What It Takes To Become a Pilates Instructor

A Breakdown of the Different Types of Pilates Courses

How do I become a Pilates instructor in Australia and New Zealand?

Great question! It’s one that can be a little confusing as there is a great deal of information out there. Let’s break it down to make it nice and simple!

Essentially there are three main ways to become a Pilates instructor in Australia and New Zealand –

  1.  A Certificate course
  2.  A Certificate IV in Pilates
  3.  A Diploma in Pilates

Note: there are also some additional qualifications such as a Bachelor in Pilates and an Advanced Diploma however the top three are currently the main types of Pilates qualifications.

The great news is that all three of these options listed above will qualify you as a Pilates instructor in Australia! Which option is best for you depends on a number of factors such as –

  • How you like to learn (format of learning)
  • How quickly you would like to be qualified
  • Your budget

What type of instructor training does Studio Pilates provide?

Studio Pilates International provides world class instructor certification courses to the fitness industry, Allied Health professionals and individuals with no health and fitness background seeking a career change. Our training is streamlined, convenient and modular, giving you flexibility and simplicity with your learning and helping you to get certified sooner. Getting Studio Pilates certified is made easy with our comprehensive online training centres which are available to you 24/7 to use before your practical course commences. Our supportive and highly experienced Instructor Trainers will make your course inspiring and fun.

Studio Pilates courses are registered with the peak health and fitness organisations, including –

  • Fitness Australia (AUS)
  • Physical Activity Australia (AUS)
  • Exercise and Sports Science Australia (AUS)
  • Massage & Myotherapy Australia (AUS)
  • REPs NZ (NZ)
  • The American Council on Exercise (USA)
  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (USA)
  • AFAA (USA)

At Studio Pilates we run over 15 different Pilates education courses including our Matwork Course,  Reformer Course, Full Pilates Studio Certification courses as well as Rehab Pilates  courses for Allied Health professionals.

What makes Studio Pilates instructor training different to other courses?

For more on what makes our courses different, simply click here.

What is the difference between a certificate instructor training course and a Certificate IV or Diploma in Pilates?

Studio Pilates Matwork Certificate Certificate IV / Diploma in Pilates


40 hours of pre-course study, then a 4 day practical course

6 mths – 12 mths to complete



$4,000 – 5,000


Accredited with a number of Australian and international industry bodies. For a full list of CECs, see below.

Usually offers CECs


Modular courses – for example, you can just obtain your Matwork Certification and instruct at the completion of this course. Perfect for if you just want to teach Matwork for example and also enables you to earn whilst you learn when you do further modules.

Usually packaged courses courses, for example Matwork and Reformer or Matwork and small equipment.

Job Prospects

Able to work in: Pilates studios, Allied Health Clinics, Independent gyms, from your home, in a local park, in a town hall, the major gym chains, such as Fitness First, Goodlife and Fernwood (if you also have a Certificate III or IV in Fitness)

Able to work in: Pilates studios, Allied Health clinics, Independent gyms, larger gyms, fom your home, in a local park, in a town hall.

Is Studio Pilates a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)?

At the present time, Studio Pilates has chosen not to become a Registered Training Organisation in Australia. This is because Studio Pilates has chosen not to offer a Certificate IV or Diploma in Pilates. In Australia, there is no major benefit to training with an RTO or completing a Certificate IV/Diploma versus a certificate program. Training with an RTO means spending approximately $4,000 – $5,000 for a course which takes 6 to 12 months to complete. We recognise that for most people, they want to receive comprehensive and in depth training fast, so that they can begin instructing as soon as possible. Studio Pilates aims to provide students with world class physiotherapy-based learning, in a supportive environment, where you can feel confident to instruct in the shortest time possible.

How can we do this? Studio Pilates is the only certifying body in Australia to provide in depth online training modules as pre-course study before you come in for your practical course. As a part of our exclusive Online Training Centre, you receive access to digital copies of your manuals, comprehensive online assessment, exercise workshops, and videos which explore common injuries as well as their implications for Pilates.

Do I need to obtain my certification from an RTO in order to get a job?

Absolutely not. At the end of your Studio Pilates Matwork course, you are eligible to work in Pilates studios, Allied Health clinics which provide Pilates classes, independent gyms, major health clubs (if you also have a Certificate III or IV in Fitness) or from your own home, local park or town hall.

Do I need a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Fitness in order to get a job?

No, for a majority of businesses, the minimum certification required is your Studio Pilates Matwork Level 1 certificate.

The only exception to this is if you wish to work for the major gym chains such as Fitness First, Goodlife and Fernwood. To work in these gyms, you do need to have a minimum of a Certificate III or IV in Fitness to be hired based on their internal hiring policies. This is not because the Studio Pilates certification is not recognised by these organisations (Studio Pilates is actually the preferred Pilates Training organisation for these companies), but rather it is purely an internal hiring policy based on these companies’ insurance and internal legalities.

