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What it's like to be a Pilates Instructor

Published on: 08/02/19

What it’s like to be a Pilates Instructor

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be on the other side of the mat? Turning your passion into your career is possible.

I trained 12 years ago and have never looked back. I was very active during my childhood; dancing, theatre school, in the athletics team, netball team and horse-riding. I loved being active, sporty and creative. Growing up I always thought I’d become a professional dancer however a knee injury prevented me from pursuing that route.

Instead after my MRI results I was advised to take up Pilates, in fact I was recommended to go to PATS PILATES. Little did they know this was my Mum’s studio. So at the age of 14 I joined my first class. I reaped the benefits quite quickly, the exercises helped to rehabilitate my knee injury and also gave my hypermobile joints more stability which enabled me to get back to my dancing and sports.

By the time I completed my A-Levels the Pilates Advanced Training School (PATS) was established so I signed up to the next course. I embarked on the full training course which took a year gaining both the Level 3 Mat Pilates qualification and Pilates Studio Equipment diploma. I loved the learning process and my background in dance helped to understand the movements. At times it was hard work but the end result was worth it and I was lucky to be training with likeminded students.

Once I was fully qualified I remember being so nervous to stand in front of a class and deliver a full hours class to paying clients! But as the weeks went on I found my teaching style which continues to develop through attending further training, courses & workshops. I compare it to learning to drive, it’s only when you’ve got your license and you are on the road without your driving instructor that the true learning begins.

Benefits of being a Pilates Instructor:

  • Rewarding - Pilates is known for its rehabilitative benefits, seeing the changes in your clients which helps to improve their lifestyle and manage their aches and pains is very rewarding. Definitely job satisfaction.
  • Flexible working hours - most Pilates Instructors are freelance therefore you can choose the hours you work to fit around your family and other commitments.
  • Be your own boss - whether you choose to teach freelance in studios/gyms or set up your own classes, the opportunities are endless.
  • Earning ability - You can earn between £15-£60 per hour outside of London and more within. Your annual salary will depend on where, when and what type of work you do, for instance if you set up your own classes and private clients.
  • Meeting the public - if you are a people person then this is the job for you.
  • Travel - the qualification allows you to work abroad and on retreats

Nowadays I mostly teach one to one clients in the fully equipped studio focusing on rehabilitation. I am so passionate about educating people about their bodies empowering them to understand their aches and pains and how they can manage it. The studio equipment allows me to deliver diverse and specialised programmes to those with all abilities.

I am so happy and lucky to have ventured onto this career path.

How to become a Pilates Instructor

If you’d like to become an instructor here are the steps to take:

  • Attend some classes - this is important for you to make sure you like the Pilates Method but also to gain some understanding of the repertoire.
  • Research a training provider - you’ll need to look for a reputable company who offer a Level 3 Diploma. PATS is based in Milton Keynes conveniently located 30mins from London.
  • Register for the course
  • Embark on the training - PATS Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates is accredited by YMCA and the learning process is part theory (eLearning) and 12 practical tuition days.
  • Assessments - to become qualified you’ll need to successfully pass the following: Level 2 theory exam (multiple choice), Level 3 A&P theory exam (multiple choice), complete a case study and teach a Pilates class.
  • Once you’ve received your qualifications you’ll be able to register with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals), get insurance/public liability and TEACH

Common Concerns

Many of our students come with the same concerns and worries about taking on the course.

Those who are changing their career often worry about having not had a background in the health & fitness industry. All students will start in the same place, our lesson plans ensure the tutors deliver the information you require at each stage of the course.

If you haven’t done any learning for a while it can be quite daunting to step out of your comfort-zone. We understand that everybody learns in different ways, therefore we incorporate many learning techniques that include practical, visual and theory based tasks to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident throughout the learning process.

Managing the workload is another common concern. With busy lives, family commitments and often work commitments many students worry about how they will fit in their studies. For this reason PATS encourage you to complete the theory element prior to starting the 12 practical days. The theory for the YMCA paper exams is all taught through eLearning, this means you can login when it suits you and your schedule. Once you’ve completed the eLearning you’ll sit the theory exams usually before starting the face to face tuition days - therefore you have one less thing to think about. The 12 tuition days are schedule once a week, giving you time between the tuition dates to complete homework, practice and read through the material of the previous training day.

How will you be supported? There are many ways in which you’ll gain support through the course:

  • Buddy up with other students - we encourage all students to swap phone numbers or emails to set up a group message. This way you can speak directly with each other between tuition dates.
  • Weekly check-in - your tutor will check in with you once a week to make sure you are on task and to assist with any queries you may have.
  • Additional manuals - you can purchase 2 YMCA manuals which are useful tools to aid with the eLearning.
  • Face to Face catch ups - every 4 weeks your tutor will schedule an informal one to one to check-in with you

If you have any questions about the teacher training course or would like to arrange a visit to PATS PILATES to see the learning environment, speak to some of the tutors and discuss the course in more details please contact us

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