Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pole Dance Certifications

As pole dancing grows in popularity, associations and federations are popping up all over the world.  As these entities fight to make the sport "valid" in the eyes on the public, certification training programs are also being created to allow instructors to become certified to teach pole dance.  Although we could then ask what makes some programs "certified" to "certify" people, we ourselves are not certified in anything, so we have to believe that they know what they are doing (and we applaud those who want to keep students safe).  :-)  I have collaborated with Valentina and Pole Dance Italy on this post.  We have yet to back any particular program, but thought it would be nice to have a list of some of these programs in one place.  Here is a list of some of the popular pole certification training programs from around the world. 

KT Coates' Vertical Dance Pole Fitness Instructor Qualification (UK/Online)

The in-person course lasts two weekends.  The certification is recognized by American Council on Exercise (ACE), Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), Canadian Fitness Professionals (petition for credits) (CANFITPRO), Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS), Pole Fitness Association (PFA), International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) and Pole Dance Community (PDC).  The beginner course costs $399 (UK).  Intermediate and advanced courses are $199 (UK) each. 

Online courses are also available and allow you to study at your own pace.  Beginner and intermediate levels are available and each will take approximately 30 hours to complete.  You must complete it within one year of starting. 

International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA) (UK/China/Malaysia)

IPDFA offers two courses: beginner and intermediate.  The beginner course is 24 hours long and the intermediate course is 12 hours long.  Training is offered at Aerial Arts Academy in Hong Kong and Viva Vertical in UK and Malaysia.  The cost of the program is not listed on the website.

The IPDFA also allows pole studios to submit their class syllabus for accreditation, which certifies a studio for two years.

Pole Dance Community (PDC) (UK/Online)

This program is less about certification and more about grading.  PDC allows online submissions of videos for grading by their staff.  Level 3 instructors include Elena Gibson from London, KT Coates, also from the UK, and Mary-Ellyn Weissman from the US.  

Here is a comment received from PDS.  We wanted to share it with everyone:

Great review but just wanted to clarify a few bits about the Pole Dance Community. The AAP program is not a certification program or teaching qualification. It is a grading system that is implemented by our PDC approved instructors. Students can choose to grade online if they have no PDC approved instructor nearby. The AAP also allows students/instructors to record their pole dancing progression such as instructor approval, competition success, master-classes attended etc.

With regards to certification we currently have 3 approved teacher training courses, they are the Vertical Dance qualification, the ETDance qualification and the Discoveries Dance qualification: 

You may also be interested in our instructor approval scheme.

Mariana Baum - Pole Dance Paris (France)
Mariana Baum is the first pole dancing teacher in Paris, and the organizer of the French Pole Dance Championship. Mariana Baum is also French Ambassador of PFA (Pole Fitness Association).  The training course for instructors is organized in modules (basic to advance) for a total of 163 hours. It covers about 200 tricks and movements as well as theory, dance and acrobatics, speaking in public, pole dancing on the static and spinning pole, choreography. With the course there is a written manual for each module and DVD made directly by Mariana Baum. The cost is 450€ per module, for a total of 9 modules of which three optional modules (speaking in front of an audience, technique improvement, performance). 

Doris Arnold - Spin With Me (France) 

From just the last year Spin With Me offers training courses for instructors in both pole dancing and stripteasing. For pole dancing is 8 modules, 20 hours each, split into 4 consecutive days. No other information has been published. 

PoleXGym (Italy) 

Instructor training is a introductory course, consisting of one day, with the explanation of about 30 tricks and to understand the teaching style of the person. Basic course, obtainable after a period of pole dancing courses, is a 2 day, 16 hours course that includes pole dancing tricks, stretching, strengthening, choreography and all the pole dancing basics.

X-Pert Certification (US)

This is a "2-day, 16-hour training is accredited by AFAA and ACE – the top fitness certifying organizations – and endorsed by the PFA (Pole Fitness Association)."  The cost is around $750 (US).  X-pert certification will be offered in conjunction with the Pole Convention in Los Angeles, California this year with a convention price of only $649. 

Climb & Spin (US)

There are a few different certification options, but the basic Climb & Spin comprehensive certification package is $1,700 (US) and includes recognition by the United States Pole Dance Federation (USPDF).  That cost does not include instructor training.  The eight day teacher training is an additional $1,300 to $1,700 (US). 

Pole Dance Instructor Certification with Fawnia (PDIC) (US)

Fawnia is the lady who started it all in North America -- opening the first pole studio in Canada in the 1990's.  Her program features seven levels of pole, dance, floor work, and routines.  The Pole Dance Instructor Certifications are held in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It has been approved by the PFA.  Each level is taught in approximately one day.  The cost for Level 1 is $1,000 (although you can purchase multiple levels at a discount.  For example, Levels 1-4 would be $2,495).   

Pole Fitness Instructor Certification with Felix Cane (US)

This program offers certification in many areas, including pole, lap dance and "sexy yoga."  Each certification varies in cost and time commitment.  They do strongly recommend Levels 1-4 for beginning instructors, at a cost of $2,400 (US).

Empowerment Through Exotic Dance Instructor Certification Program (ETED) (US)

Mary-Ellyn Weissman owns ETED, and is a Level 3 certified instructor through PDC.  She offers beginner/intermediate and advanced certifications.  The cost is $799 (US) and $599, respectively.  Each level is 16 hours of training and the program is sanctioned by the PFA and PDC.  There is an additional cost if the lessons are given on a private or semi-private basis. 

Discoveries Dance Instructor Certification (US)

This is a 14 hour program, which requires the ability to already perform intermediate pole moves, and has been approved by ACE, AFAA, the PFA and the PDC.  The cost is around $400 and there are workshops set up all over the United States, including during Pole Convention in Los Angeles this June.  

The Italian Pole Dance Federation contacted Pole Dance Italy after the initial posting of this blog and stated that X-Pert Certification is available, although it is still only valid in the United States.  They also offer the following options: FIPD (Federazione Italiana Pole Dance) and CSEN (Centro Sportivo Educativo Nazionale) Sport Technician and Pole Fitness Teacher level 1 and level 2.

With so many options, it can be confusing as to which program might be right for you.  We would suggest first deciding why you want to become certified.  Do you want to teach?  Are you just trying to be a better/safer pole dancer?  Then talk to some of your favorite polefessionals.  Perhaps they have a program that they can endorse.  Finally, do a little bit of research and figure out which programs are offered in your area. 

If you are aware of a program that we missed, tell us about it!  Also, if you have been certified, we'd love to hear about that as well!


  1. Great information ... I live in th state of texas... so I am still confused on how to get certifications for pole dancing. I dont know if I should travel or do classes online??... -kate

    1. Once you choose the certification that is right for you, you will have to check their website. Some travel and some require you to come to them. :-)

  2. I live in the Worcester MA area, there aren't any good studios withing a 45 min drive of my house. I became X-Pert Certified to help teach myself and offer instruction to others in my area that would like to learn. It was an amazing 2 days, I pulled off tricks I had no idea I could do and I met a lot of great girls. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to get certified.

  3. Thank you so much for this information! I have been in the process of opening up my own studio and have been working on getting certified. Due to not having pole dance and fitness offered in my area, I have to do online courses. It has been a struggle to find which places are online and credible. So thank you for this!