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A deep dive in to the many different ways in which it is possible to make a living as a professional Pilates teacher in the UK.
Before we explore the earning potential of Pilates instructors, first let’s better understand your journey and motivations for becoming a Pilates teacher. Most Pilates teachers are drawn to the profession because they themselves have had a positive or even life-changing experience with Pilates as a student or participant, and as such, they want to share this with others so that they too can realise it’s incredible benefits.
In this regard, most Pilates teachers are motivated by altruism and contribution. But that’s not to say you can’t establish a successful, lucrative career if you bring passion and dedication to your work.
That being said, if you’ve decided that you want to become a Pilates teacher, irrespective of your motivations, it is only natural that you’ll want to know what you can realistically expect to be paid for delivering sessions, both to individual clients and groups.
So, you’ve probably come here for the answer to the question of: “how much can I earn as a Pilates teacher?”. Well, it depends.
It depends on where you are working in terms of the employer (e.g. health club or Pilates studio), what you are teaching (e.g. mat-based Pilates vs. reformer), your clients (groups vs. individuals), location, your level of qualification, and like any other profession, how good you are at teaching.
In this article, we’ll explore the pay and salary potential of qualified Pilates teachers, as well as the factors that can influence your potential earnings within the Pilates sector.
If you’re a Pilates teacher that is committed to delivering the highest standards of professionalism, customer care and client results, then it’s only right that you are paid accordingly for your services. However, Pilates is renowned for being a highly technical and precise exercise practice, which is why it’s often taught in clinical settings like Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathic settings. When it comes to professional standards, the bar is high in Pilates.
Becoming a great Pilates teacher is a process and not an outcome. In reality, the study and learning never truly stops, especially if you’re planning on working with special populations, like pre and postnatal clients or those suffering from low back pain or other types of musculoskeletal pain. This is largely because clients with these needs are often more complex, but also because the research and guidance for special populations changes so frequently so Pilates professionals need to be mindful of these changes.
Naturally, the more knowledge and skills you have, the more you’ll be able to charge for your services. Qualifications are of course important, and to some extent they demonstrate your level of knowledge and competence, but they don’t tell the full story. You do need to invest in yourself regularly if you want to make your Pilates career a roaring success.
“Working for myself is so rewarding. I’m so proud of Foxy Yoga and Pilates. It’s something that I have accomplished by myself and I put so much of myself into it. Seeing my students progress is so rewarding and another bonus is that my job now keeps me fit and healthy all year round!”Aneliese FoxwellFounder - Foxy Yoga and Pilates
Pilates teachers are usually classified as ‘freelance’ and as such are self-employed for the purpose of tax, national insurance, and their general employment status and benefits. Naturally, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but most commonly, Pilates teachers don’t traditionally receive a salary like other types of employment.
Dedicated Pilates studios, which tend to be located in inner-city areas, do sometimes employ teachers and as such, these staff will receive a salary. However, these positions are often still part-time and it is rare to find full-time Pilates jobs.
While salaries do vary considerably between cities and employers, the average salary of Pilates teachers appears to fluctuate between £22,000-30,000 per annum.
Another exception to this rule are the teachers that register their business as a limited company and who pay themselves a fixed salary from their company.
In this situation, the business owner usually pays themselves a low basic salary utilising all of their tax-free allowance (e.g. 12,000) and then will pay themselves dividends from the profits of their business at a lower tax rate. This arrangement is most common in those who set-up their own Pilates studios and then go on to employ other staff and freelancers to also teach for them.
Generally speaking, if you’re employed as a freelancer in a health club or Pilates studio, you can usually expect to be paid anywhere between £20.00-£50.00 per hour.
However, if you are working with clients on a one-to-one basis, either in their home or from a dedicated studio, then your return on the time you invest with your clients is likely to be much greater. It isn’t uncommon in London for Pilates teachers to be charging £80-£100 per session with individual clients, especially with the more specialist forms of Pilates like the reformer, for example.
Specialised Pilates studios, along with rehabilitation centres and corporate training, do tend to pay better rates because clients pay higher fees for the service. On the other hand, more general health and fitness environments, like gyms and leisure centres, tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale.
However, for highly skilled Pilates teachers, especially those with popular classes, they can always renegotiate their rate of pay so that this better reflects their skillset and demand for their services.
