Having just uploaded my CEC evidence to the APMA website a little over 3 weeks ago to meet the March 31 deadline, it occurred to me that the majority of people don't realise the ongoing education that is required for qualified Pilates instructors to satisfy association membership requirements. It's one thing to pass exams for admittance into the Association and another to maintain membership with compulsory continuing or ongoing education.
As a member of the Australian Pilates Method Association since February 2005, following completion of my Post Graduate Certificate in the Pilates Method at the University of Technology Sydney, I am required to complete 36 hours of CECs or Continuing Education Credits in each 3 year period, with 1 point for each hour.
Why is Continuing education necessary for Pilates Practitioners?
Once Pilates Practitioners have completed their initial course of study this is considered to form the foundation of their training, with the ongoing educational requirements I mentioned above forming the next level of education. There are 2 main reasons for this:
1. It ensures that Practitioners keep their skills updated and are also continually expanding their knowledge. This safeguards clients against Practitioners who may have completed their initial course a number of years ago but may never have actually taught Pilates in a professional setting. They may then decide to begin teaching at a future time but their skills would be outdated and stale which could be potentially unsafe for clients.
2. Ideas change as new studies are completed and previous medical and scientific research becomes outdated. This greatly influences the approach and techniques Pilates Practitioners use when working with their clients. So ongoing reading and study are essential for both staying ahead of these changes and then incorporating this into their teaching.
What topics & options are available for study?
There are a variety of courses available for study including workshops, conferences and online courses which require an exam style questionnaire to be completed and submitted with a 70% pass rate. Some of the courses I selected were videos of conference presentations, where the presenters are experts in their field and have a passion for their subject. When choosing topics I take into account, areas in which I have a particular interest or areas that I feel I need to learn more about. Pilates Practitioners are required to work with a very broad range of clients with a diverse set of needs ranging from rehabilitation to pregnancy and elite athletes and everything in between. As I cater to the needs of my clients in both my physical and online studios, it is necessary that I select a large variety of topics. Some of these recently included The Pelvic Floor, The Fine Spine, Pilates for Skiers, Science of Strength and Pilates for Injured Dancers. This is just a small sample from the latest CEC period, but over the years I have completed many courses and attended conferences which included topics such as Pre and Post Natal Pilates, Rehabilitation from Breast Cancer and numerous foot and gait workshops.
How does this benefit the clients?
Clients benefit directly from the updated skills and increased knowledge which ensures their Pilates sessions are as effective and safe as possible. If I find I have a large number of clients with a particular interest or issue, I will actively seek additional courses and reading in these areas. For example several years ago, I worked in a studio where the majority of clients were keen golfers (a polite way of saying obsessive!) so additional courses in Pilates for Golf were essential!
What to look for in a Pilates Practitioner/Instructor
Now you have an understanding of the requirements of being a fully qualified Pilates Practitioner, take some time to check the qualifications of any Practitioners/Instructors that you are considering working with to ensure he or she has updated skills. The regulations vary from country to country, but some people are teaching Pilates with very minimal training and qualifications. There are reputable Pilates Associations in Australia and around the world. Don't be afraid to ask direct questions of any potential Pilates Practitioner you are considering. If they are fully qualified, they will have no hesitation in providing their qualifications and putting your mind at ease that they can offer you safe and effective Pilates sessions. Hope this information is helpful in your search for high-quality Pilates classes. All the best with your practice!
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