Professional Exam Levels

Professional Exam Levels

In this blog, Principal Greg Gillespie, explains the different professional exam levels.

If we look at the dance sport faculties of the world's two leading and most respected dance associations, the ISTD and the IDTA, there are three main levels of professional teaching exams.


The Associate level exam is the entry level professional qualification. With an Associate qualification you are a bona fide professional dance teacher. At the minimalist level, a teacher only needs to hold one Associate qualification in any core subject to get the benefits of join an association and being able to run exams, through that society. 

In order to be able to adjudicate at competitions, you need to have an Associate level qualification.


The next level is the Licentiate. The Licentiate, in the Dance Sport Faculties, is important for those wishing to judge at Championship level. In order to be able to adjudicate at high ranking competitions, the teacher must have two Licentiate qualifications, one in Ballroom and the other in Latin American.

The Licentiate level is often thought to be the hardest of all the exams. Mainly due to the volume of figures that need to be studied but also because of the wide range of figures and the details that go with them.


The Fellowship exam is the highest level teaching qualification you can get. In essence, to have a Fellowship qualification you would need to have learnt all of the specific technique book. It is also necessary to have a Fellowship to be considered to be an examiner. Although this varies from association to association, having a Fellowship is often compulsory before a candidate can even be considered to be an examiner, let alone start the process.

In the IDTA, at the time of writing this blog, new examiners need to have three Fellowship qualifications to be able to examiner in Dance Sport. The three needed would be: Ballroom, Latin American and Freestyle

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