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Pilates Instructor Job Description & Job Search Tips

Working as a Pilates Instructor or Teacher is a fantastic career path that will allow you to work with a wide range of people and guide them through fitness programmes based on the original principles of Pilates created by Joseph Pilates.

With many years of experience working with and running pilates instructor courses, we have a great understanding and appreciation for what the role of a pilates teacher looks like.

Want to learn about a particular role? Take a look at what we’ve covered in this article:


Employed Pilates Teacher/Instructor Job Profile

Job Overview:

A Pilates teacher is someone who uses the methodology of Joseph Pilates to help groups of exercisers improve their muscular endurance, balance, stability and core strength.

Responsibilities and Daily Duties Typically Include:

  • Verbal screening: ensuring that all users are safe to participate and are advised of what to do if they are not. This would mean sending for doctor clearance or passing on to more qualified colleagues.
  • Promote the benefits of Pilates and overall general health benefits of exercise
  • Teach Pilates classes for a range of clients, ranging from 45mins to 1 hour 30 mins
  • Teach 1-2-1 Pilates or small groups, focusing more on individual attention and designing Pilates programmes based on posture types and ability
  • Creating a welcome environment, putting clients at ease
  • Check the area for safety and report any risks
  • Engage class participants and encourage client retention. Understand client’s goals and build rapport
  • Teach classes of mixed ability, catering for varying needs within a class offering adaptations and progressions as well as modifications where necessary
  • Offer variety in class, using variations of the Pilates methods and the use of small equipment
  • If full time employed, the role may include other duties such as reception work or gym floor work, depending on other qualifications
  • General tidying away of mats and equipment to ensure they are kept clean and tidy

Salary:

Employed pilates teachers earn between £12,000 and £24,000 per year, usually depending on the number of hours in their contract.

Qualifications & Experience:

To work as a Pilates Instructor most gyms and studio will look for you to have one of the following specific qualification.

Skills & Traits:

As you would expect, pilates teachers are expected to have skills centred around group exercise, fitness and wellbeing. This includes a good knowledge of anatomy, especially common postural issues. Teachers should also have strong communication skills.

Since pilates teachers will be interacting with people all day, the best teachers tend to be outgoing, talkative, caring and attentive to detail.

You’re significantly more likely to be taken seriously by potential employers if you’re in good shape yourself.

Do You Need Insurance?

As an employee of a gym or studio, they will have their own insurance, so it is not essential that you have your own. Just make sure to check the details of your contract, and if unsure, always get insurance just to be safe.

What to Expect in the Role:

Employed pilates teachers work a variety of different hours depending on the studio or gym. Busier hours tend to be 6-9am, 12-1pm and 5-7pm. It’s not unusual to have 3 or 4 busy classes back to back followed by hours of down time.

At its best, the work of a pilates teacher can help dozens of people achieve better health and wellbeing every week. On the other hand, you’ll also occasionally have a very busy class filled with a lot of people with very poor posture and body awareness, which can be a little overwhelming/frustrating.

Career Path:

Employed pilates teachers can progress into setting up and running their own business, or even owning their own studio. There are also opportunities in gym/studio management.


Freelance Pilates Instructor Job Description

Job Overview:

A Pilates teacher is someone who uses the methodology of Joseph Pilates to help groups of exercisers improve their muscular endurance, balance, stability and core strength. A self-employed or freelance pilates instructor would hire halls and venues, travel from club to club, run privates/small groups in their own home or clients’ home, hire or rent a set venue to run sessions from, rent or buy premises for own Pilates studio, turn garage into Pilates studio or the latest trend is to have a Pilates studio or cabin in their back garden (depending on space), for small groups (3-4 people/121 training).

Responsibilities and Daily Duties Typically Include:

The responsibilities of a freelance pilates instructor would be similar to that of an employed one but may also include the following:

  • Health/medical screening
  • Promote the benefits of Pilates and offer lifestyle advice
  • Teaching Pilates classes and Pilates courses (normally a 4-6-8-week block) for own personal clients, courses can be charged upfront so that there is a regular consistent income. Member would reserve their space each week taking ownership of attendance.
  • Tailoring Pilates classes to suit different needs, abilities, and goals
  • Varying classes and creating innovative delivery to remain competitive
  • Health safety and wellbeing of clients
  • Motivating clients to achieve results and aid client retention, build rapport and communicate effectively
  • Run more personalised induvial sessions and small groups training
  • Client consultations, postural assessment, and Pilates programming
  • Targeting a niche market (depending upon qualifications), common orthopaedic conditions, back care, older adult, pre- and post-natal

Salary:

The salary for self-employed pilates teachers is incredibly variable (between £12,000 and £40,000) depending on number of classes, clients, location and experience.

The type of arrangement you choose can also make a massive difference. Some teachers travel to clients whilst others work within gyms and pay a cut or ‘rent’ to the gym. On the other hand, established pilates teachers might set up their own studios. Each arrangement comes with its own financial upsides and downsides.

Qualifications & Experience:

You’ll want to have the right knowledge to do a good job, and if you plan to work in someone else’s gym or studio space they will likely look for you to have a specific qualification such as:

Do You Need Insurance?

As a self-employed/freelance pilates teacher having insurance is essential. It should include public liability, professional indemnity, personal accident cover, loss of earnings cover and sports equipment cover. Moreover, if you’re operating your own studio you might also need to fulfil certain health and safety requirements.

What to Expect in the Role:

Self-employed pilates teachers can work whichever hours they choose. However, the reality is that they mainly work when clients are available, which tends to be 6-9am, 12-1pm and 5-7pm. It’s not unusual to have 3 or 4 busy classes back to back followed by hours of down time.

At its best, the work of a pilates teacher can help dozens of people achieve better health and wellbeing every week. On the other hand, being self-employed can be stressful. You’ll have times in which you’re not getting enough clients, and the ups and downs in earnings can be tough.

Job Search Tips

Initial Considerations:

  • As a pilates teacher it can be useful to build secondary skills around specific areas such as pre/post-natal or Exercise Referral for Health Management to give you a niche to work in.
  • Make sure your CV is up to date, and that any social media profiles you have look professional (These get checked more often than you think)
  • Experience counts for a lot in this field. Get into as many classes as possible. Shadow good instructors. Learn how successful classes operate.

What to Look Out For

  • Online job listings – for example indeed.com, leisurejobs.com, totaljobs.com
  • Specific gym, fitness centre and studio hiring pages
  • Relevant network building opportunities. Both by attending pilates classes and by being part of online pilates communities.

Ready to become a pilates instructor?

Download our dedicated guide on becoming a pilates instructor and take the first step on the road to your new career.