How To Become a Pilates Instructor

If there is one question I receive more than any other question it’s this:

‘How do I become a Pilates instructor?’

So today I’m going to lay out the process to becoming an instructor for those of you who may be interested.

Pilates is one of the top fitness trends in the world and has steadily grown in popularity over the past 50+ years. Due to its effectiveness and staying power, I wouldn’t call it a trend. If you want to experience the power of Pilates in as little as 15-minutes per day, you can give my 5-Day Pilates Strong challenge a try here for FREE.

And you’ll see that Pilates is here to stay. Which is good news for those of us who have chosen this career path and those who are looking to dive in.

Becoming a Pilates instructor takes time, commitment and money. There is no doubt about that. I think many people make the mistake of lumping it together with general ‘group fitness.’ Group fitness instructors can be certified in one weekend, for a reputable Pilates certification that’s not the case.

6 steps to become a Pilates Instructor:

1) take a class

Immerse yourself in classes to learn the exercises, learn about your own body and observe other teachers. Take as many as you can and practice consistently. Take from a variety of teachers so that you can determine which style you are drawn to and what kind of path you want to follow. Ask lots of questions and inquire about your favorite teachers’ training and certification.

2) ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I enjoy teaching? (you won’t be doing Pilates yourself, you will be teaching others)
  • Do I have an interest in body mechanics, anatomy and exercise science?
  • Do I enjoy speaking in front of large groups? (you will essentially be on stage!)
  • Am I self-motivated?
  • Am I okay trading job stability for job flexibility? (you will find your own healthcare, benefits, etc.)

3) decide if you want a mat or comprehensive certification

A mat certification prepares you to teach group mat classes, which is what you will find in most gyms. A comprehensive certification prepares you to teach and train clients using the traditional Pilates equipment (reformer, chair, trap table/cadillac, etc.) in addition to mat. If you are hoping to teach ‘full-time’ or train private clients a comprehensive certification is the way to go. It is very, very hard to make a living on mat certification alone.

4) research and select a Pilates certification program

There are a lot of good programs out there, so I encourage you to ask your favorite teachers about their path and recommendations.  You will want to determine if you are drawn to the classical or contemporary style of teaching.

A mat certification may cost $100 – $300. For a comprehensive Pilates certification you can expect to pay at least $3,000,  quite possibly more.

A reputable certification program should include:

  • 500+ hours of training, practice and student teaching (for comprehensive certification)
  • recognition from the Pilates Method Alliance
  • modules that take place over a period of months (not just a weekend or two)

A few that I highly recommend:

There are many others but these are some of the most widely recognized programs that can be found across the country.

5) complete your certification process

A mat certification can take a few months, while a comprehensive certification will take 12+ months. Most programs offer flexibility so that you can make it work with your schedule and goals. Your program will require tests and an opportunity to “test out” at the conclusion which will most likely include a written test plus a hands-on practical teaching assessment.

Ideally you’d also find someone to mentor you work through your certification and begin student teaching.

I went through my certification process while working full-time as a project coordinator in a commercial real estate firm. It was busy, but it can be done. πŸ™‚

6) secure liability insurance

Most studios will require that you have your own liability insurance. You can find these online through the PMAIdea Fit, Lockton Affinity Insurance, or many other outlets.

At this point you are able to pursue teaching opportunities and begin working with clients!

7) PMA certification + continuing education

The Pilates Method Alliance is the governing body for the Pilates industry. Since this is an unregulated industry it’s not required that you acquire certification through the PMA but it is highly recommended. Once you’ve had an opportunity to dive into your teaching career and gain some hands-on experience, it’s a good time to start studying and preparing for the PMA exam. You can find out more here.

As time goes by you should also keep up with continuing education courses.

The truth is, you should never stop learning and growing as a Pilates instructor. When your certification program concludes, it’s really just the beginning of your education.

I am constantly seeking to learn more about the body, healthy movement, and Pilates on a daily basis. There is so much more to know!

I hope this post helps guide those of you who are looking to pursue a career in Pilates.

Do you have questions that I didn’t answer? Post them in the comments!

Pilates instructors – did I miss anything?


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  1. Pat G. 7 years ago

    Thank you for this post! I’d given a lot of thought to getting into personal training myself. I enjoy it and I enjoy helping others with it too. You’ve provided a lot of great insight and information here.
    Thank you very much!

  2. Emily Sharpe 7 years ago

    Enjoyed reading this post! Getting excited, and nervous, for my comprehensive Balanced Body test out at the end of May! I most definitely enjoy teaching and more importantly helping others move and feel good in their bodies:)

  3. […] been digging through the pilates certifications listed hereΒ and the only negative I’ve found is that they are PRICEY. I suppose its for good reason and […]

  4. Rachel 6 years ago

    Great post Robin! I’m surprised that you don’t list The Pilates Center (Boulder, CO) on your list. They teach classical Pilates just like Romana. Like you said, there are many programs but I thought this one was worth mentioning. Love your blog!

