How to Become a Pilates Instructor

Pilates is a great workout, and if you’re passionate about it you might be considering making it your career. While the industry isn’t regulated, you should train to become an instructor so that you can help clients meet their goals safely. There are several important steps to take to begin working in this rewarding career.

What Do You Need to Be a Pilates Instructor?

Fitness careers are not regulated, which means that you don’t need any specific credentials or licensing. However, to be a successful and good instructor, you need training. Teaching Pilates requires more than simply being a practitioner.

Training and certification have several benefits:

  • Many studios and gyms require some type of certification for their instructors.
  • Most clients prefer to hire certified and trained instructors.
  • Certified Pilates instructors command higher rates.
  • Training teaches you how to assess clients and plan workouts to help them meet their goals.
  • In training, you will learn how to break down movements and teach clients in good form.

Start as an Experienced Pilates Practitioner

Maybe you’ve only tried a few Pilates classes and really enjoyed it. It seems like it could be a fun career to be the leader, to work with clients and help them get fit and achieve goals. That’s a great start, but before you train as an instructor you should be a dedicated practitioner.

You don’t need to go into instructor training as an expert, but you should at least have a few months of regular practice. Sign up for a series of classes and learn as much as you can. Not only will this prepare you for a certification program, but it will also help you feel certain you want to pursue this as a career.

Choose the Kind of Career You Want

Before you choose a training program, consider your future as a Pilates instructor. You should have a good idea of what it will look like, so that you can select the right certification and career track. Many schools and organizations offer certifications of different types. Know the options and how they fit into your plans.

There are two main types of certification programs: mat and comprehensive. Mat training is a good place to start. Most big gyms teach mat Pilates classes. However, this does limit you from reformer training. A comprehensive course will take longer but teaches you both mat and reformer Pilates, so you can teach in a gym, a smaller studio or out of your own home.

Research Certification Programs

With no real oversight in the industry, it can be tough to know which programs are the best. Ask around with gyms, studios and instructors to get recommendations. Certain names will pop up again and again. These are the reputable programs.

Some examples of Pilates instructor training programs that are widely recognized and respected are Balanced Body University, Body Arts and Science International, Peak Pilates, Stott Pilates, BASI Comprehensive Global, Polestar Pilates, and Power Pilates.

Consider several factors when choosing the right program, such as cost and location, training hours, qualifications of the instructors, a comprehensive curriculum and testing requirements.

Enroll in and Complete a Program

Once you have chosen the right program, enroll and complete the course to get certified. Keep training and practicing Pilates while you learn. Engage with your instructors and enlist a mentor to help guide your learning. Keep active in the Pilates community and network with other students, instructors and practitioners. All of this will serve you when you’re certified and ready to teach.

Start a Business or Land a Job

Pilates instructors have two ways of working: as an instructor for a studio or gym or by starting their own Pilates business. You may want to start out working in a studio to get experience working with clients, to build your resume and to make connections.

Starting your own business will take time and money, but working in a gym can help you begin earning right away. You can always start a business later or begin taking clients on the side on a part-time basis.

As an independent instructor, you can work with clients out of a home studio, rent space in a gym, work outdoors in parks if the climate allows or buy or rent your own studio. Make sure you understand all the business aspects such as liability insurance, taxes and hiring employees, before you dive in and make an investment in a Pilates business.

Becoming a Pilates instructor is within reach. You must have a passion for the practice, a desire to work with and help people and the time to take a certification course. Once you do, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with an exciting and rewarding career in Pilates.

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