And welcome to the Trainer Academy article on how to become a spin instructor, which I’ve broken down into four easy steps:
By the time you finish reading this article, there’s no doubt you’ll have everything it takes to shine as a rockstar spin instructor.
Pedal to the metal!
Get Certified to Ride
So you want to become a spin instructor?
The first step in your journey is to get certified.
With the popularity of the internet and the advancement in technology over the past few decades, there’s so much information available online.
While you have outstanding accessibility at the tip of your fingers these days, it sure makes it harder for you to find exactly what you’re looking for, and there are many scams.
You may be lost and unsure of what to look for in a spin instructor certification program, so I paved the roads for you.
What to Look For in a Spin Instructor Certification Program
- Program Cost and study materials
- Program Duration
Let’s dive into each.
In my perspective, the most important factor you’ll want to consider is program accreditation.
Is the program you chose legitimate and accredited?
Most top-notch fitness certifications and health coach certifications are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is the gold standard accreditation in the industry.
NCCA-accredited certifications open doors to many job opportunities in the fitness world.
But how much does it cost to become a spin instructor?
Let’s find out.
Program Cost and Study Materials
I’m sure you want to get a bang for your buck.
Based on my research, most cycling instructor courses cost a few hundred dollars, similar to, and sometimes less than, your average certified personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach courses.
And you do get what you pay for.
A good spin instructor program will cover essential topics, such as proper bike set-up, basic spinning techniques, and class setup.
Regarding study materials, you should get access to a bunch of resources and books from your program provider.
So now how long does it take to become a certified spin instructor?
Most spin instructor certification programs are self-study, so it really depends on how much time and effort you dedicate toward your studies and practice.
While some programs take hours, others may take days or weeks, which is actually less than the average time to become a personal trainer.
Let me go ahead and share my top spin instructor certifications so you could see what works best for you.
Top Spin Instructor Certifications
Based on my research, here are my top five spin instructor training courses:
- ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor
- Spinning® Instructor
- NETA Indoor Group Cycling
- ASFA Cycling Instructor
- AFAA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor
As you go through each, note your likes and dislikes to narrow down your search.
ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification
The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) has been around for over 30 years and has certified fitness professionals all around the world.
Accredited by both the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), ISSA provides a gold standard for their credited spin instructors.
Also, the ISSA Master Trainer is one of the best master trainer certifications.
See my NASM vs. ISSA article for more on specific matters.
But enough of that.
Instead, let’s discuss the cycling certification.
First and foremost, there are no prerequisites to enroll in the ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor certification course, so this course is appropriate for beginners or avid cyclists.
This online spin instructor course is self-paced, which means it can be done anywhere and at any time at your convenience.
The spin instructor course tuition is currently $468, but I’d recommend checking the website for any promotions or deals.
The ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor certification covers the following:
- Foundations of human anatomy and movement
- Energy systems and performance
- Cycling-specific nutrition demands
- How to grow your skills as an instructor
- Class design, equipment, and riding techniques
And here’s what you’ll get:
- Online course textbook
- Library of 30 online instructional videos
- Guided and structured study
- NCCA-accredited exam
- Unlimited educational support
Like the ISSA exam for personal trainers, the ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor certification exam is online and open-book, with one free retake if you fail on your first attempt.
You will be required to recertify your certification every two years, and there is a $99 renewal fee unless you complete all 20 hours of continued education through ISSA and the fee is waived.
Fun fact – most of the ISSA certification courses and exams are the same.
Spinning® Instructor Certification
Spinning® is a registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc., and they have certified over 250,000 spin instructors since 1995.
This fact alone should scream “quality” and “legitimacy” to you.
There are four different Spinning® certifications to choose from, each building off of the other until you’ve become the rockstar instructor you’ve always wanted to be.
The only prerequisite there is to this certification course is being 18 years of age or older, unless you have a waiver signed by your parents.
Besides providing good quality fitness education, this program offers three different certification courses, which I’ll explain briefly below.
The Live In-Person course is 9 hours, and you must take the assessment within 30 days of enrollment.
The Live Virtual course is a 4-hour Zoom meeting with online resources covering the rest of the material.
Lastly, the Online course is self-study and provides you with all the essential tools to become a successful online trainer.
And no matter which you choose, the price is always flat at $355.