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Ooh Rachel, great catch! I would DEFINITELY recommend The Pilates Center. When drafting this post I was thinking of certifications that are available internationally. But if you’re able to be in CO that would be a great resource. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  5. Debora 6 years ago

    I have MS. And I have been doing pilates for the past year and a half it has helped so much. My goal is to become an instructor and help others. Thank you Robin.

    • Deanna Wood 4 months ago

      what is the path you are taking to beome certified?

  6. Victoria 6 years ago

    For Europeans The Pilates Standard (classical) is a great Education option. ..loved your article thank You

  7. Meah 6 years ago

    Hi Robin,
    Just wondering when you did your training did you start with the mat course and work your way up or did you go straight to the apparatus program with BASI? I’m looking into some course options and not sure where to start.

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Hi Meah,
      My training was mat and apparatus combined. It started with mat training and then progressed to apparatus. πŸ™‚

      • Deanna Wood 4 months ago

        where did you start? i am researching in Northern CA and cannot find anything due to Covid.

  8. Meah 6 years ago

    Thanks! I have been looking into a course with Studio Pilates. Have you heard of them? I’m pretty nervous to choose the wrong course as I want the best training. In your experience; when applying for jobs, does your training impact your chances of getting hired? And are you more likely to get hired if you went to a particular college?

    Thanks for your advice! I really appreciate it πŸ™‚


    • Hayley Samuels 1 year ago

      Me too

  9. Snezana 6 years ago

    Loved your break down.I found it to be short but precise and very informative.I live in Alaska and as there are yoga teacher available I am not able to find a PILATES program. Are there any online options you could recommend? We have only two studios in Anchorage and I am not sure if there are any other ones in rest of Alaska. Yoga is first choice and popular here but Pilates is not. Just starting to bloom,they also seem to be more expensive than Yoga due to the equipment used. Anyway if you could point me to the right directions to at least start my Mat classes I would sure appreciate it ! Thanks

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Snezana, I wouldn’t ever recommend an online program because to learn how to teach Pilates you need to work with other bodies. That’s how you learn to teach. πŸ™‚ I would recommend traveling to a place that offers certification courses. When I took mine we had women flying in from all over to attain their certification. I’m sorry, I wish it was easier where you lived! And you are right, Pilates certifications tend to be more expensive because they are more involved. xoxo

      • Sophie 4 years ago

        Hi Robin! I totally understand why you wouldn’t recommend an online course, it sure is not my first option. But since I live in Curacao and there are NO possibilities to become a certified pilates teacher, I was wondering if there are any online courses that are kind of ‘acceptable’. Just for me to get a start and see if I can do a real course whenever I feel I’m ready? That would be great! Loved to read your story! Thanks πŸ™‚

  10. Ronit Reggev 6 years ago

    I would like to learn being a Pilates teacher
    Please call me to 954-7564468

  11. Heloisa 5 years ago

    Hi, does pilates have a college to go , or is certificates that I can take in studios? I would like to be a pilates instructor and I need to know the steps. I live in Florida, North Lauderdale. Please do you have idea where I can go to start? Thanks. Heloisa

    • Annie 4 years ago

      Classical Pilates Education with Vault Fitness. Great FLL & Boca studios, great people. They offer mat and comprehensive training.

  12. Lani 5 years ago

    Would you recommend still doing the Mat certification to start or is that a requirement or unnecessary?

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Most schools require mat before moving on to apparatus. And I would definitely recommend it. πŸ™‚

  13. Nana 5 years ago

    my friend has a international pilates instructor certification from Korea. Do you think it works for being a pilates instructor in Canada? Thank you.

  14. gary 5 years ago

    Hi Robin, thanks so much for your information which really helps me a lot to understand what the PMA and pilates teacher is all about.

    I am a personal trainer, and i wanna be a PMA teacher. i found there are a lot of 450 hours or 500 hours of training program in some studio with different price, but i am not sure which one is the best. Is there any tricky thing?

    and also is there any text book to study for the writing test?

    Thanks so much.

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Gary,
      I recommend all of the training programs mentioned in my post. When you sign up for a certification program they will provide you with all of the materials and resources you need to study. Being certified by the PMA would come AFTER being certified by one of the schools listed above. Hope that helps!

  15. Felipe 5 years ago

    Hi Robin. Good morning!
    Very good post.
    I have one question. My wife and I are moving to Melbourne. We are from Brazil and she is Pilates Instructor,around 7 years experience on Matt and comprehensive Pilates with overseas certification (Canada ). Besides, familiarization with English terms, what else is required for overseas professional?
    thank you and have a nice day!

    Felipe lindesay

  16. Felipe 5 years ago

    Hi Robin!
    Are you on USA right? we are moving to Melbourne Australia. rs

    Sorry by any confusion!



  17. Minyoung Lee 5 years ago

    Thanks for information you wrote down.
    I live in South Korea, and now try to find the right course for me.
    I’d like to ask what the main difference is between ‘Body Arts and Science International’ and ‘Balanced Body University’.

    Thank you again!

