FAQ: How Long Does It Take To Become a Pilates Instructor?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Pilates instructors teach an individual or group of people a type of exercise known as Pilates, which focuses on balance, stability, core strength and muscular endurance. To become a Pilates instructor, you're required to complete Pilates training and earn your certification. If you're interested in becoming a Pilates instructor, knowing how long it takes to pursue this career can help you make a well-informed career decision. In this article, we explain how long it takes to become a Pilates instructor, list the steps for pursuing this career and review the job's required skills, salary and job outlook.

Related: Learn About Being a Personal Trainer

How long does it take to become a Pilates instructor?

It can take anywhere from seven to 24 months to become a Pilates instructor, from the start of a training program to the final exam. Though, the length of your training depends on your individual circumstances.

When prospective Pilates instructors balance their training with other obligations, such as a full-time job, it may take them longer to complete the program. While completing your Pilates training at a quicker pace lets you start your career sooner, extending your training can provide you with a stronger knowledge base for this profession.

How can you become a Pilates instructor?

If you're interested in becoming a Pilates instructor, you're required to meet certain qualifications. Typically, the stronger your background and qualifications, the greater chance you have of getting a job as a Pilates instructor. Use these steps to become a Pilates instructor:

1. Take Pilates classes

Gain Pilates experience through classes, private lessons or online instruction. The classes you take can provide you with the experience and knowledge to succeed as a Pilates instructor. Consider taking classes from different studios to gain a well-rounded education. You can also read about Pilates and watch videos to learn different techniques you can use in your own teachings.

As you take Pilates classes, ask your instructors about their own career paths. They may provide advice to help you make the most of your training. Your Pilates instructors may also recommend training programs in your area that you can pursue.

2. Complete a training program

Research Pilates training programs in your area and enroll in one that piques your interest. In addition, consider the time you can devote to a training program and the program's cost. While some Pilates training programs involve a comprehensive course that covers all equipment pieces, others solely focus on each equipment piece individually.

Here are some curriculum topics you may encounter during your training:

  • Origins and evolution of Pilates

  • Basic principles and applications of Pilates

  • Basic Pilates mat exercises

  • How to use Pilates to help with injuries and disorders

  • Implementation of best practices, resources and equipment

Related: What Does a Fitness Instructor Do?

3. Pass the certification exam

Once you complete your training, prepare to take a nationally recognized certification exam. For example, the National Pilates Certification Program helps Pilates teachers achieve professional standards. This program awards you the title of a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher by the program's end.

4. Find employment as a Pilates teacher

Think of where you want to work after you earn your certification or while you complete your training. As a Pilates instructor, you can find employment at various locations such as dance studios, local gyms, fitness centers, health clubs, community or senior centers or dedicated Pilates studios. Consider the employer that makes the most sense for you or which you can see yourself working for the most.

5. Pursue continuing education

Pursuing continuing education and re-certification may impress your clients, employer and your students. For example, continuously looking for ways to improve in your career shows employers the dedication and passion you have for your job.

Even if you're already a certified Pilates instructor, it's important to get re-certified so you can maintain your credentials. Pursuing additional education also helps you stay up-to-date with Pilates techniques and exercises. This ensures your students get the best Pilates education and instruction.

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What skills do Pilates instructors require?

Pilates instructors require a variety of technical and soft skills to perform their job duties. Here are some skills and characteristics that benefit Pilates instructors:

  • Passion for physical fitness: As a Pilates instructor, it's important to enjoy physical fitness and to express this joy throughout your teachings. Your passion for staying active can help motivate others to want to learn more about this fitness program.

  • Technical knowledge of equipment and exercises: Understanding how certain equipment pieces work and how to perform Pilates exercises ensures you're accurately teaching this type of exercise to your students.

  • Interpersonal skills: As a Pilates instructor, it's important to have a friendly personality and strong communication skills. Pilates instructors use their interpersonal skills to interact with students and groups of people during every class.

  • Motivational skills: Pilates instructors use their motivational skills to help people achieve their fitness goals through this fitness program. When you motivate and support your students, they're more likely to succeed.

Related: Skills of a Personal Trainer: Definition and Examples

What's the salary and job outlook for a Pilates instructor?

Pilates instructors make a national average salary of $80,032 per year. Your salary in this profession may vary based on your expertise, employer, certifications, specializations and geographic location. Additional training as a Pilates instructor may even help you achieve a greater earning potential.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't report employment data for Pilates instructors, in particular, it has data for general fitness trainers and instructors. Per the BLS, fitness trainers and instructors can expect an employment growth of 39% from 2020 to 2030, a rate much faster than the average for all other jobs in the workforce. The BLS also reports about 69,100 job openings for these professions each year from 2020 to 2030.

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