Teacher Training FAQ

MOVE Wellness offers a comprehensive Pilates instructor training program in our Ann Arbor, MI, studio. Led by experienced Program Director Elaine Economou, our program is designed to teach you the repertoire for all of the Pilates equipment, develop your skills with hands-on experience, and prepare you for the National Pilates Certification Program Exam in a supportive and encouraging environment. 

To make Pilates training as accessible as possible, we offer a variety of payment options, including scholarship, work study, and payment plans.

Check out our FAQ below for more information on our program and contact us for a free, one-on-one consultation. We’re happy to talk through any more questions you may have!

Who can participate in teacher training?

Anybody with a passion for movement. 

Pilates trainers can be any age, gender, body size, or body type. Some trainers have backgrounds in dance, gymnastics, and other athletics. Some trainers had no prior connection to sports or movement systems before discovering Pilates. Many have worked as physical therapists and fitness professionals. Others have worked as teachers, lawyers, or librarians and come from a range of unrelated fields. What they all have in common is an understanding of what Pilates can do for a person’s health and wellbeing, and a desire to share it with others.

Anyone interested in pursuing professional training and work as a Pilates instructor should be self-motivated, enthusiastic about Pilates as a movement system, and committed to obtaining professional certification and building their career.

You must be 18 or older to participate. We do consider motivated candidates of high school age, but you must be 18 to sit for the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) exam

We recommend seeking out as much personal experience with Pilates as possible prior to beginning the MOVE Instructor Training (MIT) program. Instructor candidates can join our MOVE Prep program in the months leading up to the training program. 

The MOVE Prep program allows you to take unlimited online classes and weekly private sessions through MOVE at a reduced rate with the goal of increasing your strength, stamina, and knowledge of Pilates before starting your instructor training. Anyone who has committed to joining the instructor training program by completing the MIT application and paying the tuition deposit of $500 can join the prep program.

How do I apply for the program?

Anyone interested in pursuing the MIT program should begin by completing an online application. Courses run annually in September and January. *Please note that our training program is in-person only in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Once we’ve reviewed your information, our program manager will contact you to schedule an in-person or Zoom interview. 

If you would like to enroll in our prep program to gain experience prior to instructor training, you will need to enroll in the main MIT program first and pay the $500 tuition deposit. For anyone not doing the prep program first, you will need to pay the tuition deposit six weeks before the program begins AND you should complete at least 60 hours of Pilates work (in-person classes, private sessions, online instruction) on your own prior to the first day of the program.

What should I do to prepare for the program?

Develop as much personal experience with and knowledge of Pilates as possible.

We recommend having at least 60 hours of experience practicing Pilates before starting the MIT program. This experience can include in-person classes, private lessons, and online instruction from a variety of places. Your goal should be to develop your knowledge base and increase your repertoire as much as possible. 

Anyone committed to joining the MIT program who wants to build stamina, strength, and experience prior to starting can enroll in the MOVE Prep program. The prep program allows you to take unlimited online classes and weekly private sessions through MOVE at a reduced rate with the goal of increasing your strength, stamina, and knowledge of Pilates before starting instructor training. Anyone who has committed to joining the instructor training program by completing the MIT application and paying the tuition deposit of $500 can join the prep program. 

Beyond the recommended 60 hours of basic experience, the best way to prepare for Pilates instructor training is to immerse yourself in Pilates as a movement system and professional field of study.

Learn by taking classes and private instruction with several different instructors, taking note of their individual approaches to teaching and practicing Pilates.

Familiarize yourself with reputable Pilates resources such as professional websites, articles, and blogs.

Watch videos of different Pilates instruction.. In addition to videos available through MOVE and other websites, there are tons of fabulous videos available through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Expose yourself to different techniques and teaching traditions, making sure to take note of any differences you notice or questions you have. 

Start to build your knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy. 

Create a list of which exercises and aspects of teaching Pilates excites you the most. 

What happens after I finish my Pilates Instructor Training?

After you have completed the MIT program, you will need to prepare for the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) exam. You must pass this exam to start teaching Pilates professionally.

In preparation for the exam and to provide you with the structure and support you might need as a new Pilates instructor, MIT program participants are invited to become MOVE Apprentice trainers. Through the apprenticeship, you’ll receive: one-on-one sessions and support from a MOVE mentor, access to MOVE clients for training, promotional and networking opportunities via MOVE communications, and opportunities to learn more about the logistics of pursuing a professional career in Pilates and running a movement and wellness business.

Can I take individual modules or do I need to complete the full program?

Because each training module builds on knowledge and exercises from the previous module, we recommend that participants enroll in and complete the comprehensive program. 

