How do I Earn a Pilates Instructor Certification?

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  • Written By: A. Gabrenas
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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The exact requirements for earning a Pilates instructor certification often vary with the program offering the certification. Some programs may have prerequisites that must be completed before beginning the certification program, such as attending a certain number of Pilates classes. In most cases, after meeting any prerequisites, students must usually then take an instructor course, apprentice with a certified instructor, and pass a certification exam to earn instructor certification. Specialized forms, such as Reformer or cardio Pilates, may require additional training.

Basic Pilates instructor certification usually refers to mat Pilates certification. Mat Pilates is one of the simplest forms of the exercise done mostly on a floor mat, with one’s own body weight providing resistance. It generally does not involve other forms of equipment, such as a Pilates Reformer, which creates resistance through the use of pulleys and ropes.

Mat Pilates instructor certification is offered by many certification and personal trainer programs. Students may have to apply to be accepted into some programs, though many others offer open enrollment. Most programs require students to have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology and some experience with or knowledge of Pilates exercises. Once these and any other prerequisites are met and a student is accepted into a certification program, if applicable, he or she can usually begin course. This may involve attending classes or working on a study-at-home program.


Upon completion of the Pilates instructor course, students are often required to complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is when a student works with a certified Pilates instructor to learn more about how these classes are run and exercises are performed. In general, it involves periods of observing, helping and teaching under the guidance of the certified instructor. This phase of Pilates instructor certification may take up to 600 hours to complete, depending on the program. Even programs that don’t require formal apprenticeship still usually require students to attend a set number of Pilates classes after completing the instructor course.

At the end of the apprenticeship or when the required classes have been attended, students must usually then pass a set of exams. Exams may be written, practical or a combination of both. Success on these exams is generally required to receive official instructor certification.

Students seeking other certifications, such as Reformer or cardio Pilates instructor certification, must usually first complete basic mat Pilates instructor certification. Then, they are often required to take additional courses related to the specialty they wish to pursue. They may also need to complete more hours of apprenticeship and pass additional exams.



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