CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 02, 2014
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How to Become a Pilates Teacher

pilates instructor

Pilates is a physical fitness system that focuses on helping participants to improve their body posture, balance and strength. Pilates teachers, also known as Pilates instructors, commonly work in fitness centers where they teach clients to effectively perform various Pilates exercises. If you are a strong motivator with an interest in exercise and fitness, this is a career you could enjoy.

The Work

The day-to-day duties of Pilates teachers include;

  • Instructing clients individually or in groups – they usually begin with simpler exercises to help clients establish good movement skills, which will be essential when performing complex exercises.
  • Demonstrating how to perform exercises on mats, as well as use specialist training equipment, such as Bridge Pilates
  • Designing exercise sequences that can meet the fitness needs of clients
  • Keeping records of clients’ progress
  • Practicing regularly to maintain a high level of physical fitness

The Pilates fitness system is based on the following principles;

  • Concentration
  • Flowing movement
  • Precision
  • Control
  • Centering
  • Breathing

Work Environment

The number of hours Pilates teachers work in a day depends on their clients’ schedules. Nonetheless, they mostly work in the evenings and weekends. Sessions often last 45 to 90 minutes.

Pilates teachers work in a relaxed atmosphere and wear training attire when instructing clients. Freelance teachers often travel between various fitness clubs or wellness centers.

Salary

Because most Pilate teachers are self-employed, the amount of money they make varies with the number of clients. On average, they usually charge £20 to £50 an hour for individual sessions and £5 to £12 an hour for group sessions. The following table provides annual salaries for experienced self-employed Pilates teachers and full-time teachers working for large gym chains.

Job position

Annual Pay

Teachers working for large gyms

£12,000 – £18,000

Experienced Pilates teachers

£25,000 – £40,000

Source: National Careers Service

Entry Requirements

To become a Pilates teacher, you must have a good level of physical fitness, a background in teaching exercise, a record of attending Pilates exercises and a professional qualification, such as;

  • Level 3 Diploma in Mat Plates
  • NVQ Level 3 in the Complete Pilates Method
  • NVQ Level 3 Pilates Matwork

If you are looking to become a Pilates teacher but lack teaching experience, you can pursue an access course, such as the Level 1 Pilates certification that focuses on the foundational principles of Pilates.

After obtaining a Level 3 qualification, you can apply to join the Register of Exercise Professionals to improve your employment prospects.

Lastly, you will need to secure an insurance cover before getting started in Pilates teaching. You can do so through an insurance broker or REPs.

Important Skills and Abilities

To perform your duties competently you will need;

  • Good communication skills
  • Good knowledge of the human anatomy
  • Entrepreneurship skills to market and manage your business
  • Patience, care and compassion
  • Good instructional skills

Career Development

To improve your expertise and your ability to attract more clients you can;

  • Pursue additional courses specializing in specific areas, such as Pilates for pregnant women or Pilates for adults
  • Pursue professional development courses offered by Body Control Pilates
  • Become a member of the Pilates Foundation - it provides career progression resources
  • Renew your registration with REPs.

Employment Opportunities

Although most Pilates teachers are self-employed, you can find employment opportunities in;

  • Fitness clubs
  • Spas
  • Schools
  • Physical therapy facilities
  • Yoga studios

With more experience and advanced qualifications, you can become a teacher in training schools, where your job would be to instruct aspiring Pilates teachers. You can also move into related careers, such as circus performing or dancing.

Useful Links

Success Tip

To succeed as a Pilates teacher, it is crucial to work on developing a good reputation. Use your interpersonal skills to develop close relationships with your clients. As your reputation grows, more and more clients will be looking for your services.

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