How to Become an Aerial Silks Instructor (Swing into Success!)

how to become an aerial silks instructor

If you’ve ever been enthralled by the beauty of aerial silks and wondered what it takes to become an instructor, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the EXACT steps you need to take to launch your career as an aerial silks instructor. We’ll discuss:

  • The skills you need.
  • The training and certifications that can help you get there.
  • How to land a job as an aerial silks instructor.

So, whether you’re a beginner in the world of aerial arts or an experienced performer looking to teach, stay tuned.

We’re about to unfurl the road map to become an aerial silks instructor.

Let’s get started!

Contents show

Steps to Become an Aerial Silks Instructor


Step 1: Gain Experience in Aerial Silks

Before considering a career as an Aerial Silks Instructor, you first need to have a strong background in aerial silks.

This involves taking lessons from a professional instructor and developing your skills in this unique form of acrobatics.

You should aim to master a range of movements and techniques, including climbs, wraps, and drops.

This is an intensely physical discipline, so a good level of fitness is necessary.

Regular conditioning exercises and flexibility training can help you to strengthen your body and increase your ability to perform complex aerial maneuvers.

Once you have developed proficiency in aerial silks, it is recommended to gain performance experience.

This could be through joining a local circus troupe or performing at events and festivals.

This not only enhances your technical skills but also helps you to understand how to engage with an audience.

Remember that it takes time to develop advanced aerial skills.

Be patient with yourself and celebrate each small achievement as you progress.

It is this solid foundation of experience that will enable you to effectively teach others in the future.


Step 2: Complete Advanced Training and Workshops

To become an efficient Aerial Silks Instructor, it’s important to deepen your skills and knowledge in the field by undertaking advanced training and workshops.

These trainings not only provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of aerial silks but also enhance your own performance skills.

You will learn advanced techniques, safety measures, and teaching methodologies that are essential for becoming an effective instructor.

During these workshops, you can also gain hands-on experience with various aspects of aerial silks such as rigging, equipment maintenance, and spotting techniques.

Keep in mind, these workshops and training programs vary in duration and intensity, so you’ll want to choose ones that align with your career goals and the time you can commit.

Look for certified programs that are recognized in the industry to ensure you gain credible and quality training.

Furthermore, attending workshops not only expands your knowledge but also allows you to network with professionals in the field.

You can learn from their experiences and even get opportunities for shadowing or mentoring, which can be incredibly beneficial for your career as an Aerial Silks Instructor.

Remember, becoming an instructor is not just about mastering the craft but also about effectively teaching and ensuring the safety of your future students.

Thus, continuous learning and training are crucial in this process.


Step 3: Pursue a Fitness Certification

After gaining some experience and familiarity with aerial silks, it’s advisable to pursue a fitness certification.

This is particularly important if you have no previous experience or qualifications in fitness instruction.

A General Group Fitness Certification is a good starting point, as it equips you with the fundamental knowledge of instructing group fitness classes, covering topics such as anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition and instructional techniques.

This step is not merely about ticking off a requirement, but it is to ensure safety and effectiveness in your future classes.

Certification programs often include CPR and First Aid training, which are crucial when dealing with potential injuries during classes.

After obtaining a general fitness certification, you can opt to continue your professional development by undertaking specific aerial silk instructor training.

These specialized certifications can provide you with an in-depth understanding of aerial silk techniques, rigging, injury prevention and how to cater to students at different skill levels.

Remember to always renew and maintain your certifications as per the issuing organization’s guidelines.

This not only showcases your professionalism but also gives your students confidence in your abilities.


Step 4: Learn Teaching Methodologies

Once you have achieved a certain level of mastery with aerial silks, the next step is to learn teaching methodologies.

This includes understanding how to explain complex movements, how to structure a class, and how to maintain a safe environment for students.

Begin by enrolling in a teacher training program.

These programs usually cover the basics of teaching, such as how to structure a class, how to instruct students, and how to manage the safety of a group.

