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So you want to become a Pilates teacher in the UK and beyond?

Updated: Apr 4

You're in love with Reformer Pilates so you google how to train as an instructor?

Maybe you are a dancer and you want something you can do when your professional career ends?

Perhaps you have an injury, you've discovered Pilates is really helpful and you want to help other people move well like you do now?

Or maybe your are a physio or sports therapist and want to add something to your business?

It doesn't matter how you got to this point, all that matters now is where to go. This blog post will help you get started.

There's a mass of info out there on the web and a lot of pitfalls to navigate. First though you need to get past the get trained quick schemes that look budget friendly, the shouty controversialist saying something dramatic about movement to hook you in and the social media influencers who have a gazillion followers but are not actually qualified!

Pilates unfortunately, as I've written previously in an old blog on my former website, is a minefield.

Stacy Weeks teaching a mat class and adjusting a clients foot position
Stacy Weeks teaching a mat class

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Like any career it has it's highs and lows, and you'll most likely find yourself stepping into self employment as a Pilates teacher and maybe even running your own studio one day. Over the last 14 years in this industry my own business has faced many challenges as well as champagne moments. When it is good it feels amazing, but when it is not going well, you either have to dig deep within yourself to push through or take the lessons that failing gives you. It is mentally challenging and certainly not as easy as just teaching classes. Running your own Pilates business is about making bold, brave and difficult decisions, if this is an area you struggle with there are lots of ways you can get help with this. Becoming a Pilates teacher is a physically challenging career, injuries will happen so you need to take care of yourself. If you are injured that could mean your only source of income is compromised. Keeping up a regular self practice is not only key to keeping yourself moving well, but self practice helps you explore and understand what you are teaching, this makes you a better teacher.

Mat or Comprehensive?

This is a huge question as it will form your career choices post qualification and each one will take a very different amount of time to qualify. Some people go straight into training as a fully comprehensive teacher, this is what we call someone qualified to teach all apparatus and mat. However, most of us start our career as mat teachers, some stay as mat teachers and specialise in a particular subject area like pre and post natal, back pain management etc. Or you can do all of that and then complete the apparatus training to become comprehensive. The most recent trend with the explosion of Reformer studios is to train as just a Reformer teacher. Wherever you want to start, it pays to do your research.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest — Benjamin Franklin

So how do you choose?

Here's my top 5 tips to consider for your Pilates education to become a Pilates teacher in the UK and beyond:

  1. Integrity is everything - It's not always transparent and the buy cheap buy twice phrase rings true here. Cheap qualifications are everywhere, and with Reformer classes becoming so popular, cheap training is also on the rise. Look to your mainstream Pilates schools like BASI, Romana's, Lolita's, Polestar, STOTT, Balanced Body, Body Control, APPI etc as your starting point. These schools are known as classical or contemporary Pilates schools and are widely recognised. Other quality independent teacher training qualifications can be found from some well known Pilates teachers when you know who is who in the industry. Research is key!

  2. Where in the world - If you have designs on teaching outside of your resident country then you need to choose a certication from an internationally recognised school of Pilates. Otherwise that qualification you took in good faith may not be recognised and you may find what you are teaching doesn't match the standards that is required of a Pilates teacher in a different part of the world. It may aso affect your insurance too if you teach internationally online.

  3. Kiss some frogs - there's a lot of Pilates out there, different schools have different variations on Joseph Pilates method. Some schools follow Joe's work really closely, we call them classical, and some have modified the exercises so much that the original exercises aren't even taught or recognisable. You need to try as many different types as possible to choose what's right for you before you dive in. There's nothing wrong with teaching modifications but you need to know the difference.

  4. Location, Location - The training is one thing but the real work begins post course. With a minimum of 500 hours of self practice, observations and teaching to complete post course, you need to ensure that you have opportunities with teachers and studios close to you, otherwise the cost will soon mount up in travelling costs. Also try and ensure those teachers and studios trained under the same school where you did your training.

  5. A fool and his money are soon parted - The cost of training is a huge theme in these tips, but it is there for a reason. Aside from the cost you see advertised for the course, look deeper at the other costs. These should be an important consideration in your final decision. Manuals, exams, self practice, annual memberships, online portals, observations, equipment, travel and insurance all mount up as a student. Some courses include some of them, some don't. Always ask your course provider what is included in the fee.

These are just a few things to consider, there are so many more topics I could cover here for you, but these are what I always recommend on social media forums as the big 5 to think about before embarking on what has been for me a very rewarding career.

Thanks for reading my blog 'Become a Pilates teacher in the UK and beyond' and please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below in the comments, I'd love to hear from you.

PS I'll be publishing several eBooks soon that covers all of this and more, sign up to my newsletter to get the latest information. These books are based on my experience as a multi award winning business owner and Pilates movement specialist and discuss the challenges and successes I have faced over the last 14 years.


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