Q&A on Teacher Training

By Laura B. Williams – October 2, 2021

Teachers and owners shared their thoughts on what makes a great teacher and the qualities you need for developing a new career or side gig as a yoga, Pilates, or barre instructor. Read the full article in the October Issue.

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How do I find work as a new teacher?

“Go in with as much clarity about how things work — especially scheduling clients and payment processes,” says Brook Bowersock, Align Pilates. “Ask questions like ‘Am I responsible for my own clients? My own booking? How many hours are expected?’ I teach my students to set boundaries for themselves and take care of themselves in this process. New teachers will have to do the harder shifts for a while, such as early mornings and evenings.”

What are studios looking for in teachers?

“Ideally we want teachers with experience in group fitness and some dance background. Musicality is important in this class. Teachers come from diverse backgrounds – Pilates, spin instructors, dance fitness. Yoga teachers do well, too.” Lisa O’Neill, Pure Barre Southwest Austin

“I want teachers to be comfortable teaching people from all different backgrounds, whether they are injured or athletic, or have conditions like osteoporosis or scoliosis, or are pregnant. A good communicator can challenge our clients, be creative, and it doesn’t matter which training program you came from if you have those qualities.” Beth Hernandez, B Pilates

“Pilates is about our clients being empowered and at home in their bodies. Teaching is really an ongoing conversation about their plan to achieve their goals. Maybe that’s getting on the floor to play with their grandkids or being able to get up and down off the floor easily.” Beth Dukleth, Pilates South Austin.

How much training? How do I choose a program?

“Find a program that is accepted as preparation for the National Pilates Certification Program, then be a constant learner. Always learn new techniques, new cueing, new exercises, never just relying on what’s in the manual. If you are thinking of adding this as a second job or a side hustle, don’t feel the pressure to do it quickly.” Beth Hernandez, B Pilates.

“Be wary of any program that says their way is the only way. Learn how to program movement for the body that’s in front of you, any age, whether they have an injury or they’re an elite athlete.” Kari Levassar, Pilates South Austin

How long between finishing training and beginning to teach? 

In all programs trainees begin by teaching each other. Pilates and yoga training programs may vary but generally trainees may start teaching privates after completing 50 to 100 hours of training. Brand-specific Pilates and barre studio training usually require test out before group classes.

“If you don’t have any intention to teach, you come out knowing more about yourself and your body. The heart of yoga, the jewel of yoga, is cultivating presence and a relationship with your body. You start to realize that it’s more of a friendship,” yoga teacher Paradise Taylor says.

On average, how long does it take for students to earn certification? 

Yoga: Four-month commitment at the 200-hour level and a yearlong commitment at the 300-hour level. C-IAYT Yoga Therapy Program two years 

Pilates: about two years to complete all modules and requirements including observation, personal integration, apprenticeship, and practice teaching hours, plus testing; mat only – could do it in 3-6 months. 

Barre: about 10 weeks to complete 100 hours of brand specific training

Average costs of training

  • Pilates Comprehensive Certifications: $4,700 and up, or approximately $500 per module; paid teaching opportunities as apprentice teacher.
  • Barre Certification: Brand-specific training usually paid by studio owner.
  • Yoga Certification: averages $500-$750 per 50 hours of training; paid teaching opportunities at 200 hours.

“We strongly believe that yoga, mindfulness, and yoga therapy should be authentic, accessible, and affordable,” says Michelle Young, My Vinyasa Practice


About the Author

Laura Williams smiling.

 Laura Bond Williams is a certified Pilates teacher and professional life coach helping clients discover new ways of moving through life with ease and awareness. She loves a good Broadway dance class or “Thriller” flash mob and is happy to take the stage anywhere, from the Long Center to a parking lot.


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