It’s also beneficial to learn about anatomy, physiology, and the principles of movement, as these are all relevant to teaching aerial silks.

Consider getting certified in first aid and CPR.

As an instructor, you are responsible for the safety of your students.

Knowing how to respond in an emergency situation is a crucial part of this.

Next, get experience teaching under the supervision of an experienced instructor.

This will allow you to apply what you’ve learned in your training program and get feedback on your teaching style.

Remember, good teaching involves patience, clear communication, and the ability to inspire your students.

It’s not just about knowing how to perform the movements yourself, but also about helping your students to learn and improve.


Step 5: Obtain a First Aid and CPR Certification

As an Aerial Silks Instructor, it is imperative that you are equipped to handle emergencies.

This involves getting a First Aid and CPR certification.

This certification will teach you how to respond to emergency situations, provide basic life support, and use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

In the unusual event that a student gets injured during class, or a medical emergency occurs, you will be prepared to take appropriate action until professional medical help arrives.

This not only ensures the safety of your students but also instills confidence in your abilities as an instructor.

You can obtain this certification from recognized organizations like the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.

These courses typically involve both a theoretical and a practical component, and the certification is valid for a couple of years after which you will need to renew it.

Remember, being a responsible instructor means being prepared for all situations.

Your students trust you with their safety, and getting First Aid and CPR certified is one way to live up to that trust.


Step 6: Specialize in Safety and Rigging Knowledge

As an Aerial Silks Instructor, you must prioritize the safety of your students.

This involves mastering rigging knowledge and safety protocols.

You should understand how to properly setup and inspect all aerial equipment, ensuring it is safe for use.

Learn about various types of hardware, knots, hitches, and their appropriate uses in an aerial context.

Additionally, develop the ability to assess potential risks in the environment where you’re teaching.

This includes analyzing ceiling structure, knowing weight limits and being able to respond correctly to any emergencies or accidents.

Specializing in this area is crucial, not just for the well-being of your students, but also to uphold industry standards and increase your credibility as an instructor.

It can be beneficial to attend specific safety and rigging workshops or courses, and you should regularly update your knowledge and skills in this area as techniques and equipment standards can evolve.

Your understanding of safety and rigging will also influence your teaching style.

You will be able to impart safety knowledge to your students, making them more confident and secure, thus enhancing their overall learning experience.


Step 7: Develop a Strong Personal Practice

Having a strong personal practice in aerial silks is crucial if you plan to become an instructor.

This means that you should practice regularly and continue to develop your skills.

Not only will this help you to become a better instructor, but it will also allow you to create unique routines and stay ahead of the latest trends and techniques in the industry.

In your personal practice, you should focus on mastering different tricks, transitions, and drops.

You should also work on your flexibility, strength, and endurance, as these are key components of aerial silks.

This will allow you to demonstrate and teach these elements effectively to your students.

In addition, you should also consider attending workshops and seminars, learning from other aerial silks instructors, and even taking classes in related disciplines such as gymnastics or dance.

This will broaden your knowledge and skills and can give you new ideas for your own teaching.

Remember, the better you are at aerial silks, the more confident and effective you will be as an instructor.


Step 8: Start Assisting Experienced Instructors

Before you start leading your own classes as an Aerial Silks Instructor, it’s beneficial to gain some hands-on experience by assisting more experienced instructors in their classes.

This will allow you to learn class management techniques, safety practices, and even advanced teaching methods from seasoned professionals.

Assisting experienced instructors also provides a chance to understand the students’ common difficulties and questions, which will be a valuable knowledge when you start to teach.

You can gain firsthand experience in helping students correct their form, learn new moves, and cope with the mental and physical challenges that come with aerial silks.

In addition, this step gives you the opportunity to get comfortable with the equipment, the environment, and handling unexpected situations during classes.

This experience can also enhance your confidence and teaching style which is crucial when you start instructing your own classes.

You can start assisting by reaching out to your own mentors or local aerial silks studios expressing your interest.

