Today’s article reviews a type of group fitness certification and class style that has become extremely popular worldwide.
And that’s Pilates.
I’ll discuss the following:
Now let’s begin exploring some of the best Pilates certification programs so that you can see which one works best for you!
|Pilates Certification Program||Pilates Certification Program||Features||Price|
|Balanced Body Pilates Instructor Training||Check Balanced Body Pricing|
|Basi Pilates Teacher Training Program||Check Basi Pricing|
|Power Pilates Comprehensive Program||Check Power Pilates Pricing|
|Core Pilates Comprehensive Immersion Course||Check Core Pilates Pricing|
|Peak Pilates Comprehensive Certification||Check Peak Pilates Pricing|
|Fletcher Pilates Comprehensive Program||Check Fletcher Pilates Pricing|
|Stott Pilates Comprehensive Program||Check Stott Pilates Pricing|
Introduction: What is Pilates?
Devised in the early 20th Century, Pilates is a fitness regime that helps to improve strength, endurance, stability, and flexibility in the human body.
This is done through a series of low-impact exercises that also incorporate alignment and breathing.
Also, various equipment pieces form part of the Pilates exercises.
While most training will start on a mat, Pilates equipment will speed up the ability of muscles to get stronger and stretch.
The equipment also helps to improve overall core strength and body alignment.
The great thing about Pilates is that the exercise routines can be easily modified depending on the level of the person doing them.
The intensity can also be increased as those practicing Pilates start to improve in fitness.
A Brief History of Pilates
Pilates was developed in Germany by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s.
Originally, he used the name “Contrology.”
Pilates said he came up with the idea for this form of exercise while he was held prisoner of war during the First World War.
He based his exercises on six core principles:
However, today, modern pilates has included more principles.
Classical Pilates Versus Contemporary Pilates: What’s the Difference?
In Pilates, there are two main concepts: classical and contemporary pilates.
So when it comes to choosing which Pilates instructor certification to obtain, you ought to keep this in mind.
Let’s explore the differences.
In classical Pilates education, all exercises and methods are based strictly on the concepts as devised by the founder of this form of exercise, Joseph Pilates.
That said, there are still some variations of the order of exercise as well as the exact way that Pilates wanted the exercises to be.
Another area to note with classical Pilates deals with the pelvis and where it is positioned during mat work.
This impacts abdominal exercises in particular where they are conducted with a posterior tilt.
In contemporary Pilates, a more modern approach has been applied to the exercise concepts first envisioned by Joseph Pilates.
Exercises used in contemporary Pilates are impacted by biomechanics as well as physical therapy.
While that means some of the exercises are the same as in classical Pilates, many more have also been added.
Contemporary Pilates is often used for injury rehabilitation as a result.
Also, in contemporary Pilates, the pelvis is in a more neutral position.
The Benefits of Pilates
While we have now looked at what Pilates is, it’s important for you to know its benefits as well, which include:
- Provides whole-body fitness
- It can be adapted to anyone
- Strengthens muscles without bulking them up
- Enhances posture
- Improves muscle flexibility
- Builds incredible core strength
- It may help increase weight loss
- It helps increase the mind-body connection
- It helps improve muscle imbalances
Accredited Pilates Certification Programs
There are many different Pilates certifications, so, therefore, I’ll outline a few which are highly reputable and accredited by the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).
Founded in 2001, the PMA is a non-profit professional association.
Their only mission is to advance the Pilates profession and to promote and perpetuate the teachings of its founders, Joseph and Clara Pilates.
Most certification programs actually have some prerequisites to fulfill before you can sign up for the course.
Like other careers in the fitness industry, finding the right Pilates training program can be somewhat daunting.
So, I definitely suggest you take your time and do your homework.
Eventually, you’ll come up with something that will benefit you in the long run.
So let’s take a look at a few nationally recognized pilates certifications for you to consider!
Balanced Body Pilates Instructor Training
Balanced Body Pilates has training centers in over 50 countries around the world and offers four separate training certifications:
- Mat Instructor Training
- Reformer Instructor Training
- Mat And Reformer Instructor Training
- Comprehensive Instructor Training
I want to specifically focus on the first mat pilates certification, which consists of four modules.
