You've made a great decision to pursue YPAD™ Certification!

This process was created to help studio owners, event owners, and other dance industry professionals gain tools and practical knowledge for safer, healthier dance environments. Pursuing YPAD™ Certification demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding children and empowering confident adults.

Much like a dance education, a YPAD™ Certified designation requires an investment of time, patience, hard work, and financial resources. Raising the standard of student well-being is no small feat, and YPAD™ is here to help you achieve it.

Those who choose to become certified are willing to go the extra mile to build their safeguarding capacity-building, agreeing to a high measure of self-education and self-regulation in addition to following YPAD™’s 5-tier accountability model.

The mission of Youth Protection Association for Dance™ is to bring awareness to and provide guidance for one essential priority: the safety and health of dance students.

Studio owners, these are the steps to earn your YPAD™ Certified designation:

It all starts here: with you, the studio owner, and these three steps.

STEP ONE: submit an application for your studio. The application is located at the bottom of this page. Once your application is approved (5-7 business days), you will receive an email with access to the order form.

STEP TWO: complete the YPAD™ Certified Studio course, submit the reflections, and pass the knowledge checks with 90% proficiency. The YPAD™ Certified Studio course takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete. Your staff must also complete the appropriate courses for their role during step two (teacher or admin). They, too, will submit reflections and must pass knowledge checks with 90% proficiency. Depending on the role, staff courses take approximately 2-4 hours to complete.

STEP THREE: complete the external training and documentation submission requirements listed below. Items with "*" indicate third-party provider and cost. Links to those programs are inside the course. Costs are outlined in the FAQ section below.

When your course(s) are complete and all documentation is submitted, your YPAD™ Certified Studio status will be confirmed and designated. Your status will remain active in our directory of YPAD™ Certified Studios as long as you remain in good standing and complete an annual renewal. If you choose to become certified, you are agreeing to self-regulation and to following YPAD’s 5-tier accountability model.

Darcy Fagerwold

Studio Owner, California

"Youth Protection Association for Dance™ education is evidence to families that we are committed to keeping kids happy, healthy, and safe in dance. It is comforting to know that as challenging issues arise, YPAD™ is there to support and guide us to ensure we are doing what's right for our students. Thank you to Youth Protection Association for Dance™ for leading the dance industry in this vital endeavor!"


Kate Moody

Studio Owner, Wisconsin

"If you haven't done YPAD™ training yet, do it. We had a loaded gun incident at the local high school this morning (everything is okay). But the thought that something could happen so close, is so scary. As hard as it was to imagine and read about all the 'what to do's' in YPAD™ training, I am proud that we did, because 'It's better to know and not need than to need and not know'. Thank you YPAD™ team for all the great knowledge in the YPAD™ course!"



Studio Owner, Iowa

"I'm a studio owner, but I wanted to start with individual certification first. This allowed me to get to know the program through monthly Community Connection Calls and to implement best practices in my studio. This program has given me a community of like-minded dance professionals who choose to put the wellness and safety of their students as a top priority. I’m eager to get my entire studio certified next!"



Studio Owner, California

"Being a YPAD™ Certified Studio is essential to our studio’s culture. Our parents and families are confident that our studio is intentionally focused on keeping their kids healthy and safe. YPAD™'s extensive resources and monthly ongoing education opportunities have been integral in carrying out our mission of Encouraging Kids to Lead Inspired Lives!"

After your application is accepted and you complete the YPAD™ Certified Course, submit the reflections, and pass the knowledge checks with 90% proficiency, it is time to move on to STEP THREE: external training and documentation.

Documentation requirements for studio or event certification

Certifying a studio or an event has greater documentation requirements than certifying an individual.

Proof of business liability insurance, including sex abuse coverage*

Proof of background checks for yourself and all staff members*

Proof of up-to-date CPR/AED and First Aid certifications for yourself and all staff members*

Proof of completion of Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® training for yourself and all staff members*

Proof of Youth Mental Health First Aid certification for yourself*

Copy of up-to-date copy of your studio's EAP (Emergency Action Plan) for your facility and off-site events

Copy of signed YPAD™ Certified Studio Agreement

Copy of signed Safeguarding Pledge for yourself and all staff members

Attendance at a live two-hour training via zoom regarding artistic integrity, plus three integration calls with your YPAD™ coach within the first year of earning your certification designation. Staff are also encouraged to attend the live training.


YPAD™ Certified Studios receive unlimited FREE access to short courses for the following important roles:


Need to hire a sub on short notice? This short course covers the essentials of what it means to teach at a YPAD™ Certified Studio.


Do you engage with volunteers? Use this brief course to educate them on the basics of classroom and performance safety.


Hiring guest or master teachers? Offer this simple course to share baseline expectations for teaching in a YPAD™ Certified environment.

The Course Collection for YPAD™ Certified Studios

Studio Owner


This 8-10 hour course provides foundations for studio owners for best practices in the areas of Hiring, Onboarding and Training, Studio Safety, Abuse Protection, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Social Media & Communications, and Artistic Integrity.

