3 Pilates Teacher Training Programs and Certifications of 2021

Let’s talk about getting pilates teacher training programs. Pilates lays its focus on conditioning the body in a balanced way so that there is no disparity in development.

In pilates, you quite literally exercise your body from head to toe. Some might confuse pilates movements with yoga, but remove the meditative and spiritual aspect from it and add in a strange contraption.

History of Pilates

Unlike your new, off-the-wall forms of exercise like animal flow, pilates has been around since the 1920s. Plenty of history and science have occurred since then to back up pilates’ efficacy.

Ironically enough, men originally dominated this form of exercise that draws women in today. In fact, a man named Joseph Pilates developed pilates. During this time, about 60% of those practicing pilates were men. However, Pilates’ wife Clara helped a great deal in its development when they moved here from England to open their body-conditioning gym.

Before his passing, Pilates called his method of exercise Contrology. Contrology, regarding pilates, is the philosophical approach to exercise and body awareness and conditioning.

Body conditioning is what the duo considered their pilates exercise. They based body conditioning on six pillars.

  • Flow
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Breathing
  • Centering
  • Precision

These pillars all sound pretty familiar, right? Pilates is considerably similar to yoga in this way. Workouts are often strenuous and require a primal attitude to complete. However, Pilates considered the need to formulate a meditative flow through exercise.

The biggest difference is that yoga adds an element of spirituality that pilates does not.

The Pilates Reformer or Apparatus

Pilates uniquely uses an element that no other form of exercise does – the Reformer originally known as the apparatus.

Pilates Reformer or Apparatus - Pilates Teacher Training

Personally, both names sound quite creepy, but the machine itself is quite impressive in its use for stretching and strengthening the body.

As a nurse in World War I, Pilates identified an issue with the poor health of bedridden patients and the effect of being bedridden on their recovery. His answer – springs. He had an innovative idea to attach springs to the hospital beds to help patients keep their muscles toned and strengthened while bedridden.

Classical vs Contemporary Pilates Teacher Training

As Pilates overall focuses on reforming the body, those who appreciate the practice but seek to improve it based on innovations in research and science reform the practice. These folks are considered contemporary practitioners.

Classical practitioners stick predominantly to the original exercises and movements developed by Pilates and his colleagues. Teachers of classical have a specific catalog of movements and techniques that they apply to training.

For those looking to certify, you will most likely train in both categories. After receiving a pilates certification, it will be up to you to decide on what method to apply.

The most important thing to remember when making this decision is how it will benefit your client’s needs. The application of technique and method revolves around the goals and the ability of the client to complete certain exercises.

Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Programs

There are three different types of training programs that you will encounter along your search for the ideal pilates teacher training programs.

  • Comprehensive
  • Mat
  • Reformer

These programs also typically come in levels. Therefore, you will have to work your way up to becoming the ultimate pilates teacher. Think of it like earning your belts in martial arts!

Not to mention the specialization certifications that you can receive to help special populations of people with certain injuries and disabilities. In other words, you have lots of options!

The Pilates Method Alliance is the association of professional pilates teachers. This association should recognize the certification you decide to get. Thus, becoming a member of the Pilates Method Alliance opens the doors to essential resources for getting started in the field.

Therefore, the certifications we recommend are these, plus a couple of other widely recognized certifications:

Balanced Body Pilates Certification

Balanced Body Mat & Reformer Training

This is a PMA recognized certification that has been available to aspiring teachers for the last couple of decades. Balanced Body is also a leader in the manufacturing and production of reformers with development insights from the students of Joseph Pilates. Balanced Body began producing reformers in 1976 and eventually branched out from just manufacturing to advocating for the teachers who use the reformers!

Aside from the robust history, Balanced Body has a robust educational program for aspiring teachers and an array of opportunities for earning continuing education credits. Classes are widely available around the world, thus a certification with Balanced Body is globally recognized!

There are three levels of Mat and Reformer training. Each requires 16 hours of credits. In person classes for each level are priced at (prices for each class):

  • Class Fee: $536 to $550
  • Manual Fee: $50
  • Streaming Video Fee: $10

Online courses are cheaper at $495.

Prices may vary by state!

Movement Principles is a prerequisite before registering for any Mat and Reformer classes. This class is priced at

For the Mat and Reformer Certification, the total hours of credits required is 332 hours. That does not include the strongly recommended anatomy course.

