It can be overwhelming to decide which kind of Pilates teacher training program is right for you, but it is one of the most important professional decisions you will make. Choosing a career as a Pilates teacher begins with selecting the type of education that will set you up for success.


The educational sector of the Pilates industry offers a variety of options for a prospective student to choose from. Based on the curriculum they offer, these programs fall distinctly into two categories: those that teach a single aspect of the Pilates method, e.g., Mat, Reformer, or a particular proficiency level of the material and more comprehensive training programs that teach all levels of all exercises on Mat and apparatus (Reformer, Trapeze Table, Chairs, Barrels, Spine Corrector and Magic Circle).


While completing a single-focus teacher training program is a great starting point in a new career, it can limit both your job search options and the type of clients you will be able to teach. Proficiency in a portion of Pilates may open doors for you, but you’ll have a longer-term, more expansive and marketable career with comprehensive training. Graduating from a comprehensive teacher training program will ensure that you possess the broad scope of knowledge and credentials needed to not only land your first job, but to build and expand your career as a Pilates professional for years to come.


It is possible to learn how to effectively teach the full Mat repertoire by taking a well-structured course. Similarly, you can become an expert at teaching a single piece of Pilates apparatus or a particular level of proficiency. However, a comprehensive program offers you the opportunity to learn, understand and connect the relationships that exist among all the components of Pilates that make it a complete and cohesive system of exercises.


So, why is it so important to be comprehensively trained?


As a Pilates teacher, you will meet a variety of clients whose level of fitness and body/mind connection vary greatly. To reach their highest potential, clients typically require a comprehensive approach to practicing Pilates, using Mat, the support and the challenge of springs and pulleys and small apparatus. The key is to offer clients the type of movement session ideally suited for their needs, and not simply the one you are capable of teaching. As a comprehensively trained teacher, you will have the ability to look at the body as a whole and create a teaching strategy that adapts to client’s working level at any given time.

Comprehensive programs range from 450 hours to 1000 hours of training (the Pilates Method Alliance recommends a minimum of 450 hours). Despite any difference in the number of hours offered, all comprehensive programs have the following in common: an in-depth analysis of how to teach the exercises on the Mat, Reformer, Trapeze Table, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector, Magic Circle and other small apparatus. They present Pilates as a logical and cohesive link system that exists within the material and connects Mat repertoire to the apparatus. They teach the history, philosophy and fundamental concepts that make Contrology a stand-alone movement discipline.


As a student of a comprehensive program, you will gain insights into the intrinsic aspects of the movement of a human body by observing it perform the exercises on all the apparatus and on the Mat. You will not only develop a keen eye and good judgment about how to guide a healthy and fit body to achieve uniform development, you will also learn how to safely modify and adapt the exercises to meet the needs of clients with injuries or medical conditions.


Comprehensive programs provide you with ample time to absorb, understand and practice what you learn. You will have the opportunity to observe experienced teachers work with a variety of clients so you learn how to properly assess, cue, encourage, and safely modify exercises for your own clients. And by allotting sufficient time for self-practice (supervised and unsupervised), you will boost your newly acquired knowledge, discover how to maximize your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.


Learning how to become a comprehensively trained Pilates teacher is a process that requires time, but it is an investment that will pay off for years to come. You’ll have the skills to teach anyone and the ability to offer highly customized services.


Whether your ultimate goal is to become a Pilates studio owner, mentor, educator or consultant, a comprehensive education offers you wonderful options for growth and success.


To learn more about PSAP-approved schools that offer comprehensive Pilates training programs, click here.

Joanna Telacka, NCPT,

Owner of Harmonious Pilates