  18. Isa 5 years ago

    Hi Robin! How often do you get to practice when you are also teaching? Do teachers get to practice for free at the studios they’re teaching at? I hope to hear from you! Thanks

  19. Caroline 5 years ago

    Hi Robin
    Thank you very much for your post! Very helpful. Robin, I am a newly qualified Pilates Instructor. Working at a studio and teaching about 12 hours a week. I am absolutely loving teaching and cannot wait to teach more hours p/week. I have been teaching for about 2.5 months now. Unfortuntely, the owner and senior instructor lives abroad so pretty much on my own when it comes to mentoring and guidance. I have been practising Pilates for about 8 months now. Robin, regarding personal and physical development and Inspiration as a Pilates Instructor what would you advise I do? How can I become better in terms of my own practice? I would really appreciate your thoughts.
    Thank you

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Caroline!
      This is a great question. If possible, I’d find a studio to work in a few days per week that has the potential for you to work with and learn from colleagues. If that’s not an option you can attend conferences like PMA Conference and Pilates On Tour. I’d also look into what kinds of continuing education is offered through the certification you went through. For example, BASI provides a lot of opportunities to learn more, take workshops and work with mentors.

  20. Erika 5 years ago

    I am about to change my career and your posting is very helpful to plan my career path! Everything you said in the posting is actually what I’ve researched. I feel like I am on a right track! Thanks:)

  21. Alka Kapur 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,
    Once you have become a instructor is it a big investment to open your studio or better off working for someone.Thanks.

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Alka,
      Opening your own studio is definitely a big investment. And you’d have to ask yourself do you want to only teach Pilates or do you want to run an business too? Running a studio is very business – oriented. Either way I’d recommend getting some years under your belt as an instructor to decide which direct suits you best. πŸ™‚

  22. Taryn Young 5 years ago

    As a certified Pilates instructor – what is the scope of practice? are you considered a personal trainer, physical therapist or clinician of any kind? If not, what would the next steps be?

    Thank you,

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Taryn, Once you are certified your scope of practice is within teaching Pilates. You would need further education and certifications to be a personal trainer or physical therapist.

  23. rachel 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    I live in NYC, is there a certain Pilates school you would recommend here? I am from Canada and will be living there in the future. Do you know if the certification is different in Canada? Thanks so much for your help πŸ™‚


  24. Claire 5 years ago

    Hello Robin, I am on track to start a comprehensive Pilates course here in Sydney Australia in a couple of months (through the APMA). I have done Pilates for over 5yrs, both mat and apparatus, which included practicing during my two pregnancies so I am lucky to be familiar with both prenatal and postnatal Pilates in addition to the usual. I am far from being skilled as my current teachers are but am fit and ready to learn to be an expert.
    I am halfway through the required prerequisite anatomy and physiology short course and while I am very interested in learning about the body, I have always been an English/literature kind of girl over a maths/scientific learner. I must use the other side of my brain more : )
    I just want to know how much of the certification is based on knowing all these details of the muscular and skeletal system and knowing in complete detail? I love Pilates and how it has changed my body and my life, but I am trying to fight my personal fear of the unknown to tell myself I can do this, as I have been warned it is very complex and hard. I guess I am worried I am not smart enough to do the theory side of things.

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Claire – if you study and work hard you’ll be fine! There is definitely a big component related to anatomy, but I don’t think it will be a problem for you. You will find that you’ll ALWAYS be learning more, even once you’re certified. The body is so complex that there is always more to learn and understand. I think you’ll be just fine. Best of luck in your career!

  25. Cheryl 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    I am a women in my 60’s and have been doing Pilate classes for the last 18 years. I’m really giving some thought to becoming an instructor myself and wanted to know, what you think about someone older getting started in this business?

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Cheryl! I think it’s fantastic! There is no reason to hesitate in my opinion. I have worked with a lot of older instructors and there were a handful of older women in my certification program as well. I say go for it! πŸ™‚

  26. Katherine 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,
    I have been a mat-pilate instructors for 5 years, now i want to have a comprehensive certificate in order to take PMA test. How long does it take to complete those trainings? I live in Asia, where i could find a school to apply? Thank you so much

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Katherine!
      I did mat and equipment in about a year. And that was moving pretty quickly. I bet you could expand your certification within a year if you are dedicated. πŸ™‚ I would definitely check out BASI Pilates – they do certifications in Asia!

  27. Kimberly 5 years ago

    I have never taught fitness classes (have only been a hiking guide, no cert required) and I want to become a reformer instructor. I’ve been doing research and it seems that a prereq to a lot of the courses is teaching experience, but how can I get teaching experience before taking cert courses? Am I just misunderstanding this information?

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Kimberly!
      I didn’t have any teaching experience prior to getting my certification. I think sometimes people student teach before getting certified but I didn’t. I don’t think that will stand in your way! πŸ™‚

  28. Daniela Bautista 5 years ago

    hi Robin , Im currently researching Pilates schools . Im having a hard time deciding and learning what exactly to look for in schools .

