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Martial arts instructor

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Martial arts instructors teach martial arts like karate, jujitsu or judo.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need to be an advanced student in a martial art. You can then take a coaching qualification recognised by the National Governing Body (NGB) for your martial arts discipline. You can find more details about coaching qualifications from Sport England.

Before completing a coaching qualification you’ll need:

  • to be aged at least 18
  • instructor membership of an NGB
  • a minimum grade approved by your NGB
  • a recommendation from your association before attending an instructor award course

Some NGBs may expect you to have held an assistant coach qualification for 6 months. Instructor awards differ between NGBs.

If you'll be working with children or vulnerable adults, you'll need enhanced background checks, which your employer will arrange for you.

Some NGBs will expect you to have a children’s instructor award before working with children. It can also help you if you have experience of teaching or coaching another sport.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to demonstrate techniques clearly
  • the ability to inspire confidence and motivate others
  • the ability to communicate clearly

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • preparing lesson plans
  • demonstrating warm ups, skills training, and physical conditioning
  • coaching students
  • developing individual training programmes
  • observing and assessing students, and giving them feedback
  • developing and practising your own skills
  • taking responsibility for the health and safety of students
  • promoting your classes
You could work with both adults and children, instructing them at an appropriate level.

4. Salary

You’ll usually be self-employed and work in another job as well as teaching.

Your income will vary depending on the number of clients you have and your reputation as a tutor. You would charge per lesson, and rates are usually between £5 and £15 per person.

If you’re employed by a gym or health centre, you may be paid a flat rate per class of around £30.

You’ll usually have to pay business costs like equipment and room rent.

You could  earn extra money from selling uniforms and offering regular gradings. This is where a student is tested and rewarded for their skills and knowledge.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually set your own working hours, which will probably include evenings and weekends to meet the needs of your clients.

You’ll also accompany students to tournaments, and attend national and international courses to develop your own skills.

You could work in a variety of locations, from church halls and pub rooms to leisure centres and martial arts studios.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, and a senior instructor award, you could set up your own school or association.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018