Is It Worth Becoming a Pilates Instructor?

Have you ever thought about a career change and wondered if becoming a Pilates instructor is the right path for you? Or you’re already a fitness enthusiast and want to take your passion to the next level by sharing your love of Pilates with others. But you might wonder if it’s even worth becoming a Pilates instructor.  

It is worth becoming a Pilates instructor as it is a fulfilling career that brings joy to many. Not only will you have the chance to help others reach their fitness goals, but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment in your own life. 

Before taking this path, you need to know the benefits and drawbacks to determine if it is the right fit for you. In this article, I’ll explore the various aspects of a career as a Pilates instructor,  so you can make an informed decision. 

How Much Do Pilates Instructors Make?

Pilates instructors make an annual average wage of $40,700, according to salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics from May 2021. However, this can range from less than $ 35,000 for the bottom 10% of earners to more than $76,330 for the top 10%. 

The income potential for Pilates instructors can vary greatly depending on various factors. These could include the city or area in which they work, the studio or gym they work for, and the classes they teach. 

Pilates instructors who own their own studios or work on a freelance basis may have the potential to make more money than those working for a studio or gym. You can also supplement your income with services such as private sessions, workshops, or classes. 

However, these instructors may also face additional expenses, such as rent, studio fees, and equipment, which can affect their income. 

Pilates instructors typically charge an hourly rate for their services, ranging from $15 to $170 per hour, depending on the location and experience. 

Factors Affecting the Amount of Income a Pilates Instructor Earns

The amount of money a Pilates instructor earns depends on many factors, including location, experience level, and the type of classes they teach. 

1. Location

Instructors who live in metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Los Angeles, or Austin, have plenty of options for Pilates classes. This is due to the higher demand for Pilates in larger cities and the greater availability of classes and clients. 

The higher demand for Pilates in these areas often translates into higher wages for instructors. Those living in smaller towns or rural areas may not have as many opportunities to find work, and the wages could be lower.

2. Experience

Instructors with more experience can command higher salaries than those just starting out. Instructors with certifications in more than one type of Pilates, such as mat and reformer classes, are also likely to have higher salaries. Experienced instructors have had more time to hone their teaching skills and build a larger client base.

3. Type of Class

Private one-on-one sessions pay more than group classes, and classes at prestigious studios offer higher wages. Group classes at basic studios may pay around $15-$ 100 per hour, while private sessions can range from $50 to $150 per hour

You can also earn extra income by teaching workshops, special events, and retreats. A Pilates instructor offering classes such as pre- or post-natal Pilates is also likely to earn more, as these require specialist knowledge and skills to provide such sessions appropriately and safely. 

There are different types of classes you can teach, which include mat classes, reformer, and apparatus classes. Mat classes are cheaper to offer as no equipment is needed. However, apparatus classes, such as reformer Pilates, require specialized machines

Teaching apparatus classes can be more lucrative as participants are usually willing to pay a bit more for the extra challenge.

4. Competition

An area with more Pilates instructors means more competition. This can lead to lower earnings due to increased supply and less demand for each instructor’s services. 

Competition can be beneficial because it keeps instructors on their toes and encourages them to stay sharp, innovate, and provide the best services possible. However, you should always strive to stay ahead of the competition by maintaining a high level of excellence in your classes and finding ways to stand out.  

5. Marketability

Having a strong marketing strategy is key to success as a Pilates instructor. Offering discounts, creating packages and bundles, advertising in the local community, and utilizing social media are great ways to get the word out about your classes and build your client base. 

You should also consider teaching online classes and investing in online programs to reach a larger audience. It can benefit those living in rural areas without access to a studio or enough clients.

Pros of Becoming a Pilates Instructor

There are several benefits of being a Pilates Instructor:

1. Helping People

The most rewarding part of being a Pilates instructor is helping people achieve their goals. Few things are more rewarding than helping someone improve their strength, flexibility, and overall health. 

Whether it’s helping a client develop a stronger core, ease chronic back pain, or achieve a new physical goal, the satisfaction of helping people reach their goals is gratifying. 

2. Flexibility

You can set your own schedule and choose how many classes you want to teach. This can provide a good balance between work and personal life. This flexibility can be especially appealing if you value having control over your schedule and having the ability to manage your work-life balance.

3. Professional Development

Pilates is continually evolving, with new techniques, methods, and research always being developed. You can continue learning and improving your skills as a Pilates instructor through ongoing education and training.

Pilates instructors may pursue additional certifications or specialized training in pre- or post-natal Pilates, Pilates for seniors, or Pilates for athletes. These types of specialized training can help instructors differentiate themselves from other instructors and potentially charge higher rates for their services.

4. Financial Rewards

As a certified Pilates instructor, you’ll be able to command a higher rate than other fitness instructors. Whether you are teaching private or group classes, you can often charge more for Pilates instruction due to its popularity and ability to build strength and flexibility. 

As an experienced instructor, you can earn money by teaching workshops, retreats, and other events. Pilates instructors can often negotiate higher pay than other exercise professionals.

Cons of Becoming a Pilates Instructor 

Being a Pilates instructor is not without its challenges. The following are some of the main obstacles you’ll face: 

1. Time Commitment

Becoming a certified Pilates instructor requires a significant commitment of time and energy. You’ll need to attend classes, workshops, and conferences to learn about the latest developments in Pilates. You’ll also need to invest time in your own practice, as this will help you stay sharp and be able to provide accurate feedback to your clients. 

2. Responsibility

Pilates instructors are responsible for the safety and well-being of their clients during class, which can be a lot of pressure. Instructors must know their clients’ abilities and limitations and provide necessary modifications and assistance. 

You should be aware of potential health concerns or injuries and provide guidance and support to help your clients safely participate in class. Pilates instructors must be aware of their client’s emotional well-being and create a supportive and welcoming environment. This can require a lot of emotional energy and can challenge some individuals.

3. Initial Investment

It can be an expensive process to become certified as a Pilates instructor. The cost of getting certified can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on your chosen program. 

You may have to pay for additional training and/or travel to in-person sessions, which can further increase your costs. Plus, if you decide to open a business, there will be associated overhead costs such as rent, insurance, and equipment.

Final Thoughts

Although being a Pilates instructor may have some challenges, the rewards can far outweigh the costs. Not only will you be able to help others reach their fitness goals, but you may also reap financial rewards and the satisfaction of continuing your professional development. 

If you’re passionate about Pilates and helping others, becoming a certified instructor is definitely worth it. 


Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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