Merrithew Pilates Certification

Merrithew Pilates Teacher Training

Merrithew has been in the business since the early 90s and has been a leader in innovation for the pilates method. In terms of the training itself, this company practices a blend of classical and contemporary pilates. However, the program has a core focus on innovation and contemporary ideals for the pilates method.

With over 30 years in the business of manufacturing and innovating equipment, Merrithew provides invaluable program services.

This organization’s primary goal is to spread awareness and back their teachings with the most up-to-date science and technology. Merrithew has been called the “Ivy League” of pilates certification programs.

STOTT Pilates

This is Merrithew’s comprehensive Pilates program with many options to choose from.

Comprehensive Program—Level 1

  • (CMR) Comprehensive Matwork & Reformer — $2,890.00
  • (CCCB) Comprehensive Cadillac, Chair & Barrels — $1,520.00
  • Full Comprehensive Certification — $5,720.00
    • Comprehensive Matwork and Reformer – 310 hours in total
    • Comprehensive Cadillac, Chair & Barrels – 165 hours in total
    • (AM) Advanced Matwork ($235)
    • (AR) Advanced Reformer ($710)
    • Advanced Cadillac, Chair & Barrels ($500)
    • Injuries and Special Populations
      • If you become certified in these separately, then you would spend around $7,060… just to put that deal into some perspective.
  • Injuries & Special Populations — ISP $1,205.00
    • This certification allows you to have a wider range of clients you can provide your services to. It never hurts to open up your client base, nor have that extra knowledge under your belt to share and educate others on.

Exam

You must take the exam(s) within 6 months of completing the coursework. If unable, then you will have to have private reinstatement sessions to be eligible for exam application again. You have to take the exam within 60 days after these sessions.

You must receive an average score of 80% on both the practical and written portions. Each portion has to have a minimum score of 75% to pass.

National Pilates Certification Program

National Pilates Certification Program

Becoming certified by the NPCP registers you in their database, where clients can search for pilates instructors in their area. Not to mention, this is a globally recognized certification, so if you want to skedaddle out of the country, you will not have too difficult of a time finding work.

This third-party certification opens more doors for pilates professionals. YOu must be 18 years of age or older and have a comprehensive education in Pilates instruction.

If you already have a pilates teacher training program under your belt, then all you need is verification from your instructor that you have completed the program. Apply to take the exam through the website linked above.

You can also purchase extra materials to prepare for the exam and solidify that wealth of knowledge on pilates that you already possess.

In 2019, only 745 people took this exam and 86% of the English-speaking test takers passed.

Peak Pilates

Peak Pilates Teacher Training Program

Peak Pilates has been in the business of pilates education and manufacturing of pilates equipment for 25 years. In fact, they originated in FitSW backyard here in Colorado! Hence the name ‘Peak’ Pilates. The focus of their pilates teacher training relies on learning the classical method, but leaving room for exploration of contemporary styles of movement and function.

The model for earning a certification through Peak Pilates is quite flexible. At your pace, you have to attend each individual class for each module and earn a certificate at each level. Liste below are the prices and totals for how much you should expect to spend on each module.

You can also take courses online if a physical location is not accessible.

Peak Pilates® Classical Level I Certification

  • Classical Level I Instructor Certification Module 1 – $685
  • Classical Level I Instructor Certification Module 2 – $685
  • Classical Level I Instructor Certification Module 3 – $685
  • Classical Level I Instructor Certification Module 4 – $685
    • Totaling to $2,740

Peak Pilates® Classical Level II Certification

  • Classical Level II Instructor Certification Module 1 – $698
  • Classical Level II Instructor Certification Module 2 – $698
    • Totaling to $1,396

Peak Pilates® Classical Level III Certification

  • Level III Instructor Certification Module 2 – $698
  • Level III Instructor Certification Module 2 – $698
  • Level III Instructor Certification Module 2 – $698
    • Totaling to $2,094

Purchase Insurance!

With anything, you want to be sure you are covered for any scenario that might put you in the hole. So this is just a friendly reminder to get insured!

In fact, becoming a member of an association like Pilates Method Alliance means you have access to discounted rates on insurance, and most importantly, insurance that is prepared to handle any situation associated with your pilates teaching career.

Overall

This widely practiced and globally recognized form of exercise has a rich history and many people and organizations who support its development.

Therefore, if you are looking for a career in fitness, then take some time to consider pilates as your path. Use this article as a starting point on your journey to find all the information you need on pilates teacher training.

Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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