Studio Teacher


This 3-4 hour course covers teacher-specific essentials regarding Student Safety, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, and Artistic Integrity.

Studio Admin


This 1-2 hour course provides adminstrative eand learn all about: Safety Safetey, Protecting Students, Healthy Communication, and Professional Integrity.

Studio Substitute


This short 30 minute course covers the highlights for substitutes working on short notice. Includes the essentials for student safety and health, safe movement in class and onstage, and artistic integrity.

Studio Volunteer


This short 15 minute course covers the basics of student safety and health for studio volunteers.

Studio Guest Teacher


This 30 minute course helps guest teachers understand the baseline expectations of teaching in a YPAD™ Certified environment.

YPAD™ endorses the concept of continuing education and continuous improvement.
Because of that, certification must be renewed annually.
Annual renewal: 50% discount.


Applications for the 2023-24 season close December 31, 2023. Applications for the 2024-25 season open July 1, 2024.


YPAD™ Education options provide practical insights, evidence-based knowledge, and innovative teaching methodologies that you can immediately implement in your role. These options are designed to enhance personal and professional development, but do not lead to certification.

YPAD™ Certification is offered for three distinct groups: Studios, Individuals, and Events. Certification begins with an application and requires background checks, CPR/First Aid certification, Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training, a Safeguarding Pledge, attendance at a live virtual artistic integrity seminar, and a commitment to YPAD™’s 5-tier accountability model. Additional requirements for studio owners and event owners include proof of insurance, emergency action planning, and Youth Mental Health First Aid certification.

Background check costs depend on the background screening company you choose and the individual being checked. Expect costs to start around $25 per person. For YPAD™ Certification purposes, background checks must be renewed every two years at minimum.

CPR/First Aid certification typically starts around $35 per person and must be renewed every two years at minimum. YPAD™ accepts online completion certificates.

Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training is $16 per person, as of December 2023.

The cost for Youth Mental Health First Aid certification typically starts around $85 per person. Though this training is recommended for all who are certifying, YPAD™ only requires it for studio owners and event owners.

No. YPAD™ does not police the dance industry. Instead, YPAD™ aims to encourage thoughtful decision-making and discussions around developmentally appropriate and age-appropriate approaches to dance education and artistic integrity. YPAD™’s mission in safeguarding capacity-building helps everyone make better-informed choices for the well-being of dance students.

Yes. YPAD™ offers education options for everyone!

YPAD™ endorses continuing education and continuous improvement. Because of that, certification is valid from the date of your initial enrollment and must be renewed annually based on that date.

All YPAD™ coursework is asynchronous, meaning you can start, take a break, and restart anytime (though you will want to keep in mind your initial enrollment date; see previous question). Certification is only awarded, however, after all standards have been met.

The 5-tier accountability model is a system for collecting and addressing YPAD™-related concerns. When you become YPAD™ Certified, if a concern is shared with us about your organization, we will assess the matter and contact you so that you can learn and improve your practices. Serious problems may result in suspension or removal of certification status. To learn more, visit the Support page.

YPAD™ is proud to support the following YPAD™ Certified Events through ongoing education and resources

Kelly Peterson
The guiDANCE Experience

“YPAD™ has brought so much value into the dance industry by helping kids stay safe, encouraging community, self-accountability, and awareness. YPAD™ gives anyone working in the dance industry clear priorities to develop this next generation of dancers. Through educational opportunities, YPAD™ is leading the way for the betterment of all involved in the dance industry.”

Christian Clark
REVEL Dance Convention

“REVEL has been partnered with YPAD™ as a certified event for the past 2 years. YPAD™ has become an invaluable resource to our leadership team, administrative staff and dance educators. YPAD™'s subject matter experts have helped shape our policies and procedures around child safety & wellness, promoted a culture of awareness & accountability, and made us a better organization overall. Without hesitation, we recommend that other event organizers explore YPAD™ training and certification."

Jeremy Keeton
Adrenaline and Revive Dance Conventions

"YPAD™ has been a gift to the dance industry. The information we receive through continual YPAD™ training is essential and integral to keeping youth dancers safe. This training goes far beyond our events and has given our team tools to navigate everyday situations involving children. We are honored to offer dance experiences to people around the country and are grateful that through YPAD™, studio directors and parents feel even more confident that dancers' health and safety are a priority at Adrenaline and Revive Dance Conventions."

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YPAD™ is based in the United States. Though the education presented here is built upon U.S. standards, YPAD™ recognizes that there may be different standards in other cultures and countries across the globe. It is important to refer to the governance of your home country, state, province, or city to ensure consistent, legal compliance with the appropriate local regulations.

Are you looking for positive, practical resources to support your role as a dance parent, dance educator, studio owner, or event leader?

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Youth Protection Association for Dance™ is a division of Educational Standards LLC