Usually, studios are open to such arrangements as it provides extra help during their classes.


Step 9: Create a Portfolio and Resume

As an aerial silks instructor, it is essential to have a portfolio and resume that showcases your skills, talents, and experience.

Your portfolio should include videos of your performances or classes taught, demonstrating your technique, strength, flexibility, and teaching methods.

Document all your routines and performances, whether they are in a formal show, class, or practice session.

Your resume should include your training background, teaching experiences, special workshops attended, and certifications, if any.

Any relevant experiences, like choreography work, work with a dance company, or even acting experiences, will add to your profile.

Include references from past students or co-workers who can vouch for your abilities as an instructor.

Also, don’t forget to feature any unique skills you possess that could set you apart from other instructors, such as knowledge of different aerial apparatuses, experience in different dance forms, first aid training, etc.

Make sure you keep your portfolio and resume updated with your latest achievements, qualifications, and experiences.

This step is crucial as your portfolio and resume are the first impression potential employers or students will have of you.

Therefore, ensure it accurately reflects your abilities, qualifications, and passion for aerial silks.


Step 10: Apply for Aerial Silks Instructor Positions

As you have now developed your skills, gained essential experience and earned relevant certifications as an Aerial Silks Instructor, the next step is to apply for job positions in this field.

This can include seeking opportunities at circus schools, dance studios, fitness centers, or even private teaching.

Start by preparing a professional resume that highlights your skills, certifications, and experience in aerial silks.

Be sure to highlight any special skills or styles you specialize in, such as dance, gymnastics, or yoga.

Include any relevant performances or shows you have been a part of as these can be a testament to your skills and experience.

You can use online job search platforms, networking events, social media platforms, and contacts from your training programs to find job opportunities.

It’s also beneficial to connect with the aerial silks community in your area to open up possibilities for collaboration, networking, and job opportunities.

Once you find suitable job postings, tailor your application to fit the specific requirements of the job.

The application process might include submitting your resume, a cover letter, and potentially a demo video showcasing your skills in aerial silks.

Lastly, prepare for potential interviews by practicing common job interview questions and demonstrating your knowledge and passion for the craft.

Remember to also ask insightful questions about the organization, class structures and student profiles, as this will show your interest and commitment to the role.

Keep in mind that you may not secure a job immediately, but perseverance, continuous learning, and networking will eventually lead to opportunities.


Step 11: Continue Education and Professional Development

Even after becoming a certified aerial silks instructor, it’s crucial to continue your education and professional development.

The field of aerial arts is continually evolving, and new techniques, safety protocols, and teaching methods are being developed regularly.

It’s recommended to attend workshops, seminars, and courses that offer advanced training in aerial silks.

These can deepen your knowledge, enhance your skills, and keep you updated with the latest trends in the industry.

It’s also a good idea to learn from other experienced instructors or performers, as they can provide insights and tips that can help improve your teaching methods and performance skills.

Additionally, stay informed about the latest safety guidelines and equipment in the aerial arts industry.

Joining professional organizations or online forums dedicated to aerial arts can also be beneficial for networking and staying in the loop about industry updates.

Lastly, consider diversifying your skills by learning related aerial disciplines like lyra, pole, or trapeze.

This not only makes you a more versatile instructor but also increases your employability and opportunities for career advancement.


Step 12: Network with the Aerial and Fitness Community

As an Aerial Silks Instructor, it’s crucial to establish and maintain connections within the aerial and wider fitness community.

Networking can offer you several benefits, including sharing and gaining knowledge, learning about new job opportunities, getting referrals and advancing your career.

You can begin networking by attending workshops, conferences and events related to aerial silks and fitness.

You can also join local, national, or international organizations related to these fields.

Social media platforms and online forums can also be an excellent avenue for networking.

You can join groups related to aerial arts and fitness on these platforms, participate in discussions, and share your experiences and expertise.

Remember to approach networking with a genuine desire to learn from others and contribute positively to the community.

