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Pilates Teacher Training

Pilates is a form of resistance training that originated in Germany. Joseph Pilates created it in the 1920s for the purpose of rehabilitation for war soldiers.

Since then, it continues to be used by people around the world due to its extensive benefits. These include increased flexibility, strength, and concentration. In recent years, Pilates has become one of the most well-known and popular forms of exercise and is now the choice of training for numerous celebrities, including Madonna, Russel Brand, Kate Hudson, and many others.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, society has needed to find a different form of exercise that is accessible from home and requires minimal equipment. Pilates is just that - all you need is a mat and a screen to access pilates videos. These fitness classes provide great exercises for getting into shape. The pilates industry has never been as popular as it is now, and with this increased following has come a surge in demand for pilates instructors.

With a strong need for pilates fitness teachers, many people are making a career change to the teaching practice. The first step in this career is pilates instructor training. It will be a major commitment mentally, physically, financially, and time-wise. However, if you dedicate yourself to the practice, it will pay off. Continue reading to learn more about pilates teacher training and what to expect on your journey as you embark upon a teacher training certification program.

What To Keep In Mind Before Registering

Many training programs will ask you to meet specific requirements before registering for the course. This often includes movement experience in sports, dance, or yoga. Some will ask students to take a certain number of private classes with an instructor involved in the training program. We suggest reaching out to a local yoga instructor with whom you have taken pilates classes to get their recommendation on programs in your area.

Suppose you would like to work for a studio in your area. In that case, it may be worth looking into their teacher training programs as they often hire staff from their graduate groups. This will give you an advantage over other pilates teacher applicants at the studio.

You should also be aware that you will have to keep learning through workshops and classes throughout your career, even after you have your certification. Continuing education will strengthen your knowledge and help further your career. Many instructors' goal once their careers are established is to obtain their Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certification. This alliance governs the world body of pilates. Before registering for any program, be aware that Pilates teacher training is a significant commitment and should be taken seriously.

Types Of Pilates Teacher Certifications

Being a Pilates instructor is a great career choice. It is challenging, constantly evolving, and highly rewarding. The first step is to decide precisely what type of pilates teacher you want to become. For this, you have two options.

The first option is to obtain your mat certification and become a mat instructor. These instructors teach classical Pilates at local gyms. The fitness classes are performed on a mat and have you teach pilates exercises that improve core strength, including planks, helping practitioners build their muscles. Although you can teach Pilates with a mat certification, it will not be easy to make a living through this. However, it is great for a part-time job.

The other option is to obtain your comprehensive certification. A comprehensive program will prepare you to teach students using traditional Pilates equipment, including a chair, trap table, Cadillac, reformer, and more. If your goal is to teach full-time to large groups, in private training sessions, or through personal training, a comprehensive program is the way to go.

What Pilates Teacher Training Program Should You Take

Before you choose the teacher training program that you will register for, you must determine why you want the certification. The answer to this will help you make decisions that narrow your choices, including training, cost, level, and commitment. If your goal is to teach mat classes at a local fitness center, you will not need a comprehensive certification. In contrast, if you plan to turn pilates instruction into a full-time job or to work in a pilates studio setting, you will need your comprehensive certification. Ensure that whatever course you decide to take, you will be obtaining a Pilates certification.

Training programs are often divided into classical pilates and contemporary pilates. Classical Pilates training teaches the original pilates method developed by Joseph Pilates and Clara Pilates. Whereas, contemporary pilates training presents a broad range of exercises with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

The most suitable program will vary depending on your interests and goals. Here is a list of some of the well-known pilates certification programs that are worth looking into:

Stott Pilates

Stott pilates certified instructors are well regarded and recognized throughout the pilates industry, making it a great course. They teach contemporary pilates in essential, intermediate, and advanced levels. It is suitable for beginner or experienced instructors and can help further their careers.

Balanced Body

Balanced Body teaches traditional education from Joseph Pilates, including the repertoire, movement principles, class design and client-specific applications of each exercise. They have many course options, including mat instructor training, reformer instructor training, comprehensive training, or a combination of mat and reformer training. Balanced Body can provide you with all the skills you need to be a good pilates instructor.


This is one of the most comprehensive international Pilates educational programs. It derives from the traditional pilates methods developed by Joseph and Clara Pilates and expands them to include their evolution and interpretation by first-generation Pilates teacher Ron Fletcher.


Basi offers a mat program, comprehensive program, advanced educational studies, and more. Because of the wide range of courses you can take, it is suitable for beginner and advanced Pilates enthusiasts. It will also help ensure that you secure continuing education credits from the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) for participants in these courses. Basi programs are available in more than 30 countries with over 100 locations.


This is one of the newest Pilates instructor programs available. They have both comprehensive Pilates instructor training and mat certification courses. The comprehensive program combines both virtual and in-person training, whereas the mat certification can be completed virtually.

Club Pilates Teacher Training

This is an established comprehensive training program that provides a challenging and nurturing learning environment. The club pilates teacher training will prepare practitioners to become full-time Pilates instructors if they wish. As you learn to master pilates exercises, you will also gain knowledge of applied kinesiology to help students with imbalances or injuries. The course materials are highly accessible through an online portal, allowing you to learn at your own pace.

What To Expect From A Pilates Teacher Training Program

Training programs will have practical work hours. This means hours where you observe and learn exercises in a studio setting. In addition, there will be a schedule for observation, self-practice, practicing teaching, and a final written exam and practical exam. There are two types of pilates certifications you can obtain: a mat certification and a comprehensive certification.

