We all finish a Pilates teacher training program the same way. We are hungry to teach more, but we’re faced with the real learning curve: a lot of programs don’t prepare new teachers for the challenges they will face in the Pilates streets. Working with bodies that have specific needs can overwhelm a new teacher. Throw in the torment of social media making you feel like you don’t know as much as that instructor with 10k followers, and it’s a recipe to make you think you need to get more “certifications” to stand out.
Yes, there is always more to learn, but if you’ve already invested in your training then it’s time to leverage what you already have. Regardless of which program you completed or to what level you have advanced.
Consider the possibility that you don’t need to chase more certifications but rather hone the skills you already have. Continuing education should simply continue your education. Should you want to supplement your teaching toolbox with certificates in other modalities, the choices are endless. Everyone is trying to pitch a niche certificate in the newest thing. But will that help you connect with and thereby truly teach your clients? Not necessarily. Let’s also be honest about the fact that continuing education is a thriving sub-industry in the billion-dollar machine that is Pilates. Reality is, most fitness, health and wellness professions require continuing education credits or courses, but not all workshops are created equal or come from a genuinely knowledgeable approach.
How do you know if a program, course or workshop is really a good fit for you?
1. Don’t go for the niche next thing.
These days, if you trademark it first, then it’s yours to do with as you please. Someone literally trademarked a stick as a piece of workout equipment. A wooden stick! You best believe it has a training program to go along with it. Will it make you better at using a stick? Yes. Will it help your overall teaching methods? Well, that better be one amazing stick.
2. Research presenter credentials.
If you can’t find a bio, run. If you can’t validate what you read in a bio, run and don’t look back! You should respect and be thoroughly impressed by the credentials of anyone offering you anything that your hard earned dollars are going to pay for.
3. Choose fact-based programs with documentation or external resources.
Curriculum should be based on truth that is supported. Beware if there are no supporting materials such as texts, research papers or links to credible sources.
4. Go outside the box for a new perspective and approach.
Not all continuing education has to be Pilates or even exercise. We can learn a lot as teachers from expanding our scope of knowledge. Like taking courses in psychology to better understand the learner, or even massage therapy. There is so much more to a well-rounded Pilates teacher than the exercises.
Why Bother with Cont. Ed?
Pilates is not a state or federally regulated industry, meaning anyone can claim to be an expert. The National Pilates Certification Program or NPCP is the only overseeing agency of Pilates teachers and training in the United States. Holding a certificate of completion from the NPCP makes you a National Pilates Certified Teacher or NPCT and makes you eligible to offer CEC’s.
The impact the NPCP has on the Pilates community is amazing, but teachers grow from experience not credits. Choosing to opt out of the NPCP doesn’t invalidate your training or make you less of a teacher. However, we as teachers are only effective if we ourselves keep learning.
Since the regulations are next to nil, the market is flooded with workshops. Remember, continuing education is business in itself and you must choose wisely. Opt for authentic mentors that continually offer quality bridge training and opportunities centralized around your development.
Consider a Mentorship
Not all Pilates teacher training programs are created equal, but they all have one thing in common: they’re expensive! And what if you finish your training but know you need a deeper dive into some aspect of your teaching?
When you get into the studio and are left to your own body smarts to teach the various bodies you will see, it is not uncommon for new teachers to find gaps in their teaching methods. And seasoned teachers can get so good at what they do they end up in a rut. Saying the same cues or doing the same choreography ad nauseum. It makes a teacher feel stale and can lead to burnout.
The solution is not in more “certifications” or seeking out whatever niche best thing is on the horizon. It’s in investing in yourself and your professional development. Mentorships are a great way to find inspiration and guidance from a professional in your field that has already traveled the path you are on. Mentorships are more than topic-specific workshops. Choosing continuing education through a mentorship program means you and the mentor are creating a partnership that directly up-levels you in some way. Although mentorships are pricier on the front end than a one-off workshop, the investment will repay tenfold. These days mentors aren’t too hard to find. More and more Pilates professionals are offering robust programming spanning various topics from business practices to teaching methods. There are plenty of options to choose from, but be sure to choose a program right for you and your needs.