    Some offer anatomy courses before the Mat training and some go strait to the mat training . This one school i looked at seems highly qualified it even has a PMA prep course after your done the training but the cost for the mat training is only 800 and also the courses seem basic and not thorough . I live in Victoria , Canada , and theres a lack in schools .

    Theres also the Stott Pilates but it only offers an intensive mat course and the prerequisite says i need to have been in the physical training business for at least three years. So either i move to vancouver or yeah ..not sure what you would suggest??

    thankyou , Daniela!

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Daniela! I think the best way to gather the information you are looking for is to call and ask these specific questions. I think they will be able to provide you with the information you are looking for. You may also want to see if you can take a class or two from teacher who are certified from each place so you can get a feel for the style/training. As long as they are PMA-approved then it depends more on your style, preference and location. πŸ™‚ Best of luck!

  29. Daniela Bautista 5 years ago

    also the first school i was talking about was Feel good yoga and Pilates in Victoria , would you be so kind to check it for me , and what makes a school credited ..thank you , hopefully you have a moment and Im not bothering ! thanks

  30. Daniela Bautista 5 years ago

    so as i keep blabbing away …i forgot to mention i am willing to move to Vancouver , Canada any schools you could reccomend there would be greatly appreciated!

  31. Carlina Cruz 5 years ago

    Hello! I am 19 years old and am getting certified. How long until I can be employed by a studio? I feel like my age is against me because people want to hire an older, more experienced person to teach at their studio.

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Carlina! Great question. I love that you are motivated and ready! I think if you present yourself as professional, mature and educated then you will be able to find a teaching opportunity. You could also approach studios about being and assistant or apprentice to gain more experience and get your foot in the door. Even starting at the front desk could help you pick up classes and clients. πŸ™‚

  32. Caroline A. 5 years ago

    Hi Robin, thank you for the helpful artical! I have a question after reading through. How long you do you think someone should be practicing Pilates before undergo the training courses? How experienced should someone be?
    Thanks in advance! Caroline

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Caroline! This is a tricky one to answer, but I think most certification programs recommend that you be practicing regularly for at least a year prior to getting certified. But there is no hard and fast rule on this one. πŸ™‚

  33. Zu 5 years ago

    Hi Robin!

    I am thinking about changing my career and becoming certified in Pilates.
    What do you think of the Equinox Pilates training program?

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Zu! I haven’t done much research on it but it seems to be a quality, comprehensive program. I would ask them what their options are for ongoing education and if they prepare teachers to teach anywhere or primarily at Equinox. πŸ™‚

  34. Kat 5 years ago

    Is there a salary difference between schools? For example, do classical pilates instructors charge higher rates than more contemporary?

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Kat – As long as you choose one of the PMA-approved certification programs the pay would not be different. That is all dependent on where you live, where you teach, your experience, etc. πŸ™‚

  35. Kat 5 years ago

    Thank you. Another question. How academically rigorous is certification? I worry about it. I’m far from a science type. Had to retake anatomy twice in my school days. I’m also not very good at school in general. I’m smart in the common sense and experiences way and not in an academic way. That’s something that’s been holding me back. Are the tests (written ones) something that many don’t pass?

  36. mariana 5 years ago

    I came across your blog and found it to be very informative thank you :). The thing is.. I live in Canada and I wish to know if you happen to know/recommend a place here in Canada to get this certification.
    cheers and thank you πŸ™‚

  37. Chad 5 years ago

    I used to be able to find good advvice from your content.

  38. […] How To Become a Pilates Instructor – The Balanced Life – If there is one question I receive more than any other question it’s this: β€˜How do I become a Pilates instructor?’ So today I’m going to lay out the process … […]

  39. Katherine 5 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    This blog was very helpful! I live in orange County and I was contemplating going to a junior college that had a pilates program that’s been there for 20 years! The college is OCC, not sure if you are familiar with orange County area! I’m having a hard time as to whether that’s a good decision. I have researched a lot studios and looked at the staff, most people have BASI or balanced body certifications! The jc says they prepare students to get a pma certification if they choose! I want to make the right decision as it will take a year to become certified! Any thoughts on going to OCC instead of another program?

    • Author
      Robin Long 5 years ago

      I don’t know anything about OCC but that sounds like a good program! The fact that their instructors are certified through reputable companies. and the comply with PMA is a good thing. πŸ™‚

  40. Pari sagar 5 years ago

    Hi Robin…you are a life saver…I was thinking to directly hop into the certification because I am so glad to find this treasure but my thoughts were scattered about how to find right way on becoming a Pilates instructor.
    So did you meant that I should take Pilates class for myself first and ask my teacher how to perform my own career as instructor? I stay in Bangkok and several studios offer Pilates courses along with exams but I am confused which one would be best.
    Please please reply me.

