by Jo Ann Graser
Are you aware that your nail tech and hair stylist must be licensed, but licensing requirements don’t apply to your Pilates/Personal Trainer/Group Exercise or Yoga instructor? Seems crazy, right? I think so and many in our profession have been working hard to remedy the situation.
The fitness industry is unregulated, which means there are no universal standards for instructor training. The bottom line is that anyone can market themselves as a fitness professional regardless of their level of training. For the purposes of this blog, I will be discussing the steps the Pilates industry has taken to up-level the profession.
Learning movement science, anatomy and program design is a lengthy and nuanced process and cannot be tackled in a weekend. A Pilates teacher needs to attend classroom lectures and workshops, engage in self practice and student teach for many hours to adequately learn to lead safe and effective sessions. This endeavor can take up to 2 years and 500+ hours to complete.
The not-for-profit professional association dedicated to the Pilates field is the PMA (Pilates Method
Alliance). In 2005, to fill the void in credentialing for Pilates teachers, the PMA created and launched the first and only legitimate credential exam which when passed conferred the title of “PMA-CPT” or Certified Pilates Teacher. Fast forward to today, and the Certification program has become autonomous and rebranded as the National Pilates Certification Program (NPCP). The following is taken from their website:
“The purpose of the NPCP is to establish, maintain and promote professional standards, and to award the title of Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT) to the comprehensively educated Pilates teacher who has provided evidence that they meet these established professional standards.
For the public, employers, government agencies, and other professionals in allied fields, the NCPT
credential provides assurance that the Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher is competent in the provision of services.”
An instructor must complete a 450-hour comprehensive program of study in Pilates in order to sit for the exam. Once they have passed, they earn the designation of Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher or NCPT. This is the only objective way to ensure that your instructor has the adequate knowledge and experience to lead safe and effective sessions.