These are Movement Principles and Mat 1, 2, and 3.
To sign-up for this course, you would need to complete the following prerequisites:
- At least 10 mat sessions of Pilates
- Worked for 6 months in a similar field of movement
- Completion of at least one anatomy course
Here is a comprehensive breakdown of this program as follows in terms of length:
- Movement Principles (16 hours)
- Mat 1 (16 hours)
- Mat 2 (16 hours)
- Mat 3 (16 hours)
- 20 personal mat sessions
- 15 hours of observation
- 35 student teaching hours
That’s an overall time of 134 hours.
The good news is that the Balanced Body curriculum meets the national guidelines and is designed to prepare you for the PMA certification exam.
To obtain official certification, you must take two exams, a practical and a written one.
I’ll explain how this works.
First, the practical exam will test your teaching skills in the following areas:
- Class structure
- Client safety
- Appropriateness of the exercises to the client or class
- Understanding and applying of the core principles
- Cueing and communication
If you fail your first attempt, Balanced Body will discuss areas you’ll need to focus on to pass and set up a timeline for completion.
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Second, the written exam combines multiple-choice, short-answer questions and essays.
You’ll cover exercise progressions, programming, appropriateness, organization, equipment, special populations, and client safety.
Be sure to check the Balanced Body website for accurate prices and fees.
Completed all of your requirements?
Your certificate of completion will be issued promptly, and on top of that, you’ll be listed on the Balanced Body website as a qualified Balanced Body Pilates Instructor.
Overall, this course is a great entry point, that’s for sure.
Basi Pilates Teacher Training Program
With over 25 years of experience in Pilates training, Basi Pilates offers two specific training certifications, which are:
- Mat Training
- Comprehensive Training (split into a U.S and global option)
Let’s look into the Comprehensive Training certification.
This is split into two sections: the Foundation Program and the Graduate Program, which follows it.
The former focuses on mat exercises as well as an introduction to some equipment training, while the latter focuses on the full range of equipment.
The modules in Foundation Training are:
- Anatomy Overview Parts I and II
- Posture Assessment
- Core Strength: Back and Abdominals
- Exercise Adaptation
The modules in Graduate Training are:
- Muscle Balance and Imbalance
- Lower Limbs
- The Shoulder
- Program Design
- Specific Populations I and II
There are no particular prerequisites listed to partake in these programs.
And these courses take place over a span of 3 to 6 months.
At this time, you’ll need to attend between 3 to 6 weekends to complete the coursework.
The Foundation Program costs $2,199, and the Graduate Program costs $1,999.
Additional fees are charged for studio work as well as final testing.
If you enroll in both programs simultaneously, then you will receive a $200 discount.
Both national and international Basi students are only eligible to sign up for the Final Teaching Evaluation and Final Practical Exam upon fulfillment of the following requirements:
- Attending all the modules
- Scored 70% or higher on the online written exam(s)
- Completion of Observation, Self Practice, and Student Teaching Hours
- Submission of Student Paper (Comprehensive students only)
There are three types of exams given during any of the Basi training programs:
- Teaching Evaluation
While the written exams taken online may be retaken immediately until passed, those taken with pen and paper may be retaken later.
If you do not pass your final practical exam, teaching evaluation, or both, you may retake these exams later.
Note there will be additional fees.
Remember that if you pass one portion but not the other, you will only need to retake the portion you did not pass.
Most students in this program felt very well prepared to work and are more than grateful for what Basi has to offer!
Power Pilates Comprehensive Program
Although Power Pilates is based in New York, they offer this course throughout the whole United States.
This Pilates instructor certification course covers the classical discipline in three separate levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Additionally, the course also covers special populations, such as overweight clients as well as pregnant women.
It includes the use of various apparatuses such as the magic circle, barrels, Cadillac, reformer, mat, and more.
To sign up for the comprehensive course, you will need to meet the following prerequisites:
- At least 25 apparatus sessions in a classic Pilates environment
- Completed two other courses offered by Power Pilates – Core Mat I & II
- Read the Joseph Pilates book, “The Pilates Prier: Millenium Edition – Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health.”