With this Spin® instructor certification, be prepared to learn the following objectives:
- Bike safety and spin class set-up
- Proper riding positions
- How to use metrics like heart rate, cadence, and power to get the most from a Spin® class
- How to motivate and coach classes
- Much more!
All courses require you to recertify every 2 years, and this is done by completing 14 continuing education hours.
Failure to meet this criterion costs $75.
It’s also worth mentioning that all three certification courses are approved for ACE, AFAA, and NASM credits.
And, they pair well with their respective practice tests:
Not quite sure which is better for you?
Then read up on NASM vs. ACE for a deeper review of the two.
This way, you’ll not only become spin instructor certified, but personal trainer certified as well – all while saving so much time, energy, and money!
NETA Indoor Group Cycling Certification
The National Trainers Exercise Association (NETA) has certified health and fitness professionals for over 40 years.
It’s no doubt they know what they’re doing when it comes to teaching the right way.
They are a non-profit organization committed to in-depth, interactive, inclusive training programs.
Similar to the ISSA Indoor Cycling Instructor certification course, the NETA Indoor Group Cycling certification course has no prerequisites for enrollment.
There are two spin certification course options.
First, the live in-person course is 7 hours, whereas the online course is self-paced.
While the live in-person course costs $249, the online course costs $229.
NETA’s Bike Fit Home Study course is only $29.
Key topics in this comprehensive cycling course include:
- Proper bike and class set-up
- What to do with broken equipment
- Exercise physiology and anatomy review
- Skills, drills, and terminology
- Safe body positioning and alignment
- Cueing and motivational tips
- Class formatting
- Determining exercise intensity (RPE, Heart Rate, Anaerobic Threshold)
You will be required to renew your indoor cycling instructor certification every 2 years.
This equates to 10 continuing education hours with 6 of them being through NETA workshops or home study.
There’s also a $30 fee if recertification is done before the expiration date.
ASFA Cycling Instructor Certification
For many years, this robust certification from the American Sports and Fitness Association (ASFA) has provided high-quality fitness education, testing, and assistance with continuing education needs.
They’re home to one of the best spin instructor certifications out there today, the ASFA Online Cycling Instructor Certification.
The only prerequisite for enrollment in this unique course is that you do have to agree to their terms and conditions.
(Yes, I’m being serious.)
While some spin instructor certification courses have live in-person options, ASFA’s Cycling Instructor certification is only offered online.
It was designed for fitness professionals looking to expand their knowledge by independently studying indoor cycling fundamentals.
Also, this cycling instructor certification was designed by fitness industry professionals for fitness industry professionals.
With a Cycling Instructor certification from ASFA, fitness professionals can stay committed to indoor cycling instruction and expand their career in a plethora of ways.
As an ASFA-certified cycling instructor, you’ll gain the following:
- An enhanced ability to design safe, effective, and fun indoor cycling classes for a variety of clients
- An increased understanding of successful indoor cycling class components and considerations
- A demonstrated knowledge of basic indoor cycling exercises, methods, and class design
There are three cycling instructor certification course options:
- Certificate Only (1 Year) for $249
- Certificate & Pocket Certification Card (1 Year) for $275
- Certificate & Pocket Certification Card (Lifetime Renewal) for $699
All certification courses are self-study and self-paced.
Recertification requirements must be completed annually, with both having at least one continuing education class pre-approved by ASFA unless, of course, you purchase the lifetime certification.
AFAA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor Certification
The Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) has been certifying group fitness instructors for well over 35 years.
AFAA inspires people through movement and was the first to release nationally standardized guidelines for fitness professionals by providing high-quality, NCCA-accredited certifications.
The AFAA Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor certification is one of the best online, self-study courses on the market.
There are no prerequisites because this course is designed to benefit everyone and anyone!
For $314, you get the following materials:
- Online content
- Interactive eBook with 8 chapters
- Video demonstrations
- Exportable cycling instructor resources
- 8 practice exams
- 7 quizzes
- Online, multiple-choice final exam
You’ll cover a variety of topics, from why you chose to instruct indoor cycling to putting it all together in a class.
You’ll learn about BPM (beats per minute) versus RPM (reps per minute) and how to use each in harmony with the music.
Most highlighted in this certification course is AFAA’s G.E.A.R. approach, which goes as follows:
- Establish class participant GOALS
- Create ENERGY through music
- Provide ACCOUNTABILITY through coaching strategies
- Get RESULTS through scientific and safe techniques
Recertification occurs every 2 years with 15 continuing education units.
