How to Turn Your Cheer Experience into a Career

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Have you ever heard the expression, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Here are a few ways to use your cheer experience after graduation to get paid for doing what you love.

Stunt or Cheer Team for Professional Sports Teams

While many professional sports teams have dance teams, there are a few that have stunting and tumbling teams. While it might not be possible to support a family on your salary, courts have recently ruled that pro cheerleaders are employees and must be paid at least minimum wage. And if you’re interested in a career in the entertainment field, these teams can put you on center stage like former Laker Girl Paula Abdul.

Entertainment Performer

Speaking of entertainment careers, if you can you sing or act you can try for a spot in a Broadway musical or theme park production. These companies are always looking for mutli-talented performers, and you’re already used to performing in front of a crowd! Check online for casting calls and requirements. Do your research first to make sure the organization is reputable.

Circus Performer

If you’re a great tumbler and stunter, audition for Cirque du Soleil. This Canada-based organization holds tryouts often for their traveling circuses as well as their Las Vegas, Reno, and international shows.

Coach/Trainer

Many schools, youth sports teams, and cheer training companies are looking for experienced cheerleaders to become coaches and trainers. Beginning coaches might not get paid much or at all, but they will get experience to add to your resume so you can find a paid position at a school or gym. Whether or not your organization requires it, it’s a good idea to become certified. For information on how to get certified, search online for organizations who offer this service.

Choreographer

Are you the creative type with an ear for 8-counts? Do your teammates call you, “Sparky”? Become a choreographer! The more successful you become, the more in demand you will find yourself, and the more people will be willing to pay for your services. There are many different types of dance and choreography classes you can take at your local community college or university.

Competition or Tryout Judge

Many cheer companies and schools hire joutside udges for competitions and tryouts. Being a judge requires training, travel, and long hours, mostly on weekends. Certification training includes safety as well as score sheet rules. Most states have their own procedure for becoming certified, so check online. You can also visit the US All Star Federation website at www.usasf.net for  information on becoming a safety judge.

Apparel/Equipment Designer

If you’re a fashionista with an eye for color and design, consider a career in designing cheer uniforms, t-shirts, accessories such as bows, and equipment such as poms and megaphones. Fashion design careers usually require some type of formal training, so check out your local career college, community college, or university.

Gym Owner

If you have a head for business, you might want to consider opening your own gym. This is a serious, long-term undertaking that requires a good, detailed business plan, quite a bit of startup money, a large building, and a lot of insurance. But if you live in an area where there is no current program, if you plan carefully, opening your own cheer gym can be quite a successful career.

Cheer Apparel/Equipment/Fundraiser Sales Rep

Finally, if you have good organizational skills and love talking to and being around people, you might want to look at a career in cheer apparel and equipment sales. Your first-hand knowledge will come in handy when you are making suggestions for the most flexible material, the most comfortable shoes, or the most durable poms. Most companies require a background in cheer and/or dance, and many prefer a college degree. This is another career that requires long hours and a lot of travel, but, since many companies pay their sales people on a commission basis, this can be quite a lucrative career for a real go-getter like you!

 

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Marge Packman

Marge was a member of her high school pom team and has coached youth and school cheer for over 17 years. She has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University (Go, Huskies!). After graduation she joined the Peace Corps, met her husband, and moved to The OC. After cheer practice, you can find her watching football with her son or perusing the scrapbooking aisles with her daughter.

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