- Within a two-year period before taking this course, you’ll need to have done a Basics of Anatomy workshop from Power Pilates, which can be completed online
If you live in New York, the program will take between 6 to 9 months to complete.
If you live in another state, expect between 6 to 12 months.
This includes 600 hours in total comprising lessons, unique weekend intensive (of which there are 5 in total), as well as apprenticeship prerequisites to complete the course.
The cost of this course is $4,995.
While that price may seem pretty steep, there’s no denying that this is a highly comprehensive offering.
Take a look at what you’ll get:
- Coursework, including a manual
- Relevant exams, as well as a single retest where needed
- Apprenticeship hours (including practice teaching)
Core Pilates Comprehensive Immersion Course
Based in New York, Core Pilates has a wide range of courses on offer.
Their Immersion course is the most comprehensive one that I would recommend and is both hands-on and online.
It is broken down into the following six components over a six-month period:
- An online pre-study course, which includes videos, quizzes, and other preparatory coursework
- Beginner’s module, which includes plenty of theoretical work as well as a live studio apprenticeship
- An intermediate module that includes private “feedback” classes
- Advanced reformer module
- Various workshops, including special case and small equipment discussions
- Final exam prep
During all of these modules, hands-on apprenticeship training is carried out, and your overall knowledge is tested through two exams.
According to the website, there are several prerequisites that need to be completed before you sign up for the Comprehensive Immersion Course, which includes:
- 10 private apparatus classes
- 10 semi-private apparatus classes
- 10 regular apparatus classes
But these are not part of the pricing for this program.
This six-month course is highly comprehensive, with all lessons included.
It also consists of 600 hours of apprenticeship done in a Pilates studio.
As you can see, this course covers so many aspects of classical pilates.
I also love the fact that parts of it are done online.
The thing is, it’s not the cheapest of pilates courses out there.
As far as pricing is concerned, here are your options:
- One-time payment – $5795 ($500 off!)
- 3 Monthly payments of $2098.33 – $6294.99
Here’s what you’ll get:
- Access to all the online material, including manuals, videos, and written coursework for life
- All certification exam fees are included (but not re-tests – those will cost an additional amount)
- 600 hours of live studio apprenticeship
- 6 extensive Pilates modules
- Access to mentors/coaches
Finally, you can claim “certified” only by sitting for the independent third-party exam administered by the PMA.
Peak Pilates Comprehensive Certification
The Comprehensive Certification from Peak Pilates includes a modular program incorporating three levels of learning.
These cover core Pilates principles like the mat, reformer, barrels, tower, chairs, and other supplementary equipment.
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There is a heavy emphasis on the integrated movement system that Joseph Pilates envisaged.
Peak Pilates certifications are offered around the country in most major centers or close to them.
For now, I think it’s necessary to show you a breakdown of the three different levels of training and the modules they include.
Level 1: This includes four modules which are broken down as follows:
- Module 1: Foundation – An introduction to Pilates principles (20 hours)
- Module 2: Introduction to apparatus such as the reformer machine, barrel, and more (20 hours)
- Module 3: Beginner/Intermediate apparatus includes more work on the reformer and other added apparatus, as well as how to structure a session (20 hours)
- Module 4: Teaching Pilates, techniques and assessments include final apparatus instructions as well as self-practice (20 hours)
Students who complete Level 1 must have 120 logged hours and pass all assessments.
Level 2: This includes two modules: They are made up of the following:
- Module 1: Mat – Intermediate (20 hours)
- Module 2: Chairs and Barrels – Intermediate (20 hours)
Students who complete Level 2 must log 60 hours and pass all assessments.
Level 3: This includes four modules:
- Module 1: Advanced Level Mat and Equipment (reformer and cadillac) – (20 hours)
- Module 2: Advanced Level Equipment (auxiliary, chairs, and barrels) – (20 hours)
- Module 3: Final Assessment (take place over a day)
Students who complete Level 3 must log 60 hours and pass all assessments.
If you sign up for Level 1 of this course, here are the few prerequisites that you’ll need:
- General understanding of kinesiology and human anatomy
- 20 hours of Pilates training
- Hold current and valid CPR/AED and First Aid certifications
Although each module takes place over a weekend, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact program length because it depends on where you live and the schedules that these modules are run on.