Spin Instructor Certification Requirements
There are no education requirements to become a spin instructor, besides having a high school diploma or the equivalent (GED).
You do not need a degree to instruct spin, but most instructors who are also personal trainers may pursue college degrees in kinesiology, physiology, or anatomy to pursue more advanced exercise science careers.
While there are no real certification requirements, becoming a certified spin instructor takes determination and a certain fitness level.
Based on my experience, most certified spin instructors come from either a general fitness background, such as personal training or having taught aerobics or other group fitness classes.
Whereas other spin instructors are simply indoor cycling fanatics looking for either a new career path or to teach some spin classes on the side.
No matter what the reason, if you’re interested in pursuing a career as a spin instructor, it’s best to stay fit, familiarize yourself with the spin bike and bike set-up, and buy proper cycling attire.
Also, with characteristics such as an upbeat personality, sense of rhythm and pacing, love of fitness and people, and the ability to command a room, there’s no doubt you’ll be successful!
So if you complete your spin instructor certification course and pass your final exam – and have the above equipment and personality qualities – then you’re definitely ready to proceed to the next step.
And that’s practicing your craft.
Practice Your Craft
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “practice what you preach,” right?
This applies to teaching a cycle class as well.
While you are studying to become certified, it’s in your best interest to practice your craft and hone your spinning skills.
Next time you visit your local gym or spinning studio, take a class or two and get comfortable riding indoor bikes.
I’d also recommend taking classes from different instructors to see how each one teaches.
To find how you flow, teach some trial classes to friends, family, and even clients, especially if you are already a personal trainer and/or group fitness instructor.
Talk with the manager to see if you can possibly get an “in.”
As long as you are certified and qualify for the job, chances are very much in your favor that you’ll eventually be hired.
Train To Ride
Cycling is a lot of cardio, so it’s in your best interest to try out different intensities and different terrains as well.
And while you’ll clearly need to feel confident on a stationary bike, conditioning yourself off the bike helps keep your body in tip-top shape for your rides.
Muscle integrity is important in all facets of life, so on your off-days, incorporate some conditioning exercises, such as single-leg supine bridges or push-ups with knee raises into your fitness routine.
Do some research on exercises for specific cycling goals.
If you have a strong background in exercise science and biomechanics, then this should be like preaching to a choir.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to improve your climbs, sprints, or endurance, off-bike conditioning is essential for muscle integrity and maintenance.
If you’re also a personal trainer, you can pass this knowledge along to clients as well because they can benefit greatly from this.
Find Your Teaching Style
Every spin instructor has their own teaching style.
However, the most successful, master instructors are able to teach classes that include all levels and abilities both live and as online trainers.
Let the bike become an extension of you so it’s more natural, and the class flows.
Keep updated with your class playlist, and make sure the songs are appropriate for your ride.
Stay open to feedback from class members, as they might have song suggestions that’ll motivate them throughout their ride.
Maybe they’ll want specific cues to help them focus and concentrate on breathing and moving, or total silence at the end of class and during stretching.
Once you become confident with your teaching style, then I think you’ll be ready to seek employment.
You have an official spin instructor certification, and you’ve been practicing your craft, so what’s next?
You’re ready to ride – that’s what!
Seeking employment as a spin instructor does not have to be hard, and there are many job opportunities for those who seek them.
Get yourself out there in your local fitness community, on social media, and start applying yourself.
But how much can you make as a spin instructor?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, spin instructor, group fitness, and personal trainer job outlook is expected to increase by 39% from 2020 to 2030.
The growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Nutrition coach salary is typically around $30-40k.
There are some who become a nutrition coach in addition to being a personal trainer or group instructor, and their salary is doubled or even tripled!
Spin instructors can either work full-time or part-time, depending on what works best for them.
Overall, while there are all different approaches, the total amount of money you make depends on a multitude of factors, such as experience, educational background, certification(s), and even location.
You studied, practiced, aced your final exam, and have ridden your way to success as a result of all your efforts.
May you flourish in your new career as a spin instructor.
Before I ride on, I’ll answer a few questions that most people have asked me regarding spin instructor certifications and careers.
If you’ve made it this far, then I’m sure you’ve learned a great deal about where to start your new career as a spin instructor.
You know all the steps, so choose your spin certification course, pass your final exam, practice your skills, find your teaching style, strap in your shoes, and just go for it.
Enjoy your ride!