  41. […] How To Become a Pilates Instructor – The Balanced Life – If there is one question I receive more than any other question it’s this: β€˜How do I become a Pilates instructor?’ So today I’m going to lay out the process … […]

  42. […] How To Become a Pilates Instructor – The Balanced Life – If there is one question I receive more than any other question it’s this: β€˜How do I become a Pilates instructor?’ So today I’m going to lay out the process … […]

  43. […] How To Become a Pilates Instructor – The Balanced Life – If there is one question I receive more than any other question it’s this: β€˜How do I become a Pilates instructor?’ So today I’m going to lay out the process … […]

  44. Anna 5 years ago

    Hi Robin.I from israel and want to became pilaties treaner. For PMA certificate do I need to study in any studio in israel and after to make a test. or only in specific studio that give me certificate that I can do this kind of test for PMA certigicate ?Thank you.

  45. Kayla 4 years ago

    Hi. I was just wondering if Studio Pilates was a good company to become qualified through for pilates?

  46. Erika 4 years ago

    Thank you for this article, Robin!
    People often ask me how they can do some “smart shopping” when it comes to certifications, since there seem to be so many out there these days, and I will definitely be referring them to this article!
    I am about to start my teacher training with the Lolita’s Legacy program (Lolita San Miguel is one of the few surviving Elders of Joseph Pilates) and I’m so proud to be associated with such a unique opportunity to study under a classical master!

  47. […] How To Become a Pilates Instructor – The Balanced Life – Thanks! I have been looking into a course with Studio Pilates. Have you heard of them? I’m pretty nervous to choose the wrong course as I want the best training. […]

  48. Sydmarie 4 years ago

    Hi, I was just wondering do you have to become a certified mat instructor before you can become a comprehensive instructor? If not would you recommend doing so? And also if you don’t have to, what prerequisites must you have in order to go to comprehensive Pilates school? Thanks!

  49. Fardiyah 4 years ago

    Hello Robin,
    As a single mum and full time employee IΒ΄m finding it so hard to allow time (and money) to pursue this education although I absolutely would love to. While I understand, why online courses are not recommended, and you mention that the Pilates certification is not something one can do in a short time, I wonder if there are not some ways, to at least advance some of the skill set and prepare, with some online courses in the theory aspect. And after completing this in my own time, I could take a short “holiday” off work, get help with my daughter, and then participate in a more intense course to complete the practical work. I know of many Yoga retreats that offer these sort of arrangements, but havenΒ΄t yet come across anything similar for Pilates. Have you got any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance

  50. Alina Cerys 4 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    There is a new franchised Pilates gym popping up called Club Pilates and they offer a 500 hour teacher training program. They have locations in my area and it seems reputable but I am afraid to go with this program because it is so new and not yet recognized by the PMA, or perhaps it is a joke and no other studio would hire someone with this certification. Do you know anything about this corporate program? Is it frowned upon in the Pilates community?

    • Laura Bridges-Pereira 4 years ago

      I am wondering the same thing. It has become so popular and I really love my classes there.

      • Carli 3 years ago

        I’m wondering the same thing! The club pilates teacher training would be super convenient for me! I want to really learn the material and earn a respectable certification. i was leaning towards balanced body but just debating because of how convenient club pilates is!

        • Sarah 3 years ago

          Hi Carli!
          Robin has experience with, and can speak toward the programs listed in the post above! We wish you the best as you seek certification! πŸ™‚

  51. Lorena 4 years ago


    Thanks for this post, it has helped my very much in deciding to do a Pilates Teacher Training. The gave a few pointers and a brief description helped me understand what to look for in a program and why. I will be taiking a program by the end of this year, 2017. Thanks to this post! πŸ™‚

  52. Stephanie 4 years ago

    Hi Robin! I was wondering if you do any mentoring? I live in the Bay Area and am just starting to pursue a career as a Pilates instructor! Thank you so much for all your help on here!

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hi Stephanie! We are so excited about the journey you are taking as a Pilates instructor. I can add you to Robin’s VIP waitlist, however, she is not accepting additional clients at this time. If you would like to be added to this list, please email us at [email protected] πŸ™‚

  53. Amanda 4 years ago

    Thank you for all the information. It was very helpful!

  54. Amanda 4 years ago

    I took anatomy & physiology I & II for my Bachelors degree in Health Ed, do you know if any of the programs will accept transcripts?
    Thank you!

  55. Annie 4 years ago

    I’ve been doing classical Pilates six days a week for about a year and I’m obsessed/addicted. There are many advanced level positions I still cannot do. Should I not consider teacher training? How long should one be doing Pilates before they become a teacher?

  56. Lynn 4 years ago

    Hi I loved your 21 day pilates series. I do pilates 3 days a week at a studio and I love it. I was thinking about becoming an instructor but I live in Spain and it’s confusing finding a training here. I know you can get Yoga certified in 3-4 weeks or 6 months but how long is Pilates Mat certifications? The places I have looked up are not very clear. TIA

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hi Lynn! A mat certification can take a few months, while a comprehensive certification will take 12+ months. Most programs offer flexibility so that you can make it work with your schedule and goals. Your program will require tests and an opportunity to “test out” at the conclusion which will most likely include a written test plus a hands-on practical teaching assessment. Good Luck!

    • Mirna 3 years ago

      Hi Lynn!
      Have you found a certification program in Spain? I am in a similar situation…currently living in Madrid and looking for a mat certification program.
      Would you be willing to share your experience?
      Thank you!