That said, each module is run from a Friday to a Sunday, and in terms of hours, you’ll need to log around 400 hours in total, as outlined in the three levels and nine modules.
While the total cost for this course is $5,619, please note that each module is paid for separately.
- Level 1 Module 1,2,3 – $685 each (Total = $2055)
- Level 1 Module 4 – $599
Level 1 overall total: $2654
- Level 2 Module 1,2 – $685 each (Total = $1370)
Level 2 overall total: $1370
- Level 3 Module 1,2 – $685 each (Total =$1370)
- Level 3 Module 3 – $225
Level 3 overall total: $1595
All course materials are included in the price of each module.
Fletcher Pilates Comprehensive Program
Fletcher Pilates was started by Ron Fletcher, considered to be one of the forerunners of the discipline in the United States.
Sadly, Fletcher passed away in 2011, but his extensive knowledge of Pilates can be found in the Comprehensive Program.
This classical Pilates certification program is offered in various studios around the country.
In fact, studios interested in hosting a course can contact Fletcher Pilates to come and run one.
The Comprehensive Pilates certification program is comprised of three modules:
- Preparatory Course
- Foundational Program
- Professional Program
There is also a bridge program for students who have other certifications but would like to study their comprehensive pilates instructor program as well.
Let’s dive deeper into each of the three modules!
Firstly, the Preparatory Course provides an overall view of what exactly the Comprehensive Progam includes.
And it’s practical, so each student will learn to partake in each of the exercises they will learn to teach in the Foundational Program.
This is a 30-hour course.
Secondly, we have the Foundational Course.
The core part of the Fletcher Pilates Comprehensive program the Foundational course classroom sessions, casework, practical studies, anatomy studies, and more.
Students who have completed this course are certified to train others in Pilates.
Lastly, there’s the Professional Program, and once a student has passed, they are considered to be a professional Pilates instructor.
The Professional Program includes classroom sessions, casework, anatomy, and practical studies.
All students interested in participating in the Comprehensive Program must first complete 30 private lessons so as to learn important Pilates concepts through their own bodies first.
A bridging course must be completed by already certified Pilates trainers with other forms of accreditation who want to undertake the Comprehensive Program.
As you would expect, for such comprehensive training, there are hundreds of hours that a student will put in to become a certified Fletcher Pilates instructor.
Here’s a breakdown.
The Preparatory Course is a review of the whole syllabus, as well as practical aspects of Pilates.
It will take 30 hours to complete.
The Foundational Course takes 10 months to complete and includes 600 hours of training.
The core of this is classroom sessions (120 hours) and practical participation (140 hours) but it also includes anatomy studies, casework, observing and assisting, and more.
You will attend four 5-day sessions in a classroom as well as have 3-hours each week of anatomy study as well as homework.
Over and above that, each week also includes 10 to 12 hours of practicals and casework.
The Professional Course takes an estimated 8 months to complete and includes 400 hours of training.
This comprises classroom sessions (120 hours), observing and practical work (120 hours), and casework (90 hours) as the main sections.
Others include mentoring, anatomy study as well as homework.
You will attend four 5-day courses in a classroom as well as cover anatomy studies for 3 hours each week.
There are also 10 to 12 hours spent on practicals each week.
Most graduates would agree that when it comes to Pilates studies, this course was as comprehensive as it gets.
And for that reason, it is pretty expensive.
So expensive it’ll set you back $10,000!
You cover the Foundational and Professional Programs as well as all the coursework associated with both of them.
There are some additional aspects to consider, too.
For example, as I mentioned prior, you will need to complete the Preparatory Course before you are allowed to sign up for the Comprehensive Course.
And that costs $1,500.
You would also need to complete 30 private lessons, currently $70 per session.
Students who graduated from this program claim it to be one of the best choices they’ve made in their entire lives!
Stott Pilates Comprehensive Program
Our last certification is the Comprehensive Program from Stott Pilates.
This full-time course includes two modules that cover mat work as well as equipment which are:
- Comprehensive Mat Work and Reformer
- Comprehensive Cadillac, Chairs and Barrels
Once these modules are completed and the relevant exams passed, students are now Stott Pilates certified instructors.
