A pilates online certification exam may or may not require successful completion of a prerequisite course. Typically, there is a fee associated with certification and any required coursework, from under a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. Pilates is not a standardized fitness program, and the term "pilates" can be used legally to describe a number of fitness methods. Therefore, there are some pilates certifications which are of lower quality than others.
Pilates online certification typically includes topics like working with different body types and skill levels, basic and advanced pilates techniques, and anatomy and physiology. Some certifications also include sections on working with specialized pilates equipment like the barrel, chair, and cadillac. Usually, only individuals who have experience with the pilates method as a student pursue instructor certification, but other fitness instructors may take pilates training to broaden their instructional repertoire.
The courses for pilates online certification may be text or video based. In some cases, there may also be a component with a teacher and a group of classmates for lecture and discussion. Video based course certification is certainly helpful when learning new pilates method techniques, but there are many concepts which can be learned through reading appropriate texts as well.
The term certification is ambiguous. There are no official requirements for the certification process, so the education provided by two programs may be completely different. For instance, one pilates online certification may require many hours of course work, interaction with the instructor and classmates, video examples of students' apprentice work with volunteer students or classes, and multiple exams. Another may require one or two tests, which can be taken multiple times until the necessary score is achieved, before awarding certification.
Naturally, the course which requires a student to practice pilates methodology and to apprentice as an instructor will offer a better education and higher quality certification. It is important for interested individuals to investigate online companies offering certification thoroughly before paying the fee to take the course and test. There are some unscrupulous companies who offer a certification in name only, providing no real training.
The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) is one of the few professionally recognized, third party, international organizations that conducts a rigorous pilates exam and certification process. To be eligible for certification, a candidate must complete a 450 hour training course or show documentation of 720 hours, at least, of employment as a pilates instructor from the previous 12 month period. This exam is typically taken in pencil and paper format, but there are computer testing sites which allow the test to be taken online.