Choosing the path of a professional yogi can be a fulfilling career, but what happens to your economic future if you decide you don’t want to pay for all of those certification classes? You certainly don’t need a college degree to teach yoga courses. Still, if you want a stable career that is solely dependent on yoga, you might want to invest in an official certification.
How much do certified yoga teachers make vs. non-certified? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay is $15.88/hour or $31.43 per class with an annual salary from $17,840 to $66,950.
Read on to learn why certified yogis typically receive higher salaries and annual incomes versus non-certified yogis. You will also learn the best tactics to be a financially successful yogi. If you’re interesting in obtaining your certification click here.
Why Certified Yoga Teachers Typically Make More Money
Ultimately, no clear-cut figures exist that depict what a certified versus non-certified yoga teacher makes on an hourly or annual basis. However, substantial evidence indicates that certified yoga teachers make more than non-certified teachers, particularly when they start their careers.
Here are several reasons why you are likely to make more money as a certified yoga teacher.
Obtaining that first job in any field can be difficult, but if you’re hoping to get hired quickly as a yoga instructor at an establishment that will pay you the most amount of money, you’ll want to be certified.
To start, certified yoga instructors are in high demand, and as a result of this, and other elements on this list, most instructors are certified.
Reputable and well-established yoga studios will have the largest classes and the most clients, particularly ones that attend classes regularly. This high clientele allows the company to make more money and, consequentially, pay their yoga instructors higher wages.
Since these establishments have a reputation to uphold, they typically seek or exclusively hire certified yoga instructors to be certain of their new hires’ credentials. A certification immediately tells the employer that the applicant has been professionally trained in the physical, mental, and emotional elements of yoga for a safe and fulfilling experience.
This inclination towards certified yoga teachers might be due to a preference within the studio’s clientele who want to pay for certified teachers. It might be a company preference, especially if they teach certification courses of their own. Overall, a 200-500 RYT certificate is a prerequisite for the vast majority of yoga teaching jobs.
Of course, this is not the case for every yoga studio, as there are undoubtedly some that will hire un-certified instructors. However, without extensive experience in place of a certification, it could be extremely difficult to obtain a position with such limited credentials.
Typically, a newly hired yoga teacher will make around $35-$45 per class at a gym or small studio and $50-$75 with an experienced teacher, especially if they have additional skill sets and training.
Since many studios and almost all experienced teachers only hire certified yoga teachers, these individuals are far more likely to receive the higher-paying jobs ranging from $45-$75. In contrast, uncertified teachers will most likely only make $35 or less per class, especially if they are new and have limited experience.
Easier to Barter for Higher Pay
There’s always something to be said about knowing your worth when it comes to your career and skills. As a certified yoga teacher, you have likely gone through extensive courses that could require 200+ hours of training. Most RYT 200-500 courses will teach a wide range of yoga-related material, including:
- Yoga history
- Teaching methodology
- Yoga as a business
- The eight limbs of yoga
- Specialized content (ex. Restorative Yoga, Trauma-informed Yoga, Yoga Nida, etc.)
Obtaining this vast knowledge costs the average yoga student anywhere from $100-$500 for online courses or $1,000-$3,000 for in-person courses. As a result of the long hours and hard work invested into being a certified yoga teacher and the extensive knowledge you gain from this process, your experience is worth a higher starting rate than un-certified yoga teachers that lack this knowledge.
It is also important to note that the degree of schooling can increase a certified yoga teacher’s pay as well. For instance, a yoga teacher that’s RYT-500 certified can earn more than one that’s RYT-200 certified.
Again, there are certainly instances where self-taught, uncertified teachers can have the same knowledge as a certified teacher, but unfortunately, unless they have vast years of experience to support this knowledge, they don’t have much proof to show on paper.
The concept of obtaining a higher wage from certification is the same as any form of formal schooling. An individual with a Ph.D. is likely to earn a significantly higher salary than one with an Associates’s or Bachelors. Companies are far more likely to supply you with an increased pay once they know you received formal training in the intricacies of yoga.