Building strong, authentic relationships can be a major factor in your success as an Aerial Silks Instructor.


Aerial Silks Instructor Roles and Responsibilities

An Aerial Silks Instructor combines fitness training, dance techniques, and circus arts to teach students how to perform various movements and tricks on aerial silks.

They have the following roles and responsibilities:



  • Plan and lead classes in aerial silks, teaching techniques and routines.
  • Demonstrate and explain techniques to students, ensuring they understand the movements and correct form.
  • Adapt lessons to suit different levels of ability.
  • Use appropriate teaching aids and equipment to enhance student learning.



  • Ensure the safety of students at all times, including rigging equipment correctly and checking it is safe for use.
  • Talk through and demonstrate safety procedures.
  • Monitor students to ensure they are performing moves correctly and safely.
  • Provide first aid in case of injury.


Student Progress and Assessment

  • Monitor students’ progress, give feedback and provide encouragement.
  • Evaluate individual student performance and make recommendations for improvement.



  • Maintain open lines of communication with students, parents, and management.
  • Address any concerns or complaints in a professional manner.



  • Maintain accurate records of students’ attendance and progress.
  • Administer and collect payments for classes.


Professional Development

  • Stay current with the latest trends and techniques in aerial silks.
  • Participate in professional development activities, such as workshops and training programs.



  • Promote the benefits of aerial silks to attract new students.
  • Assist in the marketing and promotion of classes.


Equipment Maintenance

  • Ensure all equipment is properly maintained and stored.
  • Perform routine safety checks on all equipment.


Studio Cleanliness

  • Ensure the studio is clean and safe for students.
  • Follow all health and safety regulations and guidelines.


What Does an Aerial Silks Instructor Do?

Aerial Silks Instructors are experts in the field of aerial silks, also known as aerial contortion, aerial ribbons, aerial tissues, or fabric acrobatics.

They typically work in dance studios, circus schools, or fitness centers.

Their primary role is to teach students how to perform acrobatics while hanging from a special fabric.

They guide students through a series of poses and movements that require strength, flexibility, and body awareness.

An Aerial Silks Instructor plans and delivers training sessions, ensuring that safety protocols are strictly followed.

They may demonstrate techniques, create choreographies, and assist students in perfecting their skills.

They also assess the individual abilities of each student, tailoring instructions to meet the student’s fitness level and capabilities.

They monitor student progress, provide feedback, and ensure proper posture and technique to avoid injuries.

Aside from the physical aspect, they also instill confidence, discipline, and artistic expression in their students.

Their role may also involve organizing and participating in performances or competitions.

The Aerial Silks Instructor is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the equipment to ensure safety.

They may also handle administrative duties such as scheduling classes, managing bookings, and promoting their services.


Essential Aerial Silks Instructor Skills

  • Physical Fitness: Aerial silks instructors need to be in excellent physical condition to perform and demonstrate various aerial maneuvers. They should have good strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Teaching Ability: The ability to clearly explain and demonstrate aerial silks techniques is vital. Instructors should be able to break down complex movements into manageable steps for beginners.
  • Safety Knowledge: Instructors must be well-versed in safety procedures related to aerial silks, including equipment setup, spotting techniques, and emergency procedures. They should be able to teach students how to perform moves safely.
  • Aerial Silks Technique: A deep understanding and mastery of aerial silks moves, transitions, and sequences are crucial. Instructors should be up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends in the aerial arts.
  • Communication: Instructors should communicate effectively with students of different skill levels, ages, and backgrounds. They should be able to motivate, inspire, and give constructive feedback to students.
  • Patient: Learning aerial silks can be challenging and frustrating for students. Instructors should be patient and supportive, helping students overcome fears and difficulties.
  • Creativity: Instructors should be able to create engaging and varied class routines. Creativity can also help in adapting exercises for different skill levels or physical abilities.
  • First Aid and CPR: Since aerial silks can involve physical risk, instructors should be trained in First Aid and CPR. This knowledge can be crucial in case of accidents or emergencies during class.
  • Leadership: Aerial silks instructors should be confident leaders, able to manage a class, maintain discipline and ensure a positive and inclusive learning environment.
  • Customer Service: Instructors often interact with customers in a studio setting, so good customer service skills can contribute to student retention and satisfaction.


