Online Pilates Certification Programs

Although online Pilates certification programs are rare, alternative training is available at colleges and universities. Read on to learn more about available programs, certification requirements, topics of study, job options and salaries. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do Online Pilates Certification Programs Exist?

You can find information about Pilates certification online, but distance education programs in the field are rare because of the physical nature of Pilates. Many colleges and universities offer on-campus credit and non-credit certificate programs that can prepare you to become an assistant instructor or to test for national certification through the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), a non-profit Pilates organization. You can take PMA's Certified Pilates Teacher exam at designated testing centers.

Program OptionsCertificate programs offered on-campus because of physical nature of Pilates
Certification Requirements450 hours of formal training or 720 hours of teaching experience, observation hours, practice time, apprenticeship
Common TopicsBasic anatomy, principles of Pilates, basic mat exercises, dynamic motion, use of Pilates equipment
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% job growth for fitness trainers and instructors*
Median Annual Salary (2018)$39,820 for fitness trainers and instructors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What are the Requirements for Becoming Certified?

To become nationally certified as a Pilates instructor, you must have at least 450 hours of documented formal training or 720 hours of experience as a Pilates teacher within a recent 12-month period. Most training programs prepare you to become a Pilates mat instructor. You typically will be required to complete a minimum number of hours of observation and practice time at approved facilities. Some programs also might require completion of an apprenticeship.

What Will I Learn?

Pilates training programs cover the principles of Pilates, including core stabilization and powerhouse principles. Usually, you also will study resistance work, basic mat exercises and dynamic motion. Coursework includes basic anatomy and study of bones and joints. You may learn movement terms, as well as body conditioning and movement exercises. Your program also might address use of Pilates equipment, methods in providing step-by-step instruction and client assessment.

Where Can I Use My Certification?

As a nationally certified Pilates instructor, you can teach Pilates at private studios, health clubs, recreational centers or your own studio. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of fitness trainers and instructors, including Pilates instructors, was expected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026. The median salary for fitness trainers and instructors in 2018 was $39,820 (

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