How to Get a Pilates Certification

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How to Get a Pilates Certification

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Pilates is one of the top fitness trends globally and has been growing in popularity since the mid-1900s. Because of this steady growth and popularity, Pilates is a great career to get into. So if you’re thinking of becoming a Pilates instructor, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of potential. 

Becoming a Pilates instructor is a commitment that takes both time and money, so you need to be sure about the decision before you jump in. Here are some basic qualities that will help you determine if teaching Pilates is a good fit for you:

  • You enjoy teaching
  • You enjoy speaking in front of large groups
  • You have an interest in exercise science and body mechanics
  • You are self-motivated
  • You are okay with sacrificing job stability for job flexibility

If you agree with the statements above, you’re a great candidate for a Pilates certification. We’ve put together some steps to help you understand the process of getting a Pilates certification.

1. Immerse Yourself in Pilates Classes

The best way to become a good teacher is by learning as much as you can. By taking Pilates classes, you can observe various teaching styles from instructors and learn about your own body in the process. There are a lot of different Pilates classes, so by taking multiple, you can get a feel for what kind of teaching style you prefer. Ask them lots of questions! 

2. Choose Your Path: Mat Certification or Comprehensive Certification

Mat Certification – Basic Pilates instructor training typically available to Pilates students who have demonstrated basic proficiency in their classes. Pilates mat instructor training covers all the basic mat exercises plus ways to modify them. The certification is typically offered as modules over a period of months and can range from $100 to $300. 

Comprehensive Pilates Certification – This is a full certification that qualifies Pilates instruction on equipment, is more of a full-time career and certifies training private clients. There’s typically a pre-requisite of at least a year of Pilates study including a mat instructor certification. These certifications can take over a year to complete and can require many hours in a studio as an apprentice teacher. The cost is at least $3,000 for comprehensive certification. 

3. Select a Certification Program

It’s important to know that Pilates training is not standardized and you should investigate a certifying body before you commit to their program to make sure it meets your standards and needs.

Reputable certification programs should have:

  • Recognition from the Pilates Method Alliance
  • Modules that are scheduled over the course of months
  • For comprehensive certification– 500 hours or more of training and student teaching

Here are several examples of reputable Pilates certifying organizations:

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4. Complete your Certification

A mat certification will take a few months and a comprehensive certification can take 12 months or more. Many programs allow flexibility in completing the program so you can make it work with your schedule. To test out of the certification typically means a written test and a practical teaching assessment.

5. Purchase Liability Insurance

After you’re certified, it’s important to purchase liability insurance– most studios require you to have it in order to teach there. Commercial general liability insurance covers you from third-party injury claims and professional liability insurance covers you from injury claims that clients might incur while training with you. If you have a comprehensive certification and work with Pilates equipment, you should also purchase product liability insurance. You can find these online through the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), which is the governing body for the Pilates industry.

6. Pursue Continuing Education & the PMA Certification

Although Pilates instruction is an unregulated industry, it’s important to stay up to date with your training and credentials to give you reputability with your clients and employers as a Pilates instructor. After some experience in the field teaching as a certified instructor, you should consider becoming certified by the PMA– it’s highly recommended to take this exam as an instructor. It’s also recommended to take continuing education Pilates courses so you can stay up to date on Pilates trends and best practice. This will help you stay reputable, professional, and improve your expertise in Pilates.


By following these six steps, you can become Pilates certified and begin your career as a Pilates instructor. Remember to do your research and investigate Pilates programs before you commit and pay, and find a mentor in the Pilates instructing world that can help guide you through the process. 

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