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Certificate IV in Circus Arts

Certificate IV in Circus Arts Overview

The Certificate IV in Circus Arts provides training in preliminary level circus skills and knowledge. This course is suitable for aspiring circus artists seeking a qualification and as a pathway for further learning. The Certificate IV can be used for preparation for the Bachelor of Circus Arts course. It is also suitable for those teaching in social or community circuses, who wish to acquire more specific circus skills training.

This training may be delivered with Victorian Government funding. Some students may be eligible for a Government subsidised place.

Duration: 1 year full-time
Course Code: 10111NAT      CRICOS code 086127G               CRICOS provider code: 00111D 

NICA’s Certificate IV course is nationally recognised. Training Organisation Identifier (TOID): 3059

  • Circus basics such as tumbling, handstands, flexibility, manipulation, aerial and partner work
  • Circus group acts such as adagio, group aerial, group juggling, hoop-diving
  • Preliminary circus specialties may include but not limited to; static and swinging trapeze, tissu, rope, handstands, tightwire, contortion, Chinese pole, rolla bolla, juggling, hula hoops, and clowning
  • Fitness, strength and conditioning for circus performers
  • Performance and movement skills
  • Heritage and traditions of circus and application to circus practice
  • Safety in the circus environment
  • Basic anatomy, physiology, and nutrition


Certificate IV in Circus Arts students train at NICA’s purpose-built circus studios, performance spaces, drama and movement studios. Here they have access to dressing rooms, equipment and costume storage spaces. Students are also offered a range of services with NICA's health team; comprising a physiotherapist, sports doctor and sports psychologist - as well as the facilities and support services provided by Swinburne University.




National Institute of Circus Arts

Certificate IV in Circus Arts

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Career Opportunities

The Certificate IV in Circus Arts can lead to further circus arts study and to work in community and contemporary circus, traditional circus, social circus, stunt work, corporate entertainment, festivals, teaching and other sectors of the international performing arts market. Graduates would be employed to perform in circus and physical theatre acts at a preliminary level.

The Certificate IV in Circus Arts can provide a pathway into vocational areas such as theatre arts, dance, fitness, live production, and rigging. Graduates may also wish to apply for the Bachelor of Circus Arts.

NICA offers employment opportunities through CircaNICA, Australia’s leading agency for professional circus artists. Read more about where circus has led some of NICA’s graduates.

Certificate IV in Circus Arts

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How to apply

Applications for 2017 entry have now closed.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have:

  • a demonstrated capacity in learning, reading, writing, oracy and numeracy competencies to Level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). See
  • completed Year 12 or equivalent
  • English level IELTS 5.5 - 6 (for international students only)
  • a background in areas such as performing arts, physical theatre, youth circus, dance, martial arts, acrobatic sports or gymnastics
  • a proven ability to undertake circus arts study at AQF Certificate IV level through undertaking an audition to demonstrate technical and artistic skills in the following areas [to NICA Circus Arts Education and Training Benchmark Introductory Elementary Level E]:

- fitness and conditioning
- flexibility
- handstands
- tumbling
- strength
- manipulation
- demonstration of body alignment
- performance skills.

Participants must be physically able to undertake the qualification. Provision of medical evidence of suitability for circus training may be required.

Resources and references:
Audition Guide for 2017 Entry
Fitness Preparation Guide

Audition by DVD/USB/YouTube is accepted for international and geographically remote applicants.

View a short video about NICA that explains the audition process.
Bachelor of Circus Arts - The Audition

CRICOS number 00111D
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