Holistic Fitness Certification and Education Options

Community colleges and private institutions offer courses or certificate programs dealing with holistic fitness. Successful completion of these educational programs leads to teaching certifications.

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Essential Information

Pilates programs consist of hands-on instruction in fundamental exercises and consultation procedures. Tai chi students learn relaxation, meditation, and martial arts techniques. Yoga programs emphasize flexibility and posture, while teaching students to increase upper body strength. Graduates demonstrate their proficiency by passing specific certification examinations. Some certificate programs include educational and CPR certifications among admissions prerequisites.

Students should have an interest in fitness and complete the school's enrollment application for Pilates instructor certification. For Tai Chi instructor certification, students should be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate. Some schools require applicants to submit an essay, letters of recommendation, and self-photographs. Applicants also need to participate in an interview. Yoga instructor certification programs are open to everyone despite previous teaching or fitness experience.


Pilates Instructor Certificate

In preparation for a career teaching Pilates, this program teaches how to be more content and achieve physical and mental balance. The Pilates instructor program includes fundamental and advanced courses, as well as a teaching and observation stage. Individuals with extensive fitness experience may be exempt from satisfying the program's observation requirements.

Students receive hands-on Pilates mat training through various exercises, and observing and assisting instructors with practices. They learn how to consult with clients and implement isometrics. Some colleges also require students to pass courses in CPR/First Aid and human biology. Other topics include:

  • Health and safety interests
  • Mat exercises
  • Philosophies of Pilates
  • Pilates essentials
  • Postural awareness
  • Structure and composition of the human body

Tai Chi Instructor Certificate

Tai chi involves slow stretches and movements to enhance mental relaxation and clarity. This form of holistic fitness is combined with ancient Chinese martial arts. Certificate programs teach self-protection, healthiness, and self-control.

Throughout the program, students learn ancient practices of tai chi exercises. They acquire skills and knowledge in controlled bodily movements and learn spiritual techniques. Studies also include major organs and functions of the human body. Courses include:

  • Exploring inner and outer strengths
  • Hand and step exercises
  • Meditation techniques
  • Sword systems
  • Techniques in breathing and moving

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Yoga Instructor Certificate

Yoga certificate programs supply students with guidance and instruction in fitness emphasizing detailed body activities, while increasing flexibility, posture, and upper body strength. Instructor certificate programs include general education and elective classes in addition to core content. A practicum, which includes teaching and observation, is required.

Through coursework, students gain skills and abilities to become competent yoga teachers. Yoga certificate programs offer training in the beliefs, philosophies, and traditions of yoga. Students also learn the composition and structure of the human body, approaches in teaching procedures, and familiarity while preparing for a career in instructing. Courses include:

  • Basics of yoga
  • Beliefs and customs of yoga
  • Composition and structure of the human body
  • Elongating, postural and alignment
  • Systems of yoga
  • Techniques in therapy, meditation and relaxing

Popular Career Options

Pilates teachers are employed by numerous types of companies and organizations. Possible careers for those holding teaching certificates may include:

  • Group Pilates instructor
  • Pilates director
  • Pilates personal trainer

Graduates of yoga programs may choose to work as fitness instructors both privately or in a group setting. They can expand their career and may find job opportunities as:

  • Country club yoga instructor
  • Health club yoga trainer
  • Private studio yoga teacher
  • Resort yoga teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness trainers and aerobics instructor jobs were expected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). May 2015 reports presented by the BLS showed the average annual salary for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors was $40,970.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information

Upon completion of a Pilates teacher-training program, graduates can pursue professional certification. The Pilates Method Alliance offers the Certified Pilates Teacher designation. Before taking the written exam, candidates must have completed at least 450 hours of Pilates teacher training or 720 hours of documented work experience within the last 12 months.

The American Tai Chi and Qigong Association is an accreditation agency for instructors, practitioners and schools who specialize in tai chi and qigong. The organization offers three levels of tai chi teacher certification based on training and work experience. Renewal occurs every two years and requires continuing education of at least ten hours per year and 100 hours of tai chi teaching annually.

Graduates of Yoga Alliance approved programs can submit their certificate to the Yoga Alliance and become a Registered Yoga Teacher. This designation requires at least 100 hours of yoga teaching experience. The credential expires every three years and requires proof of continuing education for renewal.

Students interested in holistic fitness certification can choose from a pilates instructor, tai chi instructor and yoga instructor certifications. Graduates often go on to teaching positions in country clubs, health clubs and private resorts.

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