The program will begin with foundational mat work. Some training programs offer a stand-alone mat certification, while others provide comprehensive training. A mat certification requires very little equipment. However, you may be asked to use a prop called a magic circle. This is circular-shaped resistance equipment that provides a variable amount of resistance to challenge practitioners as they perform mat work.

A mat certification course alone will consist of 150 to 180 hours of practice over six to twelve weeks. In addition, many schools will require both a written and practical final exam at the end of the course. You will also complete an apprenticeship, where you will practice teaching pilates under supervision. These additional factors make a pilates mat certification course a longer commitment than yoga. Still, as it is in higher demand, you can expect more pay.

If you are taking a comprehensive training program, the coursework will teach you about pilates using a mat, reformer, Cadillac, chair, ped-o-pul, barrels, and more. Additionally, there will be educational lessons on the human body and modifications for different populations. Whether you are taking a program on mat work alone or a comprehensive course, they will be divided into modules.

A comprehensive course is 500 to 600 hours over six months to one year. Once you have completed the course modules, you will have 12 months to complete your written and practical examination. Once you have passed the course, you will begin an apprenticeship just as you would in a mat certification course. Here, you will practice teaching students. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are many more online options available than with in-person training. However, most will require some in-person training. Online training may not be ideal for all. Still, it has made pilates instructor training more accessible than ever before, as you can participate from anywhere in the world.

Liability Insurance

Once you have completed the Pilates certification program, many studios will require you to obtain your own liability insurance. Whether you own a Pilates studio or work part-time at a local rec-center, this is an essential part of your certification.

Comprehensive pilates insurance will cover commercial general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and contents. Pilates teachers must have this before they practice teaching. It will protect you and the studio you work at from claims that you or the studio caused any physical damage to the practitioner. For a full-time instructor, this typically costs between $500 and $1000 per year. You can obtain this online through many websites, including Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), Idea Fit, Lockton, and others.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is pilates teacher training?

The training is vigorous and can be an important financial commitment, depending on where you are completing your studies and what level of certification you are obtaining. If you only wish to get your mat certification, it can cost as little as $100 to $300.

To become fully trained and receive your comprehensive Pilates certification, you can expect to spend at least $4000. Most programs have payment plans, which allow you to finance your certifications in several intervals. Keep in mind that there may be additional fees, so you must reach out to the pilates program and ask questions before registering.

What is the best pilates teacher training program?

There is no single best pilates program, as the course most suited to you depends on your preferences and goals. Any program that allows you to obtain a comprehensive certification will help you achieve all your pilates teacher goals. It is up to you to determine which one matches your interests the closest.

Many gyms and fitness centers ask for a Level 3 in teacher pilates. More specifically, the YMCA qualification. This may be a good fit if you want to teach part-time in a gym rather than full-time in a studio.

Is Pilates Teacher Training Worth It?

If you love pilates and aspire to grow your knowledge and teach pilates practice yourself, then yes - it is worth it. Becoming a certified Pilates instructor is not easy, and it will be a financial and mental commitment. It will take much hard work and dedication. Therefore, if you are not interested in becoming a teacher and looking to gain more pilates experience, it may not be the right choice for you. You will have to commit yourself to the practice during your free time for up to two years. However, if you are prepared to commit yourself to the course, teaching pilates is a highly rewarding career choice.

How long does it take to train as a Pilates teacher?

To be fully certified with a comprehensive Pilates certification, you will need to take a course that is 500 hours or longer. This will take place in modules and will require anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete. You will need to dedicate yourself to the practice. Therefore, you must make certain that it is the career path for you before you commit yourself to the training. If you are looking for a mat certification, this will take only 150 to 180 hours of training over six to twelve weeks. At the end of both the comprehensive and mat certification courses, there will be a written and practical examination.

Are pilates instructors in demand?

Yes, pilates instructors are in demand throughout North America and Europe. In addition, people who teach pilates often get paid even better wages than a personal trainer or yoga instructor. If you are a full-time instructor, working 25 to 30 hours a week, your salary can be more than $50,000. There has never been a better time to become a pilates professional.

References And Resources

Education | Balanced Body. Balanced Body. (n.d.). https://www.pilates.com/education 
Education programs: Stott PILATES education & EQUIPMENT: MERRITHEW™. Merrithew. (n.d.). https://www.merrithew.com/about/education-programs/stott-pilates 
Johnson, L. (2019, January 30). Life as a Pilates Instructor. Lisa Johnson Fitness. https://www.lisajohnsonfitness.com/life-as-a-pilates-instructor/.
Menzies, R. (2021, February 23). Choosing the Right Teacher Training Program. Pilates Anytime. https://www.pilatesanytime.com/Pilates-Blog/1235/Choosing-the-Right-Teacher-Training-Program.
Program overview. Fletcher Pilates. (2021, April 13). https://www.fletcherpilates.com/teacher-training/program-overview/ 
Teacher training: Become a Certified BASI Instructor. The Pilates Center. (n.d.). https://www.thepilatescenter.net/basi-teacher-training.html.
Teacher Training Program. Club Pilates. (n.d.). https://www.clubpilates.com/education 
25 Impressive Facts About Pilates That You Need To Know! Activif. (2020, February 25). https://www.activif.com/25-impressive-facts-about-pilates-that-you-need-to-know/.

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