The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pilates Instructor

So, you want to be a Pilates instructor, huh?

First of all, we’ll be the first to say you’re making a dang good career choice—no matter what sort of fitness training background you’re coming from. Pilates is an amazing addition to any personal trainer’s fitness repertoire for a lot of reasons. Not only is Pilates a great way to help your clients strengthen and tone their muscles, lose weight, and develop a stronger core, but it’s also an exceptional form of exercise that helps to adjust posture, reduce the risk of injury, and promote a stronger body and mind connection.

And adding Pilates into your personal training repertoire doesn’t just have physical and mental benefits for your clients—it’s also a pretty great way to boost your business and pad your profits!

Pilates is one of the fastest-growing exercises in the United States. With about 8.6 million people who participate in Pilates, it’s obvious there’s a growing need for professional, informed, and licensed instructors to take them to the next Pilates level.

But you’re not reading this for the why part of becoming a Pilates instructor. In fact, we really probably don’t need to sell you on becoming a Pilates instructor in the first place—that’s not what you’re here for.

No, you’re here for the biggest question of all, the one thing standing in the way of you becoming the ultimate Pilates instructor. How the heck do you do it?

If you’re sitting there wondering how to become a Pilates instructor, where to start, or are looking for a 101-style guide covering all of the very basic first steps, then you’re in the right place. We put together this step-by-step guide to help you cover all your bases and get your Pilates biz on the up on and up fast (and correctly)!

How to Become a Pilates Instructor

Before you can truly dive into a career in Pilates, it’s vital that you evaluate your goals, your mission, and the overall journey you want your career as a Pilates instructor will take. It can help to ask yourself a few important questions before truly deciding how to go about your Pilates instructor path.

First Things First—Ask Yourself a Few Important Questions

Before you can start building a business and crafting your career as a Pilates instructor, it’s vital that you really pin down what you’re trying to do, why you’re trying to do it, and who you’re trying to do it for. The best way to determine that? Ask yourself really important questions (and answer them honestly!)

Ask yourself things like, “am I looking to teach one-on-one, or am I more interested in group classes?” or “will I teach online? In a gym? At a studio?” or “am I hoping to teach advanced Pilates? Beginners classes? Something for everyone?”

The sooner you start answering questions like these and narrowing your scope, the sooner you’ll be able to begin transforming yourself into the Pilates instructor you’re dreaming of being.

Pick Your Poison

Pilates isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of exercise. There are quite a few different options for becoming a Pilates instructor, and the type of instructor you want to become will determine the type of training you need to endure.

There are quite a few different types of Pilates, and we won’t go into every last one, but we will cover the bases on the three most popular:

  • Mat instructor
  • Reformer instructor
  • Comprehensive instructor

Our suggestion? Take a look into each type and ask yourself which type of Pilates you’d most like to teach. Then you can start diverging on the right path for your Pilates training. 

Put in the Work & Study Up

Take classes, read books, study hard, apprentice with a Pilates instructor you truly respect. Practice, practice, practice. Without the knowledge, the expertise, the know-how, and the will to learn, your career as a Pilates instructor could be short-lived! To be a respected, professional Pilates trainer, you’ll need to be licensed (we’ll talk about that more in a moment). This typically requires Pilates training programs and an exam, too. A typical training program likely involves a minimum of about 450 hours broken up into class time, observation, and apprentice teaching. This can take a while, but we’ll tell you the truth—it’s worth it. Putting in the work, determination, and the hours will make you a better, more dedicated teacher that people will flock to.

Licensing is Everything (Training Helps, Too)

If you’re looking to be taken seriously as a Pilates instructor, we have just two vital words for you—get licensed.

No, we’re not going to lie to you and tell you that it’s always legally required, but we aren’t going to beat around the bush either, people are going to trust you more if you have a license and have been specifically trained to teach Pilates. There’s truly no downside to becoming a licensed Pilates instructor—sure, it’ll take time and hard work, but if you were planning on teaching Pilates anyway, you’d have to learn everything on your own. Getting licensed is a sure-fire step for providing yourself with the credibility, reliability, and professionalism that people are seeking when they look for a Pilates instructor.

Find Your Niche

Sure, you’ve got the right idea about the type of Pilates coach you want to be and the demographics on the clients you want to attract. But do you have a niche? One can argue that Pilates is a niche of its own, right? But, if you’re looking for something even more specific—say, you want to be an online Pilates instructor—you’ll need to identify that niche and build your business with that in mind. Without this step, you’ll miss out on clearly defining what you’re about, who you’re trying to attract, and how to reach your ultimate goals.

Insurance or Bust

You’re probably thinking “well, of course the insurance group wants me to get insured—that’s what they’re selling.” And you know, we can’t help but admit that we probably seem like we have an obvious bias—but here’s the deal, insurance, no matter who you buy it from, is going to be beneficial for you. As a professional, you should have Pilates instructor liability insurance to protect your career.

Without professional liability insurance, you could be held accountable and liable for injuries, damages, illnesses, and more that could possibly arise during your services. We’re not saying that you’re negligent or that you’re not a professional who knows what they’re doing, but we are saying that accidents happen, and worse, some people will try to accuse you of accidents that don’t actually happen. Ensuring that you’re properly covered is a hugely important safeguard that every personal trainer should have on lock, Pilates instructors included.

Build Your Business & Continue Your Education (Always)

You’ve got all the tools in place to start your Pilates instructor career—now it’s just about building your business. Whether you’re starting from scratch and this Pilates gig is your first real shot at being a trainer or you’ve been training for years and you’ve just brought this new challenge into your life, it’s vital that you think of it as an opportunity and a new beginning. You’ll need to evaluate (or reevaluate) how to brand, market, and sell your Pilates services to your designated market.

Looking for other ways you can grow and expand your burgeoning personal fitness business? Keep up with our blog! The Insure Fitness Blog is regularly updated with tips, tricks, advice, and insight on how you can ensure your personal training business is thriving! We’ve built a community of trainers on our site to help provide you with the answers you’re looking for (even for the questions you didn’t even know you had!) Subscribe to our blog to keep up with us!

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