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How Much Does a Pilates Instructor Make?

Reading Time: 4 minutes 30 seconds


DATE: 2023-11-14

Pilates instructor salaries vary widely and depend on factors such as location, gym type, and the teacher’s certification and experience level. If you are an enthusiastic student of Pilates, this could be a great career choice. First, make sure you understand the earning opportunities. 

About Teaching Pilates as a Career

Before you jump into a career as an instructor, be sure you understand what that means. At a minimum, you should be a student of Pilates and enthusiastic about the method and philosophy. 

What Do Pilates Instructors Do?

Pilates instructors are experienced and specially trained in the methods of the Pilates system of fitness and exercise. They teach students either one-on-one or in groups. 

Instructors are responsible for evaluating new clients, teaching proper form, and developing either group workouts or individual plans to help clients meet fitness or recovery goals. They are well-versed in all the equipment used in Pilates, including reformers. 

Self-employed instructors are also responsible for business tasks, like marketing and advertising, getting new clients, and bookkeeping and accounting. 

Group fitness is a unique skill in the industry. Learn more about what it takes to be a great group fitness instructor

Where Do They Work? 

Pilates instructors can work in a variety of settings but most often in gyms or a Pilates studio. The latter are boutique gyms that specifically focus on the Pilates method. 

As with other types of fitness professionals, Pilates instructors might also work as independent contractors or freelancers. Some are hired by spas and resorts or even by large companies that have corporate fitness and workout programs for their employees. 

What Kind of Training Do You Need to Be a Pilates Instructor? 

You should be experienced as a student of Pilates before becoming an instructor. Take a lot of different classes to learn the technique and observe professional teachers. 

While not necessarily required, it’s a really good idea to start with a general personal trainer certification course. This will provide a solid foundation for working in any area of fitness and give you more employment opportunities. 

Finally, you will need to be certified through the National Pilates Certification Program. The Program sets requirements for hours of training in Pilates and an exam you need to pass. 

Average Pilates Instructor Salary Examples

A variety of recruiting and job sites aggregate data on salaries for many professions. According to several of these sites, average annual salaries for Pilates instructors are between about $40,000 and $74,000. 

As averages, these reflect a wide range of salaries based on factors like certification, geographical area, type of employer, and whether an instructor works full time or part time. 

These sites list average hourly rates as well. This is important information if you are interested in freelancing, being an independent instructor, or working part time. The averages range from $25 to $36 per hour. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects accurate information on careers, employment, and salaries. It does not include Pilates as a separate career but does list salary information for fitness instructors of all types. Here are some salary facts about fitness instructors and trainers, according to the BLS: 

  • The median salary for a fitness trainer in 2021 was $40,700 per year and $19.57 per hour. 

  • The top ten percent of fitness instructors had a median salary of $75,940 in 2021. 

  • The lowest ten percent of earners made less than $22,000 per year. 

  • Many fitness instructors only work part time. 

  • Trainers and instructors working in gyms and fitness centers earn the highest salaries. (4)

What the salary information indicates is that Pilates instructors usually earn more than other types of fitness professionals or instructors. Of course, there is a lot of variation. 

How Much Does a Pilates Instructor Make by State?

Geographical region is one of the most important factors in salaries for any profession and especially in fitness. It helps to understand how location can impact your earnings in this field. According to the BLS, the states with the highest salaries for fitness instructors are (5): 

  • New York

  • The District of Columbia

  • Vermont

  • Connecticut

  • Massachusetts

  • California

  • Washington

  • Colorado

  • Alaska

  • Hawaii

  • Illinois

  • Vermont

  • New Jersey

  • Delaware 

How Much Does a Pilates Instructor Make By Metropolitan Area? 

Salaries by state are useful, but if you want to further narrow down the best opportunities for fitness instructors, these are the cities with the highest pay: 

  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

  • Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • Burlington-South Burlington, VT

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Salinas, CA

  • Bremerton-Silverdale, WA

  • Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA

Lowest Earning Areas for Instructors

Some of the lowest paying areas for fitness include Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Ohio. 

When looking at high-paying and low-paying areas for Pilates instructors, it’s important to also look at cost of living. Lower salaries tend to be in states with a low cost of living, while higher salaries are in areas that are more expensive. 

Compare the salaries of Pilates instructors with the salaries of yoga instructors, a very similar career field. 

How to Maximize Your Earnings as a Pilates Instructor

There is so much variability in salaries in the fitness industry and even the Pilates industry, which can be a good thing. It means that individuals have the opportunity to create a flexible career and take measures to earn more. 

As a Pilates instructor, there are a few things you can do to earn at the high end of the salary range: 

  • Become an expert. This means starting as an expert in fitness. Get a personal training certification and then train and become certified in Pilates. 

  • Add certifications. Don’t stop with basic Pilates certification. You can add specialties to your certification, which makes you more marketable to clients. This includes certifications to mat Pilates or reformer Pilates, but you can also specialize in things like senior fitness, post-natal fitness, training athletes, and more. 

  • Market creatively. Fitness might be your passion, but you’ll have to get good at marketing your Pilates class to earn a living. Use networking, word-of-mouth, referrals, mentoring, fitness events and expos, and social media platforms to market yourself as a Pilates teacher. 

  • Manage costs. It’s also important to consider how costs can reduce your earnings. If you are not an employee, it’s essential that you buy liability insurance. Without it, one incident can wipe out all your earnings. 

If you love fitness and have found your true passion in Pilates, you can make a career out of it. Use salary information to help you determine how, when, and where you want to work. Fitness careers are great for flexibility, so you have lots of options. 

ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer – Self-Guided Study Program is a great foundation for any career in fitness, including Pilates instruction. If you’re ready to become a Pilates instructor, get certified with ISSA!

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  1. Certified pilates instructor salary. Salary.com. (2023, March 28).  Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.salary.com/research/salary/posting/certified-pilates-instructor-salary 

  2. Salary: Pilates instructor (April, 2023). Glassdoor. (2022, September 15). Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/pilates-instructor-salary-SRCH_KO0,18.htm 

  3. Salary: Pilates instructor (march, 2023) United States. ZipRecruiter. (2023, March 28). Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Pilates-Instructor-Salary 

  4. Fitness trainers and instructors: Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, September 8). Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://stats.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm#tab-1 

  5. Exercise trainers and group fitness instructors. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022, March 31). Retrieved April 4, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399031.html

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