How To Find a Job After Graduating From a Pilates Teacher Training Program
If you are reading this, you may be wondering what a career as a Pilates teacher looks like. The truth is, a Pilates career path isn’t as structured or clear as say, the one of a dentist or lawyer. For many of you, this may be a little daunting, frustrating or ambiguous but what is exciting about choosing to pursue a career as a Pilates teacher is that it is freeing. You get to choose what your ideal path looks like. The biggest prerequisite is that you love teaching Pilates.
So, where do you start?
Ask yourself if you are willing to work weekends, early mornings and evenings. Most people exercise at these times and that’s when they want to take classes. The choice is yours but it will take longer to build your business if you choose not to teach at the peak times.
Spend some time discovering what lights you up and inspires you. Find what you love to teach and build from there. The great thing about a Pilates teaching career is that your age and background don’t matter. Everyone brings unique qualities into the teaching arena.
During your training
Don’t wait for your program to finish before exploring what inspires you the most. Take the opportunity while you are studying to attend classes at a variety of studios or online. Think about what you liked about the style of teaching, what resonated for you and what didn’t. Try and figure out how you would do things if it was your business. If you find a studio that ticks all the boxes for you, approach them. Ask if they have teaching hours for new teachers. You may get lucky but it is not always that easy.
After your training
If you would like a career as a Pilates teacher, you have a few options. You can look for a part-time position, a full-time job at an existing studio, or set up your own place. Whatever you decide, try working at a few different studios. This gives you time to learn how different studios operate. You will gain valuable insight into how you want to set up your business or what type of studio you would love to work at.
Most training programs assume that graduates want to work for themselves. It is unusual for a studio to have a full time position available, but not unheard of. There is also the option of working abroad but these contracts take months to organize. There are some international companies, often based in the Middle-East, that recruit qualified Pilates teachers and that have full-time positions available (approx. 30 hours/week). Most of them will expect you to have at least 2-3 years precious working experience and they will ask for references.
Before accepting any position, take the time to ask if anyone has had dealings with the employer in the past. There are a few good social media groups you can join that are great sources of information.
Many of the training organizations have job boards you can scroll through or look at local job sites. Visit the PMA's website too.
You can also make an appointment to speak to studio owners in your area. Meet them and ask about work or studio rental if you cannot afford your own equipment yet. In the beginning, it is most likely that you will pick up part time hours at a variety of studios.
Setting yourself apart
Do you have a particular skill set such as dance, horse riding or some form of athletic training? You could consider offering your services or classes to local schools or studios. You can also approach companies and put together a wellness package for their staff. This will need you to travel to your classes, so reliable transport will be essential. You could also teach private or small group classes at people’s homes or set up an online business.
As with every business venture, it is tricky to get it right the first time. If you decide to go your own way, make sure you have some business skills to back up your decisions. Think about investing in a good coach or mentor to help you build the business you want. You need someone with experience to help guide you. In the long run, it will save you heaps of time and money.
Budget, budget, budget
Having enough money to live the life you want is very important. Before starting out on your own, you need to take a hard look at your expenses and you need to know how much you need to earn. You also have to figure out how many hours a week are necessary to build the life you want. Pilates is not an easy way to make money; be prepared to work hard and know that some years will be harder than others. Keep in mind that you might have to pay for your own health insurance and retirement plan. You should also build a contingency plan into your calculations for unexpected events.
Then, remember that teaching requires energy. About 25 to 30 hours per week will be the most you can teach while staying motivated.
If you don’t know how to budget, make an appointment with a budgeting service. You can also ask your accountant to help you. Once you have a number, you can decide what to charge for your services. Then, do some research into what other studios are charging in your area. This will tell you if you are pricing what the market will pay.
Keep your costs down
Renting a commercial space is expensive. You will need a big space with many pieces of Pilates equipment. You may have to find qualified staff or hire contractors. Make no mistake, this is a business as well as a heart decision. Running a big commercial space is time consuming. You need to love business as much as teaching Pilates. If you don’t, consider choosing a different business model. Maybe you would be happier working from home; you could also rent space at an existing studio, travel to your clients or teach online.
Your wellness counts
Whatever you decide to do, make sure to schedule time into your week for activities that make you happy. You will need to fill your tank with new energy and enthusiasm. We get into the Pilates teaching business because we love Pilates. We also want to help people feel better in their bodies but if you don’t make time to rest and re-energize, you run the risk of no longer enjoying what you were so passionate about.
I have made a living from Pilates for the past 26 years and I would not choose to live life any other way. I wish you all the very best with your life as a Pilates teacher. May it be a beautiful one.