Frequently Asked Questions

Third Party Accreditation

Q. What is third party accreditation?

A. Third party accreditation means that an organization's certification exam has been reviewed and approved by an objective, unrelated third party that evaluates the validity of the test and its examination procedures.
Q. Why is third party accreditation an issue in the fitness industry?

A. The International Health, Racquet and Sports Association (IHRSA), of which STOTT PILATES® is a corporate member, has “recommended that, beginning January 1, 2006, member clubs hire personal trainers holding at least one current certification from a certifying organization/agency that has begun third party accreditation of its certification procedures and protocols from an independent, experienced, and nationally recognized accrediting body. Furthermore, given the twenty-six year history of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA) as an organization dedicated to establishing quality standards for certifying agencies, IHRSA has identified the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, the accreditation body of NOCA, as being an acceptable accrediting organization. IHRSA will recognize other, equivalent accrediting organizations contingent upon their status as an established accreditation body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the United States Department of Education for the purposes of providing independent, third party accreditation.” (Revised Resolution March 15, 2005, publicized April 6, 2005.)

IHRSA has also indicated that it approves of the certification accreditation process being undertaken by the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (CoAES) which is a curriculum-based accreditation process.

Note: this is only a recommendation. IHRSA acknowledges, “Club operators remain free to use their own discretion and consider any and all factors when hiring trainers including education, certification, and work experience.”

As it stands, this IHRSA recommendation does not include pilates instructors, but some in the industry think such a recommendation may be a possibility in the future. For example, the

Pilates Method Alliance endorses the idea of a third party accredited exam and recommends this to club owners as the PMA seeks accreditation on its new certification exam. (see description of PMA below)

To date, STOTT PILATES has neither recommended nor dissuaded its graduates from seeking additional certification beyond their STOTT PILATES certification - a certification that is highly regarded within the health and fitness fields. STOTT PILATES stands behind its training and certification programs as the highest caliber and most comprehensive of its kind in the industry. To achieve STOTT PILATES certification, students must receive an average score of 80% (practical and written) and achieve a minimum score of 75% on each portion in order to pass. Both of these requirements must be met in order to achieve certification.

STOTT PILATES will continue to evaluate the various accreditation processes and to monitor the evolving needs and demands of consumers and the professional fitness industry.

For more information about IHRSA's recommendation, please click here.
Q. Who is the PMA and how is STOTT PILATES involved?

A. The Pilates Method Alliance is an international, not-for-profit, professional association dedicated to the teachings of Joseph H. and Clara Pilates. The PMA's mission is to protect the public by establishing certification and continuing education standards for pilates professionals. As the largest and most established pilates training and certification organization in the world, STOTT PILATES is a founding sponsor of the PMA. 
Q. Will STOTT PILATES still have its own certification exams?

A. Yes. Written and practical exam components will still be required to achieve STOTT PILATES certification for all levels of training.
Q. Should STOTT PILATES certified instructors take the PMA exam?

A. STOTT PILATES is monitoring the industry and gathering more information on developments arising from the introduction of this exam. At this time, STOTT PILATES leaves the decision up to its certified instructors.
Q. Will STOTT PILATES training satisfy eligibility
requirements to take the PMA exam?

A. Yes. The 200 documented hours of training prerequisites can be fulfilled with STOTT PILATES training including class time, observation hours and practice hours. STOTT PILATES will sign-off on the required documentation for your application to sit the exam. At this time PMA certification is not required to be certified by STOTT PILATES.
Q. Will knowledge acquired through STOTT PILATES training be
adequate to pass the PMA exam?

A. While STOTT PILATES provides you with extensive knowledge that will prepare you for most of the exam, there may be some questions that refer to things we have purposely left out of our curriculum, such as equipment we believe is unsafe, and movements that are contraindicated in a contemporary approach to pilates. For more information on exam content, please consult the PMA's study guide and Candidate Handbook for Pilates Certification Exam.
Q. Will PMA certification be required to obtain insurance or employment?

A. No, pilates instructors and fitness instructors are not required to obtain certification from a body with third party accreditation in order to gain employment or purchase insurance.
Q. Will PMA market the idea that its certification is the only one
that consumers should trust?

A. The PMA is publicizing its certification as a standard for the industry that will protect consumers from incompetence. The PMA is not dissuading its members from taking the exams of training organizations like STOTT PILATES. STOTT PILATES has established an unparalleled standard for pilates education and certification. With over twenty years in the industry, its internationally respected program requires the successful completion of rigorous practical and written examinations to qualify for certification. As of January 2011, STOTT PILATES had trained more than 28,000 instructors. PMA currently has 3,500 members, 1,800 of which have successfully written the PMA exam. The PMA's exam has not yet received third party accreditation and currently does not include the all-important evaluation of hands-on teaching skills (i.e. a practical component).

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