An alternative 'track'
Once Qualified, you might
Becoming A Pilates Instructor
Keywords: Hours, Costs (Initial, hidden, ongoing!) & Viability Of Teaching Professionally
I started the Polestar (Cert IV) Mat course in Adelaide 2010 and it took me about 18 months to qualify.
The Polestar Pilates Mat Certification
Polestar is a worldwide Pilates Training organisation and, as far as I can tell, it's one of the major Pilates training providers.
When I did the course, it complied with an accreditation called 91121NSW - a NATIONALLY recognised certification in Australia as a Certificate IV. I believe it is now registered as 10520NAT.
The thing I like about teaching Pilates, is that when you work in gyms you can choreograph a class exactly as you wish. Mind you, after shelling out two and a half grand and taking a year and a half to qualify, I'd be pretty 'miffed' if I had to stick to a script and pre-planned set of moves.
By way of contrast, it seems to be the case that if you merely do one of those 'Instructor Programs' that last all of a whole weekend (woopee do), you are severely restricted in what you can teach. You have a script you HAVE to stick to and, worst of all, you are only allowed to demonstrate and not correct people!!!!! I can't but help wonder if this is an insurance issue. Because the training is so perfunctory, to give an 'instructor' latitude to go 'off piste' might be courting trouble..... Me? Cynical? ....
Before being allowed to start the Polestar course, there were two requirements:
I gather there are other avenues acceptable to Polestar for this anatomy prerequisite. The requirement is HLTAP301B - Recognise Healthy Body systems in a health care context. I believe you can do this online with various providers. As at Feb 2017, Polestar offer this for an additional fee of $250.
All of the following to be completed prior to being eligible to take the Formal Exam:
80 Contact Hours / Lectures & Practicals:
These were spread over four weekends – about a month apart. They were a ton of fun – body and mind ached for weeks afterwards :)
50 Hours - Practise :
Mastery of the moves. 70% with a qualified teacher / 30% self. A Signed Off Log Book is used.
30 Hours - Observation :
Observe a qualified Pilates Teacher in a studio or gym setting (they prefer but don’t insist on a Polestar Teacher). A Signed Off Log Book is used.
50 Hours Apprentice Teaching:
Teach under supervision of a qualified Pilates Teacher (they prefer but don’t insist on a Polestar Teacher). A Signed Off Log Book is used. Important – see the section “Insurance Before You Are Qualified”.
Three written and ten case studies
‘Ongoing Assessments’ is my term, not Polestar’s. There is a repertoire of about 30 moves and you need to be proficient in both doing and teaching each move.
Both aspects need to be signed off by a ‘Polestar Mentor’ - a Polestar Certified/Approved Teacher Trainer.
Although components of this have time allocated within the Course Contact hours, several students I recommended do the course advised me they had to spend, on average, an extra $500 to hire Polestar Mentors for this.
Certification Process & Exam
Costs & Fees
The course wasn't the fastest or cheapest way to Certification but I am very glad I did it - it was very comprehensive and the support provided was excellent.
Protect Yourself - Pay By VISA
This is NOT financial advice and the contents in the links I cite may be out of date when you read them. I may also be barking mad (I probably am as I genuinely see some valid arguments for flat as well as spherical earth, but I digress).
However, which EVER course provider you choose, you are shelling out a significant amount of moolah and the delivery of the service is not instant - it is many many months into the future. What if the provider goes bust before you have finished the course and taken the exam?.... Yeah. Ouch.
It will most likely incur a surcharge, but if you pay by VISA, you seem to have more protection in this instance.
The main takeaway from the articles I read was:
"Whether you’ll actually be able to recoup your losses will depend upon whether you can prove you didn’t get the product and whether you’re within the allowable timeframe for chargebacks. 120 days from the date a transaction was processed is a fairly typical timeframe."
I'd imagine it'd be fairly straight forward proving you didn't get the product (ie training) if a set of dates for courses has been published and the provider goes bust before those dates :)
Insurance Before You Are Qualified
Boring subject - BIG IMPLICATIONS for the ‘Apprentice Teaching’ Hours… Be careful. Be V-E-R-Y careful. Unless you don't mind losing your home, you might want to check you REALLY ARE insured while you do your 50 hours apprentice teaching.
Some questions you might consider asking the person who is going to allow you to co-teach:
I knew a Polestar student who had completed ALL of his Polestar Training Hours and was a week away from taking his exam. I wanted him to cover one of my classes (unsupervised) while I went on holiday. He was a PT and had existing PT insurance. His broker told him he was covered to teach my class. The email from the broker stated 'cover extends if you have done appropriate TRAINING'. On the face of it, cover applied but I had my doubts. On specific inquiry, when he stated he was yet to QUALIFY, it transpired he was NOT insured after all !!!!! FFS. Ouch. Good thing he checked.
Rely on NOTHING claimed verbally - TRUST NOBODY / GET IT IN WRITING. Be specific, pedantic and precise. If you get vague answers, be a pain - rephrase / repeat the question. Or lose your home ;)
On Going Education | CECs | Association Memberships
In Australia (and, I suspect elsewhere), you do NOT need to have to do continual education and/or have to be a member of a Pilates Association in order to obtain/renew Insurance cover.
Similarly, you do NOT need to have to do continual education and/or have to be a member of a Pilates Association in order to maintain your qualified status.
Any attempt to encourage, coerce (scare?) you into thinking the contrary is something I think of as a ‘Money-Go-Round’. I am not anti Continuing Education (quite the reverse actually) but I resent tactics that seek to perpetuate training revenue. I see the everywhere and view it akin to telling a Doctor he needs to do Dentistry CEC modules in order to stay qualified as, erm, well… a …. Doctor….
When I qualified, I received TWO Certificates:
Pilates Teaching / Is It Financially Viable?
For me no - but it doesn't matter as it's not my day job, it's a hobby and passion. As at 2017 in Adelaide, casual teaching rates at gyms varies between $35 and $50 p/h. If you are doing it full time, factor in unpaid travelling time between venues.... :(
If I factor in time spend corresponding with people as CLIENTS, I am making a loss. However, I view this as emailing FRIENDS - big difference - on balance, I just about break even.
Mat Verses Diploma
The Diploma is substantially more - look it up for yourself but I think it was about $6000 and seems to take twice as long to qualify. The course (IMHO) is aimed at people who want to work very much in the rehab space and the anatomy and physiology is way way more involved.
I'd say that a Mat certification lets you be aware of how not to hurt anyone with various pathologies but not how to go about help correcting them.
There's probably a lot more work open to you with Mat - the equipment's much cheaper and you can have more in a class!