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

The YPAD™ Certification process was created to help individuals, studio owners, event owners, and their staff gain the tools and practice the knowledge for safeguarding capacity-building. Pursuing YPAD™ Certification shows your commitment to safeguarding children and empowering confident adults.

Much like a dance education, a YPAD™ Certified Studio designation requires an investment of time, patience, hard work, and financial resources. Just like a dancer gets stronger over time, your safety practices can get better over time as well. There is a process to raising the standard of dancer well-being, and YPAD™ is here to help you achieve it. Those who choose to become certified agree to self-regulation and to follow YPAD’s 5-tier accountability model.

YPAD™ Studio Certification is now open. Certified Individual and Education only courses will be available this Fall.

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.

Steps to earn your YPAD™ Certified Studio 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 individual certification

The following external actions and training must be completed and submitted. Items with an "*" indicate third-party provider, additional required time commitment, and cost. Links to those programs are in the course. Costs and time commitment are listed below in the FAQ section.

Proof of background check*

Proof of up-to-date CPR/AED and First Aid certification*

Proof of completion of Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® training*

Copy of signed Safeguarding Pledge

Attendance at a live two-hour training regarding artistic integrity

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 cover a class on short notice? Not able to find someone who is YPAD™ certified? Use this course to cover the essentials for substitutes on short notice.


Do you use volunteers for your programs? Use this short course for volunteers to cover the basics of working safely with youth in classroom and performance settings.


Do you hire guest and master teachers for special programs? Use this course to share the baseline expectations of 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.


Now accepting studio certification renewals and new studio certification applications!
YPAD™ Certified Individual courses will be open in late Summer 2023.


Education courses are audit-only courses for personal growth. Education courses are open to the entire dance community. Education courses do not require additional steps such as knowledge checks, or outside training and documentation, nor do they lead to certification. Education courses are just as they sound: a place to learn.

Certification is offered in three ways: YPAD™ Certified Individual, Studio, or Event. Certification begins with an application and requires background checks, CPR/AED and First Aid certification, Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® training, live artistic integrity Zoom seminar, a Safeguarding Pledge, and commitment to our 5-tier Accountability model. Additional requirements apply to YPAD™ Certified Studios and Events, such as proof of insurance, emergency action planning, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and three sessions with a YPAD™ integration coach.

Background checks are $25-29 per person and are renewed every two years. Background checks must be applied for individually. TIP: when applying for a background check, select the box that asks if you would like a copy of your results. YPAD no longer provides a link for requesting background checks via Intellicorp. Please refer to your employer or email info@ypadnow.com for questions.

CPR/AED and First Aid certification ranges from $35-55 per person for online training. For the purpose of YPAD certification, we accept the online completion certificate. In-person training may be required for you to be OSHA compliant, so please refer to the licensing agency for details. CPR/AED and First Aid takes approximately three hours online to complete and must be renewed every two years.

Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children® (D2L) training is $10 per person and only needs to be completed once. A link to access this training is located in your certification course. D2L training is an asynchronous online course. It can be completed at any time and takes approximately two hours to complete. Starting in December 2023, the NEW Stewards of Children® course will be $16/person.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) certification is $75, is only required for the studio owner, and only needs to be completed once. A link to register is located in your studio owner course. YMHFA training is live online training that is offered once every 3 months and takes approximately 6.5 hours to complete.

YPAD™ is not interested in policing the dance industry. Instead, YPAD™ aims to encourage thoughtful discussions around developmentally appropriate and age-appropriate approaches to dance education and artistic integrity. The mission of YPAD™ is safeguarding capacity-building–helping dance educators to make better informed choices every day.

Yes, YPAD™ believes education in safeguarding capacity-building should be available to everyone.

YPAD™ endorses the concept of continuing education and continuous improvement. Because of that, certification must be renewed annually.

YPAD™ education and certification courses are asynchronous, meaning you can start, take a break, and re-start anytime. Certification is only awarded, however, after all standards have been met.

YPAD™ believes in capacity-building. If you or your organization are certified and a concern is shared with us, 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 tab.

YPAD™ Certified Individual Courses will be open late Summer / early Fall 2023.

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 educator, studio owner, or event leader?

Add your email to the mailing list to get the latest YPAD™ updates.

Copyright Youth Protection Association for Dance™ 2023
Youth Protection Association for Dance™ is a division of Educational Standards LLC