To be eligible for the Comprehensive Program, there are two basic prerequisites:
- Some experience in the world of movement, fitness, or even dance
- Completed 30 hours of Pilates classes
The length of the two programs is as follows:
- Comprehensive Mat Work and Reformer – 12 to 15 weeks, at which point an apprenticeship period follows
- Comprehensive Cadillac, Chairs, and Barrels – 8 weeks, at which point an apprenticeship period follows
The costs for these two modules on the Comprehensive program are $2,890 for Comprehensive Matwork & Reformer and $1,520 for Comprehensive Cadillac, Chair & Barrels.
This does not include coursework, which needs to be bought separately.
Coursework includes workbooks and DVDs.
All other necessary materials are supplied.
I think this is a great course to get your Pilates certification, and it’s not as expensive as some others.
But that may be because you need to buy your own study materials.
As far as examinations go, you have a written and a practical exam.
For the written exam, you have the option to take it in person at a training center or proctored.
Then, there’s the practical exam.
This exam can be submitted by DVD, USB stick/key, or secured link.
The purpose of the practical exam is to observe you as you lead a client or class through a workout.
You must be familiar with the Stott Pilates repertoire covered in the exam and be capable of performing the required exercises.
The videotaped workout will be one hour for the Matwork or Reformer exam, 1.5 hours for the Matwork & Reformer exam, and 2 hours for the Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels exam.
You must take your exam within six months of completing your last Stott Pilates education course.
To pass, you must receive an average of 80% on both the written and the practical and achieve a minimum of 75% on each portion.
Also, exam prices will vary depending on region and location.
Pilates Instructor Continuing Education and Recertification
If you want to keep your certification alive, which I would totally recommend to you as you instruct, it’s important to maintain your continuing education credits (CEUS).
This is done by taking continuing education courses, attending workshops and webinars, and even volunteering!
Note that each certification differs in terms of CEU requirements, so let me break it down for you below.
I’ll go in order.
Firstly, a Balanced Body requires 16 hours of continuing education every 2 years.
Listing on the Balanced Body website provides exposure to a variety of sources, including potential students, clients, or employers.
Secondly, BASI Pilates does not require CEUs to keep a certificate, meaning that once earned, it’s always honored.
Next, the Power Pilates Assessment-Based Certificate (ABC) expires every two years.
So you will be required to complete a certain number of Power Pilates continuing education courses prior to expiration.
You renew by the number of credits of your highest level:
- 6 CEUs – Core Mat I, II or III
- 6 CEUs – Complete Mat
- 10 CEUs – Reformer I, II or III
- 10 CEUs – Tower I or II
- 12 CEUs – System I or II
- 15 CEUs – Comprehensive, Bridge, or System III
Although you can obtain non-Power Pilates CEUS, keep in mind, these would only be limited to the following four categories:
- Art of Teaching
Below are the current renewal fees:
- $50 – on-time renewals
- $100 – late renewals (0-6 months past due)
- $250 – extremely late renewals (6+ months past due)
Moreover, Core Pilates requires graduates of the program to complete at least 6 CEUs per year either through Core Pilates NYC’s offerings or at other accredited studios and conferences.
Peak Pilates requires certified instructors to complete a minimum of 14 CEUs every 2 years to maintain their certification.
The Stott Pilates Comprehensive Program requires its graduates to obtain six hours of Merrithew CEUs (0.6) annually to maintain certification.
To do this review, I used my personal knowledge and research of each Pilates instructor certification.
Based on my years of experience in the group fitness industry, I assessed how well each Pilates curriculum prepares you for this demand.
Pricing and other information are taken from the providers themselves to give you a full-spectrum comparison of these certifications.
Pilates Instructor Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I hope you enjoyed this piece on my 7 best Pilates instructor certifications as much as I enjoyed doing the research!
Now, I leave it entirely up to you to do your research and pick the Pilates certification course that best resonates with you.
The good news is that a decent certification will teach you everything you need to know, including the practical aspects.
And it’s not difficult to find, so if you’re still undecided on which certification is best for you, then take the quiz and explore!
Best wishes to you as you embark on your exciting career!