Highly Sought After By Clients
At some point in your yoga teaching career, the experience can mean just as much as a certification. Unfortunately, most clients want to take yoga classes with a certified teacher, especially if they are new to yoga.
Many un-certified yoga teachers can fully support themselves with their yoga career by amassing a large, loyal clientele. However, this could take years to accomplish, so most uncertified yoga teachers struggle at the beginning of their careers.
To an outsider, yoga might look like an easy stretching activity when in fact, it is a physically and mentally challenging discipline that strives to create unity within one’s body and has a wide range of disciplines that users can explore.
Regardless of which discipline a client chooses, yoga can be extremely dangerous physically if performed improperly. So, most new clients feel more at ease with a certified teacher because they know for a fact this person has received the proper training to teach the course safely.
Clients are also more likely to invest their money in a certified yoga teacher versus an uncertified teacher because the certification indicates they will receive a higher quality experience, as demonstrated by that individual’s training.
The average yoga class costs between $10-$20/hour for a studio session and $30-$70/hour for a private lesson. Although these prices might not seem extensive, if a client goes to yoga sessions 3-5+ days a week, this cost quickly accumulates. Therefore, the client wants to ensure they get their money’s worth for the experience, and so, many will ere on the side of caution and choose the more academically qualified teacher.
How to Earn More as an Uncertified Yoga Instructor
Although you have increased odds of earning a higher wage per hour or session as a certified yoga teacher, uncertified teachers can still make a substantial living from this career without investing hundreds to thousands of dollars on a certificate.
Here are a few steps you can take as an uncertified yoga instructor to increase your annual income and influence.
- Specialize in a specific type of yoga: You will catch the eye of studio employers if you are highly specialized in a kind of yoga such as Prenatal, Children’s, Yoga Nidra, or Iyengar Yoga. This unique knowledge will make you an asset over certified teachers with basic knowledge.
- Teach yoga workshops: If you have a decently sized clientele but want to increase your basic income, try hosting workshops. As long as you have the experience and knowledge to host these extensive yoga courses, you can charge more for workshops and seminars than you would for an hour-long class.
- Be a proficient networker: When you don’t have certifications to back you up, you’ll want your loyal clients to perform this task for you. This tactic is typically easier if you have extensive experience in the field or specialize in a certain type of yoga that makes you unique as a teacher.
However, if you are entirely new to the field, try hosting some free classes with friends and family. You could also volunteer at gyms, community centers, and studios to gain a following substantial enough to start hosting paid classes in your home or a separate space. Remember, because you don’t have a yoga certification, it’s important to be sufficient in knowledge of yoga.
Pro tip – If you’re looking to make a career out of yoga, you’re best off getting your yoga teacher training certification.
Yoga has grown substantially in popularity over the past ten years, and this continual increase in users has resulted in high demand for yoga teachers. For the most part, clients and studios want to hire certified yoga teachers exclusively. Therefore, certified yoga teachers are typically hired faster and paid more for this reason, in addition to their training warranting a higher wage.
There are some steps uncertified yoga teachers can take to earn a substantial income from teaching. However, as yoga continues to grow in popularity, it is likely most, if not all, studios and clients will demand certified teachers to the point that it is almost impossible for an uncertified teacher to charge yoga.
Ultimately, if you want to earn the most from this career, the $100-$3,000 certificate investment will pay off over time in your annual gross income.
If you’re looking for a certification of any kind, we recommend My Vinyasa Practice. They have options such as: 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour certifications; as well as specialization certifications such as: Meditation, Mindfulness, and Yoga Nidra. It is a registered yoga school with Yoga Alliance. Michelle Young is E-RYT 500 registered with Yoga Alliance, and provides a real passion for teaching her students. The certifications are completely online and self-paced so you can take as much or as little time completing it as you’d like. The training is laid out in weekly formats that guide students through the readings, videos, and other course content. The 200-hour program can be completed in as little as 8 weeks, but students are encouraged to take the time they need to connect with the curriculum, heighten their understanding, and deepen their practice. They also provide 50% off tuition when paid in full!