Do you need to be certified to teach self defense? If YES, here is everything you need to know about becoming a licensed self defense instructor. Self – defence training in this age is a big business as it caters to kids, students, single mothers, housewives, executives travelling overseas, government employees, celebrities, sports figures, politicians, school teachers, security guards, and just about anyone who wants and needs to feel safe and secured.

This business is ideal for people with martial arts, military, or law enforcement background. The more qualified and the better your credentials, the more your training services will be in demand. The amount businesses in this field charge can vary from a few dollars per hour, per student, when training a group, to as much as $200 per hour when training one – on – one.

How Much Do Self Defense Instructors Make Yearly?

For example, if you were able to conduct thirty – one private sessions in a week and charging $50 per session, then you could make over $80,000 a year, and it is possible to do more sessions (this example is assuming approximately 31 hours of actual lessons per week).

However, note that the potentially very low overhead of this business means that the vast majority of what you make is pure profit for you. However, as you start this business, do not forget the importance of branding. Spend some time coming up with an interesting business name and have a logo designed.

Don’t be afraid to observe other instructors and reach out to them for tips on what mistakes to avoid when you are first starting out. Additionally, make sure you have an active presence on social media: while this is important for most modern businesses, your young adult clientele will be particularly active on social media.

Do You Have to Be Certified to Teach Self Defense?

In the United States, there is nothing in the federal law that states that a self defence instructor must be certified before he/she can teach self – defence. But there are a multitude of schools and certifications which give people the credentials to open a martial arts or self defence school.

There are national qualifications Awarding Bodies which offer courses in self defence instruction, like the BTEC level 3 Self Defence Trainer. For an insurance company to insure you, they may also have to validate your skills by demonstrating qualifications or real life experience.

But there is nothing mandatory about getting certified in this business. Same way there is absolutely nothing hindering you from creating your own style of self defence, marketing it well and selling it with no background or experience in self defence or combat.

But note that it is hard to market a self defence strategy without real life credentials or experience. So, if you are interested in becoming a certified self defence instructor, below is a detailed guide to see you through the process.

How to Become a Licensed Self Defense Instructor

1. Choose a Certification Program

Before choosing a program for certification, it is advisable you do your research extensively. Just like obtaining a fitness certification, you will need to make sure that you spend some time researching reputable programs. Not all programs are the same so you’ll want to make sure that you choose the right program depending on what your goals are.

2. Ask Questions and Get Recommendations

Once you have successfully narrowed down your options, but are still not so sure which program to choose, simply compile a list of questions to ask someone associated with your program of choice. Note that getting these questions answered can help you make a better decision. You want to make a good decision and ultimately choose a method that you will be comfortable with, so asking the right questions are key to making the right choice.

If you have any friends or family members who are certified in self defence, meet them to offer some insight to help you get started. Asking for a recommendation is an ideal way to get a preview into what a certification program might be like. It also may help you cut down on some of the guess work involved with other classes you might be looking into.

3. Enrol and Earn Your Certificate

After you have decided on the class to take, it is important to be prepared and that you are consistent with all your training sessions. Speak with your instructor to make sure you are on the right track as you advance in your training.

4. After Certification

Meanwhile, your life after the self defence certification is completely up to you. What you do with your certification and how you use it can take very different paths, especially since it is not mandatory for businesses in the US, but just essential for your personal growth.

One thing you should do is educate others on what you have learned from your certification. Teach others about the mental and physical gains obtained from self – defence certification. Creating a safer world should be the ultimate goal.


Self – defence training is indeed a life changing experience. Students and instructors alike note the mental and physical growth they experience after taking self defence courses and getting certified. If you are looking for a life changing experience, self defence certification is just that.

Although self defence training and certifications are not required by law, but it will do your confidence and experience a lot better if you get certified in this industry. Just research these possible courses, ask questions, be diligent, and build your brand.