Pilates Teacher Training and Education Requirements

The training to become a Pilates teacher may occur through basic and advanced certificate programs. A number of programs also prepare students for certification, which may be beneficial for their career prospects.

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Essential Information

Certificate programs are usually offered by community colleges or through recreational departments in state universities and can be credit or non-credit based. There are usually two kinds of certificates a student may earn. The first certificate deals with basic Pilates mat instruction and the second is more comprehensive, covering mat exercises and common Pilates equipment. While experience in teaching Pilates is desired, it may not be required to enroll in these programs.

Some certificate programs prepare students for a national certification exam through the Pilates Method Alliance organization, a non-profit association focused on the educational standards and growth of Pilates fitness training. Students should check with their school as to whether these programs prepare them for certification exams.

Basic Pilates Mat Instruction Certificate

Mat instructor training includes learning about the history of Pilates, its effects on the body and the specific principles of Pilates routines. Courses may include:

  • First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Pilates safety
  • Pilates terminology
  • Order and modification of exercises
  • Basic anatomy and physiology
  • Communication techniques
  • Educational ethics

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Advanced Pilates Mat Instruction Certificate

The certificate program for becoming a comprehensive Pilates instructor involves teaching exercises using mats, reformer machines and other apparatuses. To maintain safety while teaching a class, students are taught how to modify moves and to perform exercises in proper order. Coursework may involve:

  • CPR training and exercise safety guidelines
  • Pilates and specific human anatomy
  • History of Pilates
  • Beginning, intermediate and advanced mat exercises
  • Reformer and Apparatus Pilates equipment and exercises
  • Creating a routine

Employment Outlook

A Pilates instructor is categorized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as a fitness trainer or instructor (www.bls.gov). Part-time employment is common for fitness workers like Pilates instructors. The median annual wage for fitness trainers in May 2015 was listed as $36,160 by the BLS. Fitness trainer and instructor positions are expected to increase by 8 percent, as fast as the national average for all professions from 2014 to 2024. The expected job growth in the fitness training industry is due to the increasing number of people spending their time and money to become physically fit.

Through different practical courses, a certificate program in Pilates prepares students to eventually become instructors. These professionals in the health and fitness field, including Pilates instructors, can expect a robust job growth for the next coming decade.

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