Aerial Silks Instructor Career Path Progression

The Foundation: Apprentice Aerial Silks Instructor

Your journey typically begins as an Apprentice Aerial Silks Instructor.

At this stage, you are learning from experienced instructors and understanding the basics of aerial silks instruction.

You may assist in classes, workshops, and rehearsals.

Here are some tips for success in this role:

  1. Keep Learning: Stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and teaching methods in aerial silks.
  2. Seek Guidance: Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek advice from experienced instructors.
  3. Practice Regularly: Continuous practice will help you to improve your skills and gain confidence.


The Ascent: Aerial Silks Instructor

With experience and knowledge, you’ll transition into the role of an Aerial Silks Instructor.

You’ll start leading classes, choreographing routines, and enhancing the skills of your students.

Here’s how to thrive in this stage:

  1. Teaching Skills: Develop your teaching skills to effectively communicate with your students and help them progress.
  2. Safety Knowledge: Know the safety protocols in-depth to ensure a safe learning environment.
  3. Customization: Be able to adapt your teaching methods to suit the needs and capabilities of each student.


Reaching New Heights: Senior Aerial Silks Instructor

The next step is the Senior Aerial Silks Instructor position.

In this role, you are recognized for your expertise and leadership.

You will not only lead advanced classes, but also mentor new instructors and contribute to the development of the curriculum.

To excel as a Senior Aerial Silks Instructor:

  1. Mentorship: Share your knowledge and experience with new instructors to help them grow.
  2. Curriculum Development: Contribute to the development and enhancement of the aerial silks curriculum.
  3. Performance: Lead by example with your advanced performance skills and creativity in choreography.


Beyond the Silks: Studio Manager and Beyond

As your career progresses, you may choose to manage or even own an aerial silks studio, or specialize in a particular style.

These roles involve more responsibilities, management, and strategic decision-making.

Here’s what to focus on:

  1. Business Skills: Learn about the business aspects of running a studio, including marketing, finance, and administration.
  2. Team Leadership: Develop leadership skills to manage a team of instructors and staff effectively.
  3. Community Building: Foster a supportive and inclusive studio community to inspire students and instructors alike.


Pinnacle of Success: Master Aerial Silks Instructor or Studio Owner

You may reach roles like Master Aerial Silks Instructor or Studio Owner at the highest levels of the aerial silks career ladder.

Here, you’ll be responsible for shaping the overall direction of your studio or program, making critical decisions, and developing a successful and inspiring community of aerial silks performers and enthusiasts.


Aerial Silks Instructor Salary

Entry-Level Aerial Silks Instructor

  • Median Salary: $20,000 – $30,000 per year
  • Entry-level Aerial Silks Instructors generally have 0-2 years of experience and may hold certifications in aerial arts or physical education. They are usually responsible for teaching beginner-level classes and safety procedures.


Mid-Level Aerial Silks Instructor

  • Median Salary: $30,000 – $45,000 per year
  • Mid-Level Instructors typically have 2-5 years of experience and often teach intermediate and advanced classes. They may also assist in choreographing performances and provide advanced techniques training.


Senior Aerial Silks Instructor

  • Median Salary: $45,000 – $60,000 per year
  • Senior Instructors have 5+ years of experience and are often responsible for supervising other instructors, training new staff, and leading workshops or seminars. They may also play a key role in curating performances.


Lead Aerial Silks Instructor / Aerial Program Manager

  • Median Salary: $60,000 – $80,000+ per year
  • These roles typically come with significant experience and involve overseeing the aerial silks program, coordinating performances, and managing staff. They might also be responsible for hiring and training new instructors.


