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Salary and Career Info for Pilates Instructors

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a pilates instructor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Working as a Pilates instructor may be a good career choice if you are interested in becoming an expert in a particular method of fitness and enjoy teaching. Pilates instructors can seek out a voluntary certification to make them more attractive to clients or potential employers, such as health clubs or fitness studios.

Essential Information

Pilates instructors are fitness instructors who teach the Pilates method, a program designed to strengthen and balance the body and mind. An instructor can choose to work one-on-one with clients or provide group instruction in a variety of fitness settings. The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) offers the Certified Pilates Teacher (CPT) designation, which is increasingly required - or at least preferred - by employers. To become a CPT, a candidate must complete pilates teacher training from a program or school that meets the PMA's criteria. Alternately, some Pilates instructors may be trained on-the-job.

Required Education Pilates instructor training or on-the-job training
Certification CPT credential may be required or preferred, depending on the employer
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all fitness trainers and instructors*
Median Salary (2016) $29 per hour for Pilates instructors**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Pilates Instructors Career Information

Pilates is a comprehensive fitness method developed by Joseph Pilates around 1914 that involves regimented, repetitive body movement and breath-work to promote core strength, flexibility and physical and mental balance. A Pilates instructor may instruct students on the mat, using the weight of their own bodies as resistance, or on a series of machines. A popular piece of equipment known as the 'Reformer,' uses a series of springs, straps and supports to create further resistance.

Employment Options for Pilates Instructors

Due to the growing popularity of Pilates over the last decade, instructors can choose from a wide variety of employment options. They may conduct group classes in a health club, wellness center or resort setting, or they may provide personal training in clients' homes. Pilates instruction may supplement more traditional physical training regiments employed by professional sports, dance performance and physical rehabilitation organizations. While some of these newer employment options may require more extensive formal education and training, specifically in the physical therapy and sports medicine industries, they might also allow for a significant increase in earning potential.

Pilates Instructor Certification

Employers do not always require that Pilates instructors be certified - many health clubs and studios provide their own training. However, due to the complexity of the Pilates technique and its inherent potential for injury, particularly when machines are involved, the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) was formed in 2001 to help regulate and ensure safety and professionalism within the industry.

In 2005, the PMA developed a professional certification exam that requires prospective certified instructors to complete either 720 hours of Pilates employment or a 450-hour teacher training program before they can sit for the exam. Once an instructor is certified, he or she must participate in 16 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain certification according to the PMA requirements. As the practice of Pilates becomes more widespread, an increasing number of employers may require that their instructors be certified.

Pilates Instructors Salary Information

Most Pilates instructors are employed on an hourly, part-time basis. According to PayScale.com, as of January 2016, the median hourly salary for Pilates instructors was $29. Most Pilates instructors wound up earning from $31,162 to $101,185 annually at that time, including bonuses and profit sharing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that employment for fitness trainers and instructors in general, including Pilates instructors, was expected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024 due to rising national health and fitness awareness (www.bls.gov).

Pilates instructors work in a variety of settings to teach Pilates, which is a fitness program that develops both the body and mind. Due to the recent rise in popularity of Pilates, certification by the Pilates Method Alliance is increasingly required or preferred by employers.

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