If you do not have a Certificate III or IV, you can still work in Pilates studios, in local parks or town halls, out of your own home, and in independent gyms (ie. the local gym down the road).

Where can I instruct at the end of my Matwork Course?

  • Pilates studios
  • Allied Health clinics, such as physiotherapy clinics which provide Pilates classes
  • Independent gyms
  • The major gym chains, such as Fitness First, Goodlife and Fernwood (if you also have a Certificate III or IV in Fitness)
  • From your home
  • Local town hall
  • In a park

Are there any hidden additional costs at the end of my certification?

The only additional cost at the end of your certification is taking out professional indemnity insurance as a qualified Pilates instructor. Once you complete your Matwork course, we recommend a number of different companies which you can contact for insurance. The annual amount you pay for insurance depends on a number of factors, such as where you plan on instructing, what you are instructing and how much insurance you wish to obtain (ie. $1 million or more).

If you already have a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Fitness and are registered with Fitness Australia, you are already covered for insurance under your current membership. As such, you will not need to take out any further insurance.

If you are an Allied Health professional, such as a Physiotherapist, your insurance should cover the Pilates also.

Does my Studio Pilates instructor certification expire?

No! Your Studio Pilates instructor certification has no expiry date!

Can I become a Pilates instructor if I don’t have any past experience in the health and fitness industry?

Yes! A large number of people who complete our courses do not have any experience in the health and fitness industry. You can definitely still become a Pilates instructor, your pathway will just be a little different to others already in the industry. Before you complete your Matwork course, you will complete a comprehensive Anatomy and Physiology course which will teach you everything you need to know about bones, muscles and joints in order to be a great Pilates instructor. After completing both the Anatomy and Matwork courses, you will be a qualified Matwork instructor. It is up to you if you then choose to go on and complete additional courses such as Reformer, Advanced Matwork, Ball Circle and Band, Cadillac or Wunda Chair.

At the end of my course, can I obtain a provider number to provide Private Health Care rebates to my clients?

For Pilates instructors who are not Physiotherapists, you need to be registered with a Pilates Association such as the Australian Pilates Method Association (APMA) or Pilates Alliance Australasia to gain a provider number and offer private health fund rebates.

Update: As of April 2018, the Australian Government will no longer be providing private health rebates for Pilates.

The Background

Only a very small number of Private Health Funds in Australia now offer rebates for classes conducted by individuals who are not physiotherapists. This means that a large number of your clients may not be able to claim on your services even if you have a provider number. Whether your clients can claim will depend on their private health fund and if you are registered with that individual health fund.

What it Takes to Become Registered

In order to become registered with an association and gain a provider number, you must have completed a Certificate IV or Diploma in Pilates from one of the association’s recognised training providers (this is different depending on the association you wish to register with). You would then:

  • Pay an annual fee to be registered with the association (you are usually requried to have the highest level of membership to receive a provider number)
  • Spend additional money every 2 year period completing your association’s mandatory continuing education courses (15 continuing education points every 2 years for APMA)
  • Apply to become registered with individual health funds once your association grants you a provider number

Once you have done all of this, you are then only able to offer rebates through the health funds with which your association is aligned. If you want to be able to offer more rebates, you may need to become a member of multiple Pilates associations. Each body with which you register would require you to do their approved training courses.

In Summary

Pros of Obtaining a Provider Number

  • You may be able to offer a small rebate to clients (if you are registered with their health fund)

Cons of Obtaining a Provider Number

  • You must be registered with a Pilates Association to gain a Provider Number (approximately $300-$400 annually on top of Personal Indemnity Insurance and current First Aid Cert)
  • To become registered with a Pilates Association, you must have completed a Certificate IV or Diploma in Pilates (costing $4,000-$5,000 and taking 6-12 months to complete)
  • To stay registered with a Pilates Association, you are required to complete mandatory continuing education which can be extremely expensive
  • Once you have a provider number, you will only be able to provide your clients with a very small rebate (most health funds in Australia are significantly decreasing the rebate amount for any Pilates instructors who are not Physios)

The Verdict

A majority of our trained instructors choose not to become registered with an association, as the money spent to obtain a provider number does not justify the small rebate only a few of your clients will be able to claim.

One of the great advantages of Studio Pilates courses is that they are modular. This enables you to gain your certification after completing the Matwork Level 1 course and prevents you from being locked into a long, arduous and expensive Certificate or Diploma program which usually takes 6-12 months to complete and costing $4000-$5000. Studio Pilates courses are accredited with Fitness Australia, Physical Activites Australia and similar bodies in New Zealand and the United States.