Like many other industries, those who work for themselves tend to do the best in terms of hourly rates. This may be through hiring facilities and keeping what they earn after rent costs, or having their own premises and even potentially leasing them out. It isn’t uncommon for Pilates teachers working like this to earn upwards of £100.00 per hour.
To illustrate the point made in the previous paragraph, if a teacher has 15 participants in their class and they each pay £8.50 (a fairly realistic proposition), then the instructor will earn £127.50 for the hour. If they book the room at a rate of £20.00 per hour, then the teacher has grossed £107.50 profit. Again, not all classes are going to be busy and not every rate will be the same, so it’s important to factor this in to any cash flow forecast.
In an attempt to limit expenditure and maximise profits, many Pilates teachers will team up with Pilates professionals, or in fact other fitness instructors (e.g. yoga teachers, exercise to music), to share the cost of hiring or leasing premises. This arrangement also works well with cover for holidays and sickness, which are an inevitable pain when running your own business.
There are a number of factors that will affect how much you can earn as a Pilates teacher, with the most obvious one being how ambitious, driven and motivated you are to succeed.
Whether you want to open your own studio or work freelance across a number of different facilities, if you’re a skilled teacher that is driven to fill the diary, then there is little to stand in your way. Currently, there is great demand for knowledgeable and skilled Pilates teachers!
Other factors that will affect the earning potential of Pilates teachers include:
As we have already outlined, if you are working from a dedicated Pilates studio then you can generally expect to be paid a little more for your classes or sessions than you would if you were working from a health club.
In a dedicated Pilates studio, students are also likely to be stronger Pilates enthusiasts and as such, it’s also much more likely that you’ll meet participants that will want to hire you for one-to-one sessions, especially if you are able to tailor Pilates for low-back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints.
It’s also worth mentioning another outlook on the different hiring or owning facilities scenario. If you are to own a studio, this of course means you have more freedom with regards to when you can run classes and you won’t have to worry about paying to hire the space for an hour.
However, owning a property does also come with it’s own issues and general running costs. Water, gas, electricity, insurance and even the cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment are all things that would need to be considered.
Like other occupations, professionals that have higher-level qualifications and a wider-range of skills are likely to command higher-rates of pay. Those teachers that are hold the Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates may not earn as much per session as those that have completed the Level 4 Certificate in Teaching Pilates, because the level 4 programme explores in more depth the scientific thinking of Pilates in relation to the anatomical and applied elements.
With Pilates, there are so many different ways to develop and tailor the Pilates method to meet the needs of a diverse range of clients, which is part of what makes teaching it so exciting. Using exercise to overcome a wide range of musculoskeletal challenges (e.g. poor posture, impaired movement and pain) truly lies at the core and history of Pilates, which makes it a favourable discipline when working with these individuals.
Teachers delivering more specialist or individually tailored Pilates sessions will generally earn more than those delivering general class-based fitness sessions. Broadly speaking, expert Pilates teachers working with individual clients can expect to be paid £50.00-£100.00 per session, but again, if they are working for themselves, the return has the potential to be much greater.
In most lines of work, you can expect to earn more in the south of the country (especially in or around London) than the north, and the same can be said in the case of Pilates teachers. This does tend to even itself out however, with general living costs also being higher in the south of the country than elsewhere.
But as we’ve already illustrated, there are so many other factors that influence how much teachers can earn that location is certainly not everything. There are no shortage of Pilates teachers all over the country making a great success of their Pilates business.
As a result, we haven’t provided any specific examples of pay here – the collective effect of all the other factors mentioned makes much more of a difference to income than where the Pilates teacher is located.
The table below provides a summary of the realistic income and pay that Pilates teachers can expect once they are qualified. Naturally, there will also be some planning and administration required outside of these hours.
Skills and Experience
10 Classes PW
15 Classes PW
20 Classes PW
Freelance - starting out
Freelance - starting out
Freelance - some experience
Freelance - some experience
Freelance - experienced/specialised
Freelance - experienced/specialised
Specialised and/or highly experienced teachers
Self-employed, specialised and/or highly experienced teachers
If you have any questions about your future career as a Pilates teacher, feel free to reach out to our dedicated Careers Team who will be more than happy to assist you.Back to articles