However, we do consider special circumstances on an individual basis. For participants who do need to take individual modules one at a time, we still recommend beginning with the Mat module (followed by Reformer) since that is where you will receive foundational information for the rest of your training. Mat and Rreformer classes are often the most in- demand types of instruction at Pilates studios and gyms

To sit for the NPCP exam, you will need to learn repertoire for all of the Pilates equipment.

What is the course schedule and what equipment will I be trained to use?

The MIT program consists of four successive modules scheduled over a nine-month period. Participants are required to complete a minimum of 450 hours of instructor training as part of the comprehensive program. Training hours consist of class instruction, observation of other certified trainers, personal practice at home or in the studio, and practice teaching sessions. You can view our current schedule HERE.

The typical program schedule is as follows:

  • MODULE 1, Mat training: 60 hours including three weekends of classroom instruction 
  • MODULE 2, Reformer training: 60 hours including three weekends of classroom instruction
  • MODULE 3, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels (CCB): 60 hours including three weekends of classroom instruction 
  • MODULE 4, Anatomy: Two-day workshop, 10 hours

Do you offer tuition assistance?

If you’re committed to pursuing a career as a Pilates instructor, we’re committed to helping you get there. Please let us know if program costs are a potential barrier for you and we’ll talk through possible options to help you pursue your training. We currently offer the following programs to help finance tuition:

  • MOVE Pilates Diversity Scholarship (partial scholarships available): Contact office@movewellness.com for more information.
  • MOVE Work Study Program: Interested students can apply to come work for MOVE in exchange for reduced tuition. Contact office@movewellness.com for more information.
  • Payment Plans: We will work with you to create a payment plan that works for you and budget. Contact office@movewellness.com for more information.

I have a physical condition that limits my ability to do certain exercises. Can I still participate in the program?

Absolutely. While you are required to learn and understand the full version of each exercise, you are not required to physically execute everything in order to learn and teach it. Many program participants modify certain exercises as they are learning in order to accommodate their own bodies just as they would do with their own clients, which is one of the many beautiful aspects of this movement system. That being said, the program is physically rigorous and it will be helpful to build your strength and stamina in the weeks and months before beginning the program.

How have COVID-19 restrictions affected the instructor training program?

All instructor training events are modified as needed to comply with any COVID-19 requirements and ensure the health and safety of program staff and participants. In 2020, our modifications included a combination of online course instruction and rearranging our studio space and equipment to allow for ample physical distancing.

After I complete the MOVE Instructor Training Program, will I be certified to teach Pilates?

At the end of the program, you will be issued a certificate of completion, but you will still need to take and pass the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP) exam. 

Our expectation is that program participants pass the NPCP within six months of completing the MIT program. 

If your goal is to become a certified Pilates instructor at MOVE Wellness, here are the steps to get there:

  1. Gain experience with Pilates either on your own or by enrolling in the MOVE Instructor Training Prep program.
  2. Enroll in and complete the MOVE Instructor Training program.
  3. Become a MOVE apprentice trainer and begin teaching.
  4. Prepare for and take the NPCP or other nationally recognized Pilates certification exam.

When and how can I start teaching Pilates?

Some gyms and movement studios will hire instructors-in-training as long as they are on track to finish and plan on completing certification. At MOVE Wellness, we have an apprentice program that offers mentorship and teaching opportunities so you have the support and opportunities you need to develop your competence and confidence.

Can I teach Pilates part-time or is it a full-time job?

One of the great things about pursuing a career as a Pilates instructor is that you can shape it into whatever you want and need it to be. Some trainers teach full-time while many others teach part-time alongside other full- or part-time jobs. Pilates instruction is also a great, in-demand complementary skill set to careers in physical therapy, dance, massage therapy, athletic coaching, and more.

How much money can I make as a Pilates Instructor?

How much you can make as an instructor varies considerably depending on your experience, levels of certification, geographic location, and preferred teaching schedule. 

Newer trainers can expect to earn around $15-$20 per hour, while experienced trainers with additional certifications and areas of specialization can earn much more. The average salary for a certified trainer in the US is $33.13 per hour.

Will I need to take any more coursework or complete more training after my initial certification?

Yes, Pilates instructors should expect to enroll regularly in continuing education courses. Further developing your overall knowledge base and expertise, as well as developing additional areas of specialization will allow you to better serve your clients, broaden your client base, and increase the amount of money you can make over time. 

Most instructors take at least one course per year, and most certifications require that you take a course at least once every two years. Courses can be as short as a one-day or weekend workshop, while others might take place over the course of a week or two.

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