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Update: PMA Exam Requirements and Resources

By April 8, 2013

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PMA Exam Study GuideThe Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), the professional certifying agency for Pilates instructors, recently announced that beginning in 2014 they will no longer offer 720 hours of comprehensive Pilates employment within the preceding 12 months as an eligibility credential for taking the  Pilates certification exam. Completion of a 450 hour Pilates teacher training program will be the only criteria by which an applicant will be eligible to take the exam.

It may seem ironic that an exam which has been criticized for lacking a physical demonstration component -- proficiency in the exercises or teaching the exercises -- would remove criteria that might actually indicate that the applicant had professional experience. On the other hand, teaching for one year, or more, is not necessarily an indication of an instructors knowledge or talent either,  as Pilates is an unregulated industry. It seems the PMA is hedging its bets on those who have gone through a significant teacher training program.

There are excellent long-time Pilates instructors who did not go through a formal 450 hour training program. Not too long ago, mentoring with a Pilates Elder or one of their direct students was a common way to train as a Pilates instructor. Part of me hates to see that style of training lose its place, but if ones goal is standardization, as it is in professional certification arenas, that's the way it goes. I assume, and the PMA may be thinking this way too, that those instructors with long-term experience who wanted to take the PMA exam (it is not required to teach Pilates) have probably already done so.

In any case, whether you are an experienced instructor or a newbie, if  you have been contemplating taking the PMA exam and are planning to come in under the 720 hrs. of teaching credential rather than the 450 hr. formal training credential, you will need to study for and complete the exam before 2014.

Here are some resources that will give you insight into the PMA, the difference between educational and professional certification, and preparing for the exam:
What is the Pilates Method Alliance?

Pilates Instructor Certification Explained

Video: Tips on Preparing for the PMA Exam

More Info On Taking the PMA Exam at the PMA Website

image: the PMA Exam Study Guide, from the About.com video on preparing for the PMA exam

April 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm
(1) Ray Infante says:

Dear Community:

I would like the readers to know that Marguerite’s comments here are her uninvestigated conjectures. She has not communicated with anyone involved with the PMA Certification Program to ask any questions about the decision to phase out the employment route to the PMA certification exam, and does not understand the underlying issues. Please take this article for what it is, an opinion shared without the benefit of any background research. Due to this lack of research, the article positions the matter incorrectly. This lack of rigor does a disservice to the field.

Anyone wanting a clear understanding of this issue should feel free to contact me directly.

Email: rayi@pilatesmethodalliance.org

Phone: 305-573-4946 (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., EST)

Ray Infante, Certification Specialist – Pilates Method Alliance

April 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm
(2) Marguerite Ogle says:

Dear Ray,
I’m sorry if there is an error of fact here. You have not said what it is so I’m not sure. I am correct about the change of PMA credential requirement for the exam and that is the only piece of reporting here.

This is not an article. Blogs are personal. So, yes, I took one aspect of the issue that is a sticking point for me and mentioned that. It’s my job to point out things I am thinking about that other people might be thinking about too. I did not present my musings as fact at all. To say “I assume, and the PMA may be thinking this way….” is still quite clear that it is my conjecture.

I have also included a number of links to articles that have all been discussed with Elizabeth Anderson and I believe the PMA has seen them as accurate. I also included a link to PMA website.

The PMA thinking behind the change in credential would be interesting. I’d invite you to post that here, or in the forum, or write a guest blog.

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