Pilates instructors love what they do! They get to practice Pilates for a living while teaching others and are continually learning more about human anatomy and improving one’s physical health. If you have ever considered transforming your love for Pilates into a career and becoming a Pilates instructor, there are a few steps to take, including required hours of training from a Pilates Method Alliance-approved program.

At Sheppard Method Pilates, we offer both comprehensive and classical mat Pilates training programs to become a certified Pilates instructor. Read on for complete details to help you learn how to become a certified Pilates instructor!

Excited to learn more about how you can earn Pilates certification? Contact Sheppard Method Pilates in Westwood to learn more about our Pilates teacher training certification program!

1. Gain Experience with Pilates Classes

The first step to becoming a Pilates instructor, is to first take Pilates classes! Even if you have been practicing Pilates for some time, it is best to hit the mat and observe your instructors and participants to really get the feel of an instructor perspective and decide where your passion lies. Try out different classes and methods of Pilates you may not have tried before and take classes with as many different instructors as you can. Observe, practice, and get excited for step two!

2. Decide Your Pilates Route

Once you’ve decided to pursue a career teaching Pilates, you should choose your route to begin narrowing your specialization. There are two routes of Pilates:

  • Classical Pilates: Stays true to the original methods of Joseph Pilates, with some iterations that maintain Pilates fundamentals.
  • Contemporary Pilates: Pilates that has been modified and influenced by physical therapy to adapt to clients as needed, differing from instructor to instructor

3. Complete a Pilates Certification Program

All eligible Pilates training programs require 450 hours of study. This is usually accomplished over several months and includes lectures and learning the history of Pilates, hands-on personal training, self-mastery, and teaching practice. All coursework prepares you for the required exam for certification from the Pilates Method Alliance.

At Sheppard Method Pilates, we offer in-depth classical Pilates teaching training programs in Westwood that stay true to the ethos of Joseph Pilates’ original methodology. Programs are led by studio owner Risa Sheppard, a second-generation Pilates Master and passionate advocate of the Art of Pilates passed to her from Joseph Pilates disciple, Ron Fletcher, and Janine Venable-deZarn, our expert in anatomy. While technically a classical Pilates route, we train with an exploratory style that allows every participant to translate the classical Pilates method for themselves. This allows each instructor to explore their own style and methods so they can teach in a way that is authentically them.

There are a few options when selecting Sheppard Method Pilates teaching training program:

  • Group Teacher Training: a standard classroom setting, you’ll be taught in a group with other program participants
  • The Mentorship Program: this option includes one-on-one training with Risa and Janine

4. Take the National Pilates Certification (NPCP) Exam

Once you complete your full Teaching Training program you will be eligible to take the NCPC exam to gain official certification. The exam generally has an additional cost to your training program and will include both practical and written portions, including postural analysis and classical Pilates benchmarks. Your training program will help with preparation for the exam, and there are also additional preparation materials available from the NCPC.

5. Define Your Pilates Practice and Start Teaching!

After earning your Pilates certification through a program and testing, you are ready to start teaching! You may also want to narrow down your specialization beyond classical or contemporary. Defining your specialty as a Pilates instructor will qualify you for specific classes at studios and also reach clients interested in all the different types of Pilates.

There are endless ways to stand out and define yourself as a Pilates instructor. Some examples of specializations include:

  • Mat Pilates
  • Reformer Pilates
  • Cadillac Pilates
  • Prenatal and postpartum Pilates
  • Pilates for chronic pain
  • Pilates for athletes
  • Clinical Pilates (for surgery or injury rehabilitation)
  • HIIT and cardio Pilates

When you complete your certification program with Sheppard Method Pilates, we also help you find employment as a Pilates instructor, continuing to mentor and support you as a member of the Pilates studio. 

Call the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to register for our next Pilates teacher training program to become a certified Pilates instructor!