How to Become a Cheerleader

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To become a cheerleader, a person has to be willing to learn complex dance moves, stay in excellent physical shape, and travel extensively. While cheerleaders may not need to complete a certain level of formal education, they may have to meet certain age or height requirements. Cheerleaders are often classified as professional dancers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the demand for professional dancers will increase by 18 percent by the year 2020.[1]


Flickr: Erik Jaeger
Education No formal education required
Starting pay N/A
Median pay Varies
10 yr growth Average: 18%[1]
Related professions NFL Cheerleader
Author Selena Robinson

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Cheerleader Job Overview

The primary job of cheerleaders in any sport is to encourage fans of the home team to cheer. They often accomplish this by performing choreographed dance routines, audible cheers, and showing excitement when the team scores. However, becoming a cheerleader also involves work that takes place off of the playing field.[2]

Cheerleader Modeling Jobs

Many cheerleaders, especially professional cheerleaders, also behave as team spokespersons and models. Female cheerleaders in particular often appear in promotional publications for the team, such as swimsuit calendars, press packets, and media pictures. Depending on the type of sport, cheerleaders may also make promotional appearances around the local community, signing autographs, participating in charitable work, or hosting special events for fans.[3]

Cheerleader Education

Cheerleaders are typically not required to complete a formal education beyond receiving a high school diploma. Amateur cheerleaders often get started in the career by cheering while they are still in high school. While most sports teams do not expect cheerleaders to have a college degree, they must meet certain age and residency requirements. For example, to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, women must be at least 18 years of age in order to audition. The team also insists that all cheerleaders live in the greater Dallas, Texas area.[4]

Cheerleader Training

Making a professional cheerleading squad requires a great deal of practice and training. Since cheerleaders perform dance routines regularly, individuals who want to join the squad should practice their dancing skills extensively before auditioning. Some professional sports teams offer preparation classes for those who are interested in applying. For example, the Baltimore Ravens cheerleading squad offers two preparation classes each year. During the class, applicants can learn the team's specific dance routines before appearing in front of the judging panel.[5]

OKC Thunder Cheerleader Halftime Show

Professional cheerleaders for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team perform at halftime

Also See: How to Become a Dancer, How To Become a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader, How to Become a Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader, How To Become a Carolina Panthers Cheerleader, How to Become a Model, How to Become an NFL Cheerleader


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