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Yoga Instructor: Salary Info, Education Requirements and Career Info

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

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If you're thinking about a career as a yoga instructor, you will need to complete a training program. Specialization in the field is available, by style of yoga or by the particular group of people you are interested in serving. As a yoga instructor, you can work in a fitness center, yoga studio, or privately with clients.

Essential Information

Yoga instructors are fitness professionals who teach yoga, the low-impact exercise that uses controlled postures and breathing techniques to improve flexibility and strength. To become a yoga instructor, in any style, comprehensive and specialized training is required. All yoga instructors must complete a training program in yoga and, within the field, have the option of specializing in a particular discipline.

Required Education Completion of a vocational training or certificate program in yoga instruction; bachelor's degrees in fitness are available, but do not substitute for training in yoga instruction
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all fitness trainers and instructors*
Median Salary (2015) $36,160 for all fitness trainers and aerobic instructors*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Info for Yoga Instructors

A yoga instructor has been trained in specific yoga techniques and philosophies in order to teach yoga to groups or in one-on-one settings. Yoga for physical fitness can tone and sculpt the body and lower mental stress. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness trainers, including yoga instructors, earned a median annual salary of $36,160 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

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Yoga Instructor Education Requirements

Completing a specialized training or certificate program is required to teach yoga. Teacher-training programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to over two years, depending on the style of yoga and the rigor of the coursework. They are all physically demanding and require some personal yoga experience. For example, the Iyengar style requires certification after training and one year's experience. Prospective yoga teachers select training programs offering the style they would like to teach.

A widely accepted teacher-training path is the 200-hour option developed and accredited by the Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org). Graduates are eligible to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. In this program, available at many different schools, the student will study and extensively practice:

  • Traditional yoga techniques
  • Teaching methods
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Yoga philosophy and history

A bachelor's degree in a related health and fitness field might also be beneficial; the BLS reported that as of 2015, fitness employers are increasingly preferring to hire workers with this foundational knowledge.

Career Info

Once trained, the graduate has a few career options. Many yoga instructors identify a specific population group they would like to work with, like children, seniors or pregnant women. Some teach yoga as a therapeutic treatment to help with health conditions including anxiety or stress, asthma and depression.

Yoga instructors may look for employment in general fitness centers, yoga studios, or seek their own clients through self-employment. As of 2015, the job outlook for fitness trainers, including yoga instructors, was good; the BLS predicted that yoga use in America will continue to increase, especially for seniors requiring low-impact exercise.

Yoga instructors can use yoga as a form of fitness or therapeutic treatment with their clients. Training programs for yoga instructors are physically demanding, and include teaching methods, yoga techniques, philosophy and history of yoga, and anatomy. Demand for fitness trainers and instructors, including yoga instructors, is expected to grow as fast as the average rate for all occupations, at 8% through the year 2024, and the median salary in this profession was around $36,000 in 2015.

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