Pilates is a popular way to get and stay in shape. Part of its appeal is that you need minimal equipment, but the workouts themselves are both challenging and fun. Instructors are the backbone of this form of exercise. As interest in health and fitness continues to grow, demand for Pilates instructors will also continue to grow.
If you enjoy Pilates and would love to become an instructor, you may be wondering how much you can earn and what type of training you will need. Let’s explore this career path.
Pilates Instructors Training
To work as a Pilates instructor, you will need formal training and, depending on the employer, certifications.
Typically, becoming an instructor can take anywhere from 7-24 months.
Experience and Training
If you’re considering a career as a Pilates instructor, a great place to start is by taking classes. Gain as much first-hand experience as possible with this form of exercise.
- Take local classes
- Try private lessons
- Check out online classes
Consider where you may want to teach, too. Are there opportunities locally, or will you need to relocate?
The next step is to find a Pilates instructor program and enroll. Programs may be:
- Comprehensive, meaning that they cover all pieces of equipment.
- A la carte, meaning that they cover one piece of equipment at a time.
A comprehensive course is ideal, as it covers all of the equipment covered in the exam.
Pilates Teacher Certifications
Once you’ve completed your coursework, you will need to take the certification exam. Training programs are designed to prepare you for the exam, which is given by the National Pilates Certification Program, or NPCP.
In order to be eligible for the exam, you must have completed at least 450 hours of training that covers mat and apparatuses, including:
- Trapeze table
- Wunda chair
- Magic circle
- Ladder barrel
- Spine corrector
You can submit your application to take the exam online. The test consists of 125 multiple choice questions, and you will have 3 hours to complete it.
If your goal is to get hired at a studio or fitness center, you will likely need to be certified. Most studios require 450 hours of training and certification to even be considered for a position.
Training to become a Pilates instructor is an investment, but it’s one that pays off and will be significantly lower than a traditional college degree.
- Comprehensive programs can cost $5,000 or more on average.
- The certification exam also costs $295 and will cover two years of certification.
- Re-certification will require continued education. The NPCP requires that instructors earn 16 CECs to renew their certification.
What Skills Do Pilates Instructors Need?
Along with their course training, Pilates instructors also need the following skills to succeed in their careers:
- Interpersonal skills: Pilates instructors work with individuals and classes, so it’s important to have strong communication skills and a friendly personality.
- Motivational skills: As a fitness instructor, your students look to you for motivation – that extra push to help them reach their goals.
- Organizational skills: Like any other teaching profession, Pilates instructors must be organized. From client appointments to class content, instructors must be able to keep track of who and what they’re teaching.
Technical skills are also important, but you will gain these from your training program.
How Much Can You Earn Teaching Pilates?
Once you’ve completed your training and earned your certification, you’re ready to start working as a Pilates instructor. But how much can you expect to earn?
The answer will depend on whether you’ll be working for yourself or for a studio. Some Pilates instructors offer private instruction, while others teach classes at Pilates studios and fitness centers.
Average Pilates Instructor Salary
According to Glassdoor.com, Pilates instructors earn an average salary of:
That figure includes a base pay of $45,247 per year and $15,661 in additional pay.
Looking at current job listings for Pilates instructors, we found the following pay rates:
- $46/hour at Club Pilates
- $43/hour at Equinox
- $31/hour at Life Time
- $45/hour at New York Pilates
- $28/hour at YMCA
- $52/hour at Venture Fit
As you can see, the hourly wage for instructors varies greatly and will be dependent on a few things, such as your:
- Experience level
Instructors with 5+ years of experience will earn a higher hourly rate than instructors with just a year of experience.
Location will also factor into your earnings. Some of the highest paying cities for Pilates instructors are:
- San Mateo, CA: $85,730/year
- Daly City, CA: $84,287
- Berkeley, CA: $84,240
- Green River, WY: $82,289
- Irvine, CA: $81,808
Pilates instructors earn above-average salaries and if you’re fortunate enough to work for a studio, you’ll enjoy health benefits and potentially retirement benefits.
How to Increase Your Earnings as a Pilates Instructor
Salaries for Pilates instructors are generally higher than the national average, but there are still ways to increase your earnings. Here are some simple ways to boost your earnings as a Pilates instructor, whether you want to work for a studio or as a private instructor.
One of the best ways to boost your earnings is to specialize. Many aspiring instructors don’t realize that there are many options for specializations in this field, including:
- Pre- and post-natal Pilates
- Pilates for athletes (and even specific sports, such as golfers, tennis players or runners)
- Pilates for seniors
- Pilates for those who are recovering from injuries
- Pilates for arthritis or joint pain
- Reformer Pilates instructors
Pilates instructors with specializations can earn a higher salary because they have the expertise needed to address specific needs.
Offer Private Instruction or Workshops
Another great way to boost your earnings as a Pilates instructor is to offer private instruction or workshops. These are great opportunities to work one-on-one with students and share your knowledge.
As a private instructor, you’re free to set your own hourly rate and schedule, which can be very appealing for those who want freedom and autonomy in their careers.
Pilates instructors have many options for growth in their field, and demand for their skills will continue to rise in the coming years.