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Third-party FAQs

What is the difference between a certification and a certificate program?

Although often used interchangeably, there is a difference between a certification and a certificate program. The Institute of Credentialing Excellence defines them in the following way:

  • A certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence. In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice
  • An assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student
What is third party accreditation, and what is the difference between that and third party recognition?

Accreditation is the process by which an educational program is evaluated against defined standards, and when in compliance with these standards, is awarded recognition by a third party.

  • Third party accreditation means that a training organization’s program has been reviewed and evaluated against defined standards by an objective, unrelated third party. When the validity of the program is found to be in compliance with these standards, recognition is awarded
  • Third party recognition, on the other hand, occurs when another education provider and the programs they administer, are appropriate to fulfill the third party’s continuing education. These requirements may be referred to as Continuing Education Credits (CECs), Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Continuing Professional Development (CPDs)

Merrithew® branded programs; including the certification program – STOTT PILATES®, and four certificate programs ZEN•GA®, CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training and Total Barre® are recognized by a host of high-level industry bodies all over the world including:

  • In the US: American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • In Canada: Register of Exercise Professionals Canada (REPs Canada)
  • In South Africa and New Zealand: Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

All Merrithew courses and workshops adhere to very high standards and are regularly approved for continuing education when petitioned. Our Education Department is available to provide any information necessary to complete the appeal process for any organization where blanket recognition is not available. This includes fitness related organizations as well as physical therapy and other health-care boards all over the world.

Should I be certified by another organization besides Merrithew?

Merrithew 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 all over the world. Merrithew stands behind its STOTT PILATES training and certification programs as the highest caliber and most comprehensive of its kind in the industry.

Are the STOTT PILATES certification program or the other Merrithew certificate programs accredited?

Since its inception over 30 years ago, Merrithew has had the desire to provide high-quality training and instruction. In order to achieve this, and to set a high level of professional standards within the industry, certification programs were introduced. Although these programs are independent of third party organizations, they enjoy a great deal of industry support and endorsement. In this way, Merrithew is able to maintain control of the assessment process, allowing only those who have completed the training to sit for the exam. The examination includes both a written component and a practical teaching evaluation – which many believe is the most crucial part to assessing the teaching skills of an individual.

At present, Merrithew has not pursued third party accreditation for either its certification or certificate programs. Merrithew will continue to evaluate the various accreditation processes and to monitor the evolving needs and demands of consumers and the professional fitness industry.

Who is the PMA and how is Merrithew involved?

The Pilates Method Alliance is an international, not-for-profit, professional association dedicated to the teachings of Joseph H. and Clara Pilates. The PMA states its mission to be, ‘…to protect the public by establishing certification and continuing education standards for Pilates professionals’. Merrithew premier brand STOTT PILATES, as the largest and most established Pilates training and certification organization in the world, is a founding sponsor of the PMA.

Should STOTT PILATES certified instructors take the PMA exam? Will my STOTT PILATES training satisfy eligibility requirements and examination material?

At this time, Merrithew leaves this decision up to its certified instructors. While the PMA holds a certain place in the world of Pilates, recognition of STOTT PILATES quality and standards carries a great deal of weight in the health & fitness industry. STOTT PILATES is recognized the world over and is associated with the highest quality Pilates teacher training and certification.

The required number of documented training hours can be fulfilled with STOTT PILATES training for full certification including class time, observation hours and practice hours. The STOTT PILATES Education Department will assist any instructor with the application and sign-off on the required documentation in order to sit the exam, if requested. This training provides extensive knowledge that will be suitable preparation for most of the PMA exam. There may be some questions that refer to equipment, exercises or references to the original method that are not part of the STOTT PILATES curriculum.

Will STOTT PILATES still have its own certification exams?

Yes, the STOTT PILATES written and practical exams are designed to evaluate an instructor’s competence in effectively teaching the material from the repertoire. The practical component of the STOTT PILATES exam is critical to assess an individual’s understanding and ability to apply the principles and techniques. This component may not be present in other organizations’ Pilates exams. To achieve STOTT PILATES certification, students must receive an average score of 80% on the practical and written theoretical portions of the examination. A minimum score of 75% must be achieved on each individual portion. Both of these requirements must be met in order to achieve certification.

In most cases, STOTT PILATES Certification and the worldwide recognition associated with it, is sufficient to gain employment or purchase insurance.

Reference: Institute of Credentialing Excellence