Teaching Pilates is a rewarding and enriching profession that helps you improve your own physical and mental health as well as those of others. It’s also a great opportunity to earn a surprisingly high salary, especially as you gain experience and expertise. One of the best ways to increase your potential as a Pilates instructor is to become certified.
How Much Does Pilates Certification Cost?
While many different certifications can be valuable, where you should get certified depends on your goals as an instructor. If you’ll be content to simply teach a class at the local gym, you’ll likely get everything you need out of a mat certification. On the other hand, if you’re planning to open a studio or work full-time, you should consider a comprehensive certification, which covers all Pilates machines.
Standard mat certification is typically between $100 and $300 and takes roughly 40 to 50 hours to be completed. You’ll learn the main mat movements and their modifications. At the end, you’ll have to take a written test and demonstrate your new skills to become certified.
If you’re interested in a comprehensive certification, you should be prepared to spend more time and money. This can run up to $3,000 (or beyond) and roughly 10 times longer than mat training, at approximately 500 hours.
Since it allows you to teach a wider range of classes and charge higher rates, comprehensive certification is a great investment for someone looking to turn teaching into a career. If you have sticker shock, keep in mind that many of these programs will have payment plans available.
It’s common for certification programs to involve student teaching or demonstrations. Before you’re able to teach in a studio, however, you’ll need to get Pilates Instructor insurance, which generally costs between $500 and $1,000 a year depending on the specific plan. It will protect you from litigation and settlements in case of injuries or other issues that occur while you’re teaching.
More Varieties of Pilates Certification Programs
Within the category of comprehensive certification, there is a wide range of class types that focus on different types and aspects of Pilates. The main distinction is between classical programs-which attempt to pass on Joseph Pilates’ teachings-and contemporary ones, which add modern movements and modifications to the program.
There are many factors to consider as you decide on a certification program, including your schedule and any prerequisites for each course. If you’re unsure or need direction, talk to an instructor you know about the programs available in your area. Having gone through the process already, they’ll likely have valuable knowledge and advice to share.
These are currently some of the most popular certification programs:
For certification generally, you should keep these factors in mind as indicative of a high-quality comprehensive certification:
- It should involve roughly 500 hours of instruction, if not more.
- Most programs involve months of classes, if not a full year.
- The Pilates Method Alliance recognizes most reputable programs.
Pilates Method Alliance Certification and Further Training
While comprehensive certification is certainly valuable, it doesn’t have to be your last program. The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) offers their own certification exam. It’s common for instructors to spend a significant amount of time teaching before they consider preparing for the test.
The online test requires a $295 fee and can only be taken at designated places and at certain times and dates. Following a successful exam, you’ll need to stay involved with continuing education and renew your certification every two years. Renewal costs $150, while ongoing classes range from roughly $150 to $500 (which is typically tax-deductible).
Beyond PMA certification and education, advanced instructors can also pursue specialized training in a specific area, which can significantly increase your earnings potential.
Some common specializations include:
- spine care
- cancer survivorship
- orthopedic concerns
- athletic performance
I’m Certified-What’s Next?
Once you’re certified as a Pilates instructor, the final thing you need is Professional Liability Insurance, which is mandatory for teaching in a majority of studios. This will protect you and your business from any litigation related to malpractice.
A small premium, typically only a few dollars each day, can end up saving thousands or even millions of dollars in the event something goes wrong. Accidents happen to even the best of instructors, so insurance is simply a smart investment even aside from the requirement of studios.
In case of litigation, your insurance plan will pay out the legal fees in addition to any settlements or verdicts, saving you from what can be substantial costs. As a business expense, your premium can be deducted from your taxes just like continuing education.
Pilates is a great career option for a variety of reasons. Many new instructors get involved as a way to stay in shape and help others do the same, but they often aren’t aware of the financial opportunities available to teachers. Getting certification and liability insurance are great ways to turn teaching Pilates into a sustainable career.
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By Pavel Yurkov
who is the VP Technology and Product Management at BizInsure.