Aerial Arts Director / Aerial Arts Coordinator

  • Median Salary: $70,000 – $100,000+ per year
  • These high-level positions require extensive experience and deep expertise in aerial arts. They often involve setting strategic direction for the aerial program, managing budgets, and coordinating with other departments in a performance company.


Aerial Silks Instructor Work Environment

Aerial Silks Instructors typically work in dance studios, gymnastics centers, circus training facilities, or fitness centers.

They may also provide private lessons in home studios or the homes of clients.

The work schedule of an Aerial Silks Instructor can be quite varied, depending on class schedules and the needs of their clients.

They may need to work evenings and weekends when students are available, and they may also need to spend time outside of class preparing routines and maintaining their own skill level.

Aerial Silks Instructors work in an environment that requires physical strength, flexibility, and endurance.

The nature of their work involves demonstrating complex maneuvers, supporting students as they learn, and ensuring safety measures are adhered to.

As they gain experience and reputation, an Aerial Silks Instructor might choose to open their own studio, offering classes in a variety of aerial arts disciplines.


FAQs About Becoming an Aerial Silks Instructor

What qualifications are needed to become an Aerial Silks Instructor?

Becoming an Aerial Silks Instructor typically requires a strong background in aerial silks or other circus arts.

A teaching certification from a recognized circus arts school is highly beneficial.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to possess a good understanding of the human body and fitness principles.

Many instructors also have a First Aid and CPR certification.

Above all, good teaching skills, patience, and a strong commitment to safety are essential.


How can I gain experience in Aerial Silks?

The best way to gain experience in Aerial Silks is by taking classes from a reputable circus arts school or an experienced Aerial Silks Instructor.

Over time, you can progress to more advanced techniques and start performing.

Participating in workshops, festivals, and other community events can also provide valuable experience and networking opportunities.


Can I become an Aerial Silks Instructor if I’m afraid of heights?

While a fear of heights can be a challenge, it’s not impossible to overcome.

Many people find that with practice, their fear lessens.

It’s important to progress at your own pace and to work with an instructor who can provide reassurance and guidance.

Over time, you may find that you are able to manage your fear and even enjoy the sensation of being in the air.


Is being an Aerial Silks Instructor a full-time job?

Whether or not being an Aerial Silks Instructor is a full-time job can depend largely on the demand in your area and how you structure your classes.

Some instructors teach full-time, while others supplement their income with performances, workshops, or other teaching engagements.

Many instructors also work part-time or on a contract basis, which provides more flexibility.


What are the risks involved in being an Aerial Silks Instructor?

As with any activity involving height and physical exertion, there are risks involved.

Instructors must always prioritize safety, both for themselves and their students.

This includes ensuring equipment is in good condition, teaching proper techniques and progressions, and knowing how to respond to injuries or emergencies.

It’s also important to maintain personal fitness and flexibility to reduce the risk of injury.


What are the prospects for Aerial Silks Instructors in the next decade?

With the growing popularity of circus arts and aerial fitness, the prospects for Aerial Silks Instructors are promising.

More and more people are seeking out unique and enjoyable forms of fitness, and aerial silks classes can cater to a wide range of ages and fitness levels.

Therefore, opportunities for qualified instructors are expected to increase in the coming years.



And there you have it.

Embarking on a journey to become an aerial silks instructor is undoubtedly challenging, yet immensely rewarding.

Equipped with the right skills, training, and persistence, you are well on your way to making a significant impact in the realm of aerial arts.

Remember, the journey may be rigorous, but the exhilaration of teaching and performing is boundless. Your creativity could inspire the next groundbreaking routine that transforms how we view, perform, and appreciate aerial silks.

So, take that first leap. Immerse yourself in training. Connect with professionals. And most importantly, never stop dancing.

Because the world is waiting for what you can bring to the stage.

And if you’re looking for personalized guidance on starting or advancing your career as an aerial silks instructor, check out our AI Career Path Advisor.

This free tool is designed to offer customized advice and resources to help you navigate your career path effectively.

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