  57. Celine 4 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    Many thanks for all tips and details for guiding people who wants to be a Pilates instructor which is my case. I am practicing Pilates for almost 9 years (7 only on mat and 2 years on machines). I live in Tokyo, member of BASI Pilates Studio, practicing 3 times a week, but I struggle with having Pilates certification in English.
    Indeed, I am in touch with Peak, Polestar and BASI Pilates and all the certifications they propose are in Japanese while I can’t follow the training in Japanese.
    Then, I am looking for an English spoken Pilates certification program (mat and comprehensive) here in Tokyo. Would you mind to help me to find an English spoken mat and comprehensive certification in Tokyo from september 2017?
    Many thanks

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hi Celine!

      Congratulations on pursuing your Pilates certification! Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific recommendations for a certification in Tokyo, but we wish you all the best!

  58. ECA 4 years ago


    Can you recommend where I can take a course in Hawaii? I have been so inspired about what Pilates has been able to help me with as far as body strength and flexibility as well as self-confidence.

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      We are so glad to hear about your success with Pilates! Unfortunately, we don’t know of a specific course in Hawaii, but Robin has some wonderful workouts on YouTube – you might enjoy the 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge! You can also join our wait-list to be among the first to find out when we re-open our Sisterhood enrollment! xo

  59. Anonymous 4 years ago

    I am currently training and working towards my certification through a local facility. How do I find out this this organization actually has the ability to provide a legitimate certificate or if it is simply a certificate to teach here? Is there a website that lists these accredited organizations?

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Thank you for your question! It would be useful to check with your instructors, or program managers, for clarification and with your state for their specific requirements!

  60. Nely 4 years ago

    I have been practicing pirates for the last 7 years, and lately I start thinking about teaching it.
    I came from Europe and I don’t know the local market – will i find a job as an instructor, if I’m “old”? (37).
    My English is far from being perfect. Will it make the study too hard for me? Are there lot of writing exams?
    Thank you so much for your answers

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hi Nely! How exciting that you are interested in pursuing becoming a Pilates Instructor! You will need to go through the certification process, but it may be best to check with local professionals in your area to find out about the difficulty and job prospects. Good luck to you!

  61. Gail Conavay 4 years ago

    Hi, I have been taking Pilates for 2 years off and on. But because i move a lot, i have not had a consistent trainer. So i would like to take a class to become a teacher on the mat. There are non in the area i am for 6 months of the year and i think even if i only have a few students it is useful. But i am just turning 70 years old. I taught children years ago and feel, if i know how to do something, i know i can teach it.
    What do you think.

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hi Gail!
      If you feel ready to be certified and teach, we wish you all the best! Pilates is a wonderful skill to know and teach! xo

  62. KristinZ 4 years ago

    I’m researching certification programs/teacher training as well as the PMA certification. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the Club Pilates style teacher training. PMA does state that their teachers are eligible to sit for the PMA exam (I checked with PMA). I’m debating currently between BASI, Balanced Body, and Club Pilates teacher training. Thank you.

    • Jana 3 years ago

      Hi Kristin, curious which program you chose? Also considering Club Pilates. Where I currently practice. Thanks.

  63. Kate 4 years ago

    Dear Robin

    Thank you very much for posting.

    I turn 40 next month, and after 14 years of service to teaching art in high schools, I would like a career change. I would like to teach continue to teach, because I feel at my best when I am of service to others through my teaching.

    I have used to practice pilates for many years and became intermediate/advanced. I was very strong during this time. I stopped due to illness, and only began again this year. It is taking some time for me to regain the strength and mobility that was compromised in not doing pilates for several years.

    Is my aspiration a realistic one? Can I regain this, to the extent that I can be a good pilates instructor?

    Thank you,


  64. SELIN 4 years ago

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you for this post which is the most explanatory one that I read till now…
    I am a comprehensive pilates instructor here in my country (TURKEY) for two 2 years of experience. But now there is a possibility for my family to move US. So I need to get certified by an international orgnaizations. As we have Balanced Body partner in Turkey I will check my status with them.
    My question is how can I run my own home studio in US? Do I need any documents (except certificates about my training)? I mean what about taxes? Governmental issues? As you said this is an unregulated industry I just wanted to ask how these things happen?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Hello! Thank you for your questions! Our best recommendation is for you to get in touch with your state whenever you move to the US – laws, certificates, taxes, etc. will all vary depending on the state, and even city you live in! All the best to you!

  65. Marlee 4 years ago

    Hi Robin!

    After discovering Pilates and starting to do it did you then decide to become an instructor and start the certification process?

  66. Cheryl Maceda 4 years ago

    Hi Robin!
    Im searching for Pilates school here in Toronto Canada.All the information that i read in this site give me an oppurtunity to pursue my dream to become an instructor someday.Thank you for all the information!I I just want to pursue a dream for my children and for my self.Thank you!

    • Sarah 4 years ago

      Best of luck to you, Cheryl!

