In Australia, there are now many ways to learn to become a Pilates teacher. They are not all on a level playing field, so you need to decide for yourself how you want to use the qualification.
Do you want to teach full-time and make a career of Pilates teaching in studios, are you interested in teaching group classes in church halls and community centres on a part-time basis, do you want to pick up some Pilates classes in gyms, in addition to your personal training, or are you learning for the fun of it because you just love Pilates. I have met people with all these motivations and all can meld together nicely to cater for all the differing Pilates needs out there.
Courses range from full on intense periods of study with a number of pre requisites to entry that can last many, many months, through to weekend or 8 day courses where you are introduced to elements of the Pilates teaching skill set little by little, in a module based approach. Your choice will depend on cost, location, intensity of training, style of Pilates you want to learn and most importantly, how you wish to use your qualification in the Pilates community.
Due to the nature of client types coming to an equipment based Pilates studio, many studio owners will require staff to have a comprehensive training course with a supervised teaching component and anatomy training as part of that. Clients are presenting to studios with knee, back and neck complaints, and the rest, and these require a considered application of the Pilates methodology based on your knowledge of the client through observation and questioning, your understanding of movement patterns, familiarity with conditions that present and your ability to then modify and use the repertoire safely. Without these components being thoroughly addressed in your training and ongoing mentorship once teaching, this is a challenging and potentially unsafe work situation.
So on that note, let’s start with the most comprehensive training options. This type of training requires a number of pre requisites before entry, and is a serious financial and time commitment. Costs can be around the $7000 + mark and hours needed to complete all elements around 700 +.
Some courses, but not all of them, include -
- Diploma or Advanced Diploma in the Pilates, with PilatesITC, Polestar Pilates, Pilates Fitness Institute of WA etc.
- APMA accredited Level Two training course.
- STOTT comprehensive training course.
- Romana Pilates training at Cynthia Lochard’s studio.
By serious I mean you will need knowledge of anatomy and will learn the history and philosophy of Pilates, the principles and foundations, client assessment protocols, how to break down and modify exercise, it will include hours and hours of supervised teaching and a practical and written assessment of your knowledge, critical thinking and teaching skills etc, NOT JUST REPERTOIRE.
And therein lies the major difference between courses, it’s not just about learning repertoire. A DVD can teach you how to take the shape of a Pilates exercise. Anyone can call themselves a Pilates Instructor, after having completed any length or depth of course, it’s up to the individual student to determine which type of training is going to best suit you and your professional goals.
Here are some great tips on things to do in helping you decide where to do your training, from the MindBodyGreen website, with extra comments from me in bold. There is reference to yoga in here too, but you get the idea.
Step 1. Do your own fitness crawl. Research studios and instructors in your field of interest and take a class. Many studios have new student specials, so this investment is minor compared to the larger investment of a certification. If you do not have access to studios try some of the subscription online sites like YogoGlo or Pilatesology, or free sites such as YouTube, which showcases tons of teachers. I would add Pilates Anytime to that mix. Click the link here on the right to view.
Try to take class specifically from the studio owner and/or the director of education – these classes set the tone of the programming (totally agree with this, have a session or two with the teacher that will be taking the course). If you feel unsafe or dislike the tone, listen to your intuition and move on to another studio. If there is a teacher you really connect with ask where he/she was trained and whether he/she recommends that program.
Obviously, you want to lead a safe class and you learn to do that with proper training. Training won’t prepare you for the change that students find through movement; when people connect to their bodies there is immense personal growth. Are you prepared to be an assistant for personal change – it is a greater responsibility than you initially assume. Movement can be the first step towards personal transformation, so be prepared for not only your journey, but that of others. Talk to Pilates Instructors, ask them to have a coffee with you so you can ask questions and learn from their experiences working with transforming people, everyone likes to talk about themselves right?
Part Two – Matwork courses and more tips to help your search, coming soon.
About the author of the MindBodyGreen piece.
Nicola Yvette is a Pilates Instructor based in New York City. She holds certifications in multiple fitness and health disciplines including Classical Pilates, group fitness and aerobics instructor, personal trainer and yoga. Currently she is working on getting certified though Laughing Lotus Yoga School in order to deepen her Vinyasa practice. She resides in the West Village in her new (new to her but pre-war) apartment with her husband.