teach a specialty Zumba class (Acqua, Zumbatomic, toning) you must either have a current B1 or B2 license OR you must be a member of ZIN.  Once your year license is up, so is your right to teach the specialty formats.  It’s a little confusing, so check out Zumba‘s website to make sure you understand.

If you join the ZIN, your license never expires as long as you are a member of ZIN.  It’s $30 a month and you receive music every month and choreography every other month.  You also get a discount on Zumbawear.  The Zumbawear discount is really nice.

There’s a big push to get you to sign up for ZIN on your training day, but you really don’t have to.  I waited 6 months before I signed up for ZIN.  That’s $180 I didn’t have to spend on music and choreography.  I like maybe 2-3 songs on the discs Zumba puts out so I really think $30 is asking a lot.  Most of the songs I like are by commercial artists and are not the songs created specifically for Zumba.  So I can find reggaeton or salsa songs I like and download them from iTunes much more cheaply.  There are music licensing issues, of course.  You have to check into that on your own.

If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to come up with your own choreography, remember that many Zumba instructors are happy to put their choreography out on YouTube for your reference.  I think once you get a few classes going, joining ZIN is definitely worth it.  But be smart with your money and wait until you have a bit of Zumba income before you sign up.