  67. Terrific writing on random topics. Im currently trying to
    accomplish something similar to what you have here except for on
    a different topic totally. Thank you for the inspiration to
    write better content.

  68. Kristina Ron 3 years ago

    I am really a yoga person but reading this information about pilates is wonderful so thank you for sharing this information.

  69. Carli 3 years ago

    Hey Robin!

    I’ve been reading your blog, following you on social media, and doing your videos for years. We’ve emailed back and forth a couple times too. You’re super wonderful and helpful πŸ™‚

    I’m an Occupational therapist and I work with physical dysfunction as well as with kids who have special needs and hippotherapy (Therapy using the modality of riding a horse).

    I love pilates and think a pilates certification would supplement my OT degree really nicely and it would be a nice niche. My aunt is certified through Balanced Body but my instructors have always been classically trained so I need to read up more on which I’d like to do!

    My question for you is, do you think I could do a comprehensive pilates certification while pregnant? I’m 14 weeks pregnant, working 10-15 hours per week and I have a 15 month old. That being said, I also have very supporting family who can offer a good deal of childcare πŸ™‚

    Thanks Robin!

    • Teddi Lamons 3 years ago

      Hi Carli! I want to apologize for not responding to your comment earlier! We do our best to answer all questions. It’s so wonderful that you want to weave Pilates into your therapy! I understand that you are much further along in your pregnancy now, but I still want to answer your question. If you have significant Pilates experience (which it sounds like you do), then yes, the certification is doable! Someone newer to Pilates might miss out on a lot of the learning that comes from actually doing the exercises. I hope this helps, and I hope all the best to you in your career journey!

  70. Elaine 3 years ago

    Hi Robin are those you recommended in person? If so would you recommend any that can be done online? I have a body balanced reformer at home but i want to learn something that i can start nstructing myself what to do currently i am just following pilates videos blindly without ubderstanding what might be wrong. Appreciate your advice.

  71. Marianela Riba 3 years ago

    Hi, I love your post I am wondering what do you think about Club Pilates? Is that a good place to get the certification?

    • Teddi Lamons 3 years ago

      Hi Marianela! Robin recommends choosing a program that is recognized by the Pilates Method Alliance. If a program isn’t recognized by the PMA, it doesn’t mean it won’t train you to be an excellent Pilates instructor. However, studios tend to respect programs recognized by the PMA, so it might open more job opportunities in the future. So, give Club Pilates a call and see if they are! I hope this helps. Best wishes to you! πŸ™‚

  72. Hope 3 years ago

    Is it possible for a certified teacher to create and offer their own certification program? Is PMA the largest and most respected governing body for granting the ability to certify people? Basically, I am wondering if their is 1 main accreditation certification program that every studio must go through in order to be able to certify students? It appears to me that many studios offer certification programs, but I don’t see anything listed regarding who have them the β€œokay” to certify people. They even have their own official name for their program… but how? How can you tell if it’s official and the studio did not change anything from the original material etc? Thanks!!!

    • Teddi Lamons 3 years ago

      This is a great question! The Pilates industry is not well regulated, which is why the PMA is such a valuable resource. Robin would recommend choosing a certification that is supported by the PMA. That way you know the certification will be recognized wherever you want to teach.

      If you choose a program at a studio that is not officially supported by the PMA, then make sure to do your research on what they teach and how closely they teach the Pilates method. In addition, know that you may be limited in where you can teach if the certification is not widely recognized.

      • Lola 3 years ago

        Hi Teddi and Robin,
        PMA website make me confused… they are not supporting Lolita, Alan Herman or Michael King methods.
        On 1st of july the pubblished the PSAP (Pilates School Approval Program) and just 9 schools passed the exam (no Balanced Body, Stott, Basi or Polestar method).
        I am going to choose my pilates school for a comphrensive certification but of course I don’t want to lose money, time and passion.
        What’s your tip?

        • Author
          Robin Long 3 years ago

          Hi Lola! This is interesting. I will need to spend some time reviewing the Pilates School Approval System – I have not had time to do that. It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of what you are looking for if you are familiar with people like Lolita, Alan and Michael. I mention the PMA in this post because for those who have no idea where to start it is usually a great source of information. But again – I have not reviewed their latest documents so will have to do that soon. Thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

  73. Lola 3 years ago

    Ciao Robin,
    here the link (the PMA register page is going off soon)

    I am in Italy and at the moment the italian federation doesn’t reconized Pilates as sport (that’s a big mess because to make money to support my school I need to work in a gym)
    I am going to move abroad with my pilates certification: what’s happen if I take stott/polestar/BBU?
    That’s the big dilemma

    Thanks Robin for your support

  74. Lola 3 years ago

    p.s. other dilemma
    I am lucky because in Europe there are 3 approved school but every school has got a different method (mostly their own method)
    What’s happen if I take my certification with one of these school and I am travelling? outside the country nobody knows school and method.

  75. Ashley 3 years ago

    Thank you for your insightful article! I’m planning on attending a BASI Pilates training in Chicago this fall. I was wondering if you could recommend some Pilates relates books so I can learn more!
    Thank you!

  76. This article is really so interesting .

  77. Nice Post. Thanks for sharing the information

  78. Pete 3 years ago

    I think it would be both helpful and beneficial to your readers who are seeking to become a Pilates Teacher to recommend that they visit the Pilates Method Alliance and review the Pilates School Approval Program (PSAP) which is a Program of the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).

  79. Krista Copeland 3 years ago

    How proficient do you recommend being in pilates prior to taking instructor training? Can you have minimal experience to pilates (but enough to know you believe in it and like doing it) and gain the experience through the training program? Or do you suggest being at an advanced level? As I look online, it appears most instructors are in the 20-40 year old range – is there a reason for this / is the training too intense for older adults. I am in my 50’s and no longer working and I am looking for a second career – something that i can embrace and believe in. I live within commuting distance to the Pilates Center in Boulder.

    • Teddi Lamons 3 years ago

      Hi Krista! Robin recommends having at least a year of experience. But there is nothing that says you can’t start right away. That’s just a personal recommendation from her experience and from others she has spoken with. πŸ™‚ If you can keep up with regular Pilates, you’ll likely be able to keep up with the training! I hope that helps – best wishes!

  80. Jennifer 3 years ago

    Hi, Robin

    I was wondering if you are familiar with the Club Pilates teacher training and their studios and if you had any insight to offer about their program or classes?

    Thank you!

    • Teddi Lamons 3 years ago

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks for your question. Robin isn’t familiar with Club Pilates studios or teacher training programs. Best of luck as you look into it! πŸ™‚

  81. Pete 2 years ago

    For those of you looking to become Pilates Teachers!
    Visit the PMA website and view the Schools that are Approved in their PSAP Program.

    The Pilates School Approval Program (PSAP) is a program developed by the Pilates Method Alliance to recognize schools that have gone through a rigorous process to show their compliance with Educational Standards. It is also a tool for students to find institutions offering comprehensive teacher training programs.

  82. Hi, I am Yoga Instructor. This is very informative post. thanks for sharing this.

  83. yoga training co 2 years ago

    it’s really nice to read your post. Thanks for sharing the information.

  84. Charlotte 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful write up of your pilates instructor journey. I am currently practicing pilates, and I and exploring the idea of becoming a instructor myself as it is something I truly enjoy doing. Can I ask for your opinion on BASI Mat instructor training course? Is that a PMA certified course? And how will I know if the certification that I am getting is recognizable..

    Thank you!

    • Elisabeth Callahan 2 years ago

      Hi Charlotte! Robin recommends choosing a program that is recognized by the Pilates Method Alliance. I would suggest checking to see if BASI Mat instructor training course is recognized by the PMA. It also may be a good idea to speak to local instructors in your area (especially ones you’ve worked with and liked) in order to invite their opinions certification programs. Best wishes to you on your journey to become a Pilates instructor! πŸ™‚

  85. I enjoyed going to your webiste. I leave comments rarely, but
    you definately up deserve a thumbs!

  86. JQ 1 year ago

    Hi, great article! I wonder if you now might have some feedback on Club Pilates Instructor Training, please?


    • Elisabeth Callahan 1 year ago

      Hi JQ! Robin’s recommendations for certification programs are in the post above. She doesn’t have much experience with the Club Pilates training program. Good luck!

      • JQ 1 year ago

        If anyone has feedback, I’d appreciate it. Since they are now the number one franchise in the US!

        Anyway, I want to get certified, but now with all the lockdowns, there are no in person classes. How can I study while I have to stay home? Can you recommend an online course, just so I have something to study until the in person courses come back? It could be months!! Thanks!

        • Elisabeth Callahan 1 year ago

          Hi! Robin took all her classes in-person so don’t really know any online programs. Good luck!

  87. Aida 7 months ago

    The power pilates link u posted offers certification for mat pilates online. I know u said u dont recommend online which i agree with but do u think its online because of covid?
    Also do u know any places in the UK to get mat teacher certification.
    Thank u

    • Hi Aida! There may be more online offerings because of Covid. There are a few links under “a few that I highly recommend” that you may want to check out – Stott Pilates, for example, offers training in the UK!

  88. Melanie Cabrera 4 months ago

    I am currently studying for my Certified Personal Training license that I am test I g dor in April. I am looking at getting into pilates as well as I can see the benefits of offering both modalities to clients. I live in an area where we are still Covid Phase 1 so trying to see if online is even worth anything since there is no open schools/classes available. Any suggestions or recommendations? I have read all the posts in this thread and the responses and I am looking for more of a specific response rather than many of the repetitive ones. Thank you.

    • Hi Melanie! That’s so exciting that you’re studying for your Certified Personal Training license! πŸ‘ It’s difficult to say what direction would be best for you in your area. It might be helpful to first determine exactly what you personally want out of a certification (in addition to what is required) – then research which program best suits your needs and preferences. It may be a relatively long-term process – especially with Covid restrictions – but it’s better to choose a program that you truly